According to the Telegraph (£), Arsenal may have a skeleton coaching staff on the bench for
tomorrow’s the New Year’s Day clash with Manchester City after more personnel tested positive for Covid-19.
Having kept a widespread outbreak at bay in recent weeks, four players were absent from the Boxing Day win over Norwich after testing positive and the club yesterday confirmed manager Mikel Arteta had also been forced into isolation.
As things stand, assistant coach Albert Stuivenberg will be in charge on New Year’s Day with Academy Manager Per Mertesacker being asked to support. The German was last on the bench as part of Freddie Ljungberg’s interim team just over two years ago.
Exc: Arsenal could be left with a skeleton coaching staff for their match against Manchester City, with Mikel Arteta not alone in testing positive for Covid.https://t.co/ALMjq7wrDV
— Sam Dean (@SamJDean) December 30, 2021
Given the circumstances, the Gunners could theoretically appeal to the Premier League for a postponement even though we still seem to have enough players (13 outfield players and a goalkeeper) to make up a matchday squad.
Given the team’s form, the fact yesterday’s match with Wolves was cancelled and that City played last night, you can understand why we’re currently keen to plough on.
As first reported by @SamJDean – number of + Covid cases in Arsenal coaching staff.
Club can apply to PL for City game to be postponed as a result but understand they have not as it stands.
Hope is some may be back in time for Saturday with Albert Stuivenberg set to lead staff.
— Mark Mann-Bryans (@MarkyMBryans) December 30, 2021
Obviously, this is a fluid situation and it’s possible the outbreak could worsen meaning a postponement isn’t yet off the table. It’s hardly ideal given 60,000 people are due at the Emirates for the first game of 2022.
Mikel Arteta is still expected to host his pre-game press conference although it has been pushed back from today and tomorrow. We’ll likely find out more then.