Mikel Arteta says the absence of Willian and David Luiz from the Arsenal squad that beat Chelsea 3-1 was not related to the Covid-19 scare that has forced defender Gabriel into self-isolation.
The experienced Brazilian duo reported feeling ill yesterday and the Gunners took the cautious step of cancelling their usual pre-game hotel stay.
Instead, the players who were fit to play gathered this morning after a few extra Christmas hours with their families.
“We have to follow the guidelines and protocols with Covid, the doctor is on top of that,” said the boss when quizzed on Gabriel missing out.
“For how long? We are not 100 per cent [sure] but he was in contact with somebody who has tested positive so he has to stay away for a few games.”
Arteta went on to confirm that the diagnosis wasn’t as a result of contact with Gabriel Jesus against whom the defender had played on Tuesday.
“No, it wasn’t with another player in the Premier League. It was someone in his bubble.”
On David Luiz and Willian, he added: “No, that is for some different reasons. They were having some symptoms, and we have to be really cautious when that happens.
“The protocols say that they have to stay away, they have to test negative but still we have to be really careful we don’t pass that into the players until we are 100 per cent sure they don’t have it.”
Arsenal face Brighton in three days time, so we’ll likely get another update in the next couple of days.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like we’ll be able to call on Thomas Partey for Tuesday’s trip to the AMEX.
“Not yet, he hasn’t started to train with us yet, so he is still a few more days away,” confirmed the boss.