Friday, March 1, 2024

Arsenal squad clear of Covid ahead of Hammers clash

Mikel Arteta has confirmed that all Arsenal’s first team squad are Covid clear as he prepares his side for Wednesday’s clash with West Ham United at the Emirates.

In light of the spread of the Omicron variant in the UK, the club, guided by the Premier League, have put additional safeguards in place at the training ground in a bid to minimise the chance of an outbreak like those that have forced the postponement of matches involving Sp*rs and Manchester United.

In a press conference dominated by the news that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been stripped of the captaincy and faces a spell out of the team, Arteta at least struck a positive note on the team news front.

“The rest is good,” he said on Tuesday afternoon. “Hopefully, we’ve had all the negative tests with the players.

“Obviously that’s a big concern with everything that is happening in the league and in the country. Hopefully, everybody will be available and fit.”

He later reaffirmed: “We haven’t had any players testing positive.”

As things stand, that means Sead Kolasinac and Bernd Leno are the only two absentees. The Bosnian is working his way back from an ankle injury while our German keeper sat things out on Saturday due to a groin issue.

Tomorrow’s clash at the Emirates will be the first where supporters are expected to produce either a Covid Pass or proof of a negative lateral flow result to gain entry into the stadium.

While there are no suggestions at this point that the UK government will further tighten the restrictions introduced as part of its “Plan B”, it’s hard not to think back to earlier in the year when Covid forced football matches to be played behind closed doors.

Asked if he’s worried about that happening again, Arteta said: “Everything that happened this week is a really worrying time. Games have been cancelled and postponed for those reasons, players and staff members [are] with really high numbers of positive tests, so yeah, it’s really worrying.”

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Walter White

I’d really like Balogun in the squad now with one more room for a striker.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

Unlikely as he only played 2 days ago for the U23’s.

Walter White

True. But West Ham also played 2 days ago and the first team 3 days. 10 minutes off the bench should not be a problem in my view.


He can handle a u/23s run and then a place on the bench and maybe (big maybe) a few mins in the big team. The kid is 20 years old and in his physical prime.

Johnny 4 Hats

It’s a bit frustrating to see other games called off when we had to play Brentford.

Sorry to bang on about old news but I just feel we were sacrificed so they still had a game to televise.

Plus it wasn’t easy playing away from home without £100m of striking talent.

Ah well, bury it deep in the “miscellaneous resentments” folder.


Classic Premier League stuff. The rules that apply on this Saturday, do not apply on that one, as has been the case with the officiating for as long as I can remember. It seems to be the hallmark of the game – you never know what to expect. Exciting, if absolutely incompetent.


There is quite a lack of consistency, isn’t there? It would be nice if the PL would just publicly say what their rules are for determining how much Covid is too much to play a match.


To be fair, Leicester have something like nine cases of Covid and have just been told they must play their match against Spurms tomorrow.

Will be interesting to see if ESR comes back into the team, and for whom. I can only really see it being for Martinelli.


would be harsh on Martinelli.


It was even harsher to drop Lokonga. It’s infuriating see him on the side lines behind Xhaka.

ESR has to play – he’s been our best attacker this season. Laca when in form adds a different dynamic to our attacks because of his contributions to build up. Martinelli is still not the best at CF. Tough call, but probably the right one.

GeoffRey Hurstmaker

How about Martinelli at striker and ESR wide left? It would be interesting to see if Martinelli can play with his back to goal and link play and still get on the end of things.


Martinelli is still in the Flyweight Division.
Not backing down any CBs anytime soon.

ESR’s shinpads

Too right – Martinelli is great but he’s nowhere near strong enough to play the lone striker role

Cranky Colin

Too many kids up front for Arteta ( so Laca plays)…… I get that

Cranky Colin

but it will be Martinelli

Pastor Simon

I think the Auba’s case is as a result of liking Ronaldo’s pix on d social media when we lost to Man Utd.

If it is true, it is a shame

Cranky Colin

“Funny old game” isn’t it?
I’m sure we had an outbreak before our first Prem match of the season and were duly beaten by a decent Brentford performance, in a game where we were weakened by absentees.
Man Ushited and Spuds have now similar problems but they’re games are postponed!
Am I missing something?


Something else to pin on the dressing room wall to fire up the team. “Look how everyone hates us and wants us to fail. Pundits, VAR, referees, Ben Godfrey, the Premier League, journalists, FIFA, the government, Uncle Tom Cobley, all, opposing managers, Teddy Sheringham, other teams’ fans… Let’s really annoy them all tonight with a devastating performance on the pitch.”

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