According to Sky Sports, Arsenal will allow first team squad members to start training at London Colney from next week.
The players have been undertaking individual fitness programmes during the COVID-19 lockdown and it sounds like they’ll continue to work solo or in small groups in adherence with government health guidelines.
Six weeks after Mikel Arteta was diagnosed with coronavirus, we would be the first club in England to return to training.
The report claims that all buildings at the training ground will remain closed which means they will do fitness and ball work outdoors with a select group of coaching staff in attendance.
It is also said that the players, a few of whom were ticked off this week for breaking social distancing rules, will travel alone and return home when their session is done.
If this proves true, it’s a small first step in the direction of ‘normality’ as the Premier League tries to figure out a plan to play the remaining 92 games of the season.
In their last statement on 5 April, the Premier League reiterated its intent to complete the current campaign but did make clear that “any return to play will only be with the full support of the Government and when medical guidance allows.”
Having threatened to punish leagues that fail to complete their campaigns, UEFA changed tact this week with the caveat that qualification for European tournaments should be based on ‘sporting merit’; taken to mean, table rankings or points-per-game. Given Arsenal sit ninth in the Premier League this would likely see us miss out on the Europa League so a return to action is definitely preferable.
In Germany, Bundesliga matches are expected to resume in May, potentially in two weeks time, with 322 people allowed in stadia on matchdays and strict safety measures in place, including regular testing.
In contrast, the Dutch voided the current Eredivisie season denying Ajax, who were top on goal difference, a 35th title.