According to the Guardian’s Nick Ames, Arsenal’s personnel crisis has reached the point where the club are in discussions with the Premier League about postponing Sunday’s clash with Sp*rs.
While the Gunners were able to field a solid starting XI against Liverpool in last night’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, the bench was threadbare and featured four Academy kids, three of which had yet to make a senior debut.
Arsenal and the Premier League are currently in discussions regarding the status of Sunday's derby. #AFC #THFC
— Nick Ames (@NickAmes82) January 14, 2022
After the 0-0 draw, Mikel Arteta said he was keen to play the north London derby but warned that further Covid cases and injuries could well change that.
Ahead of yesterday’s game, the situation looked like this:
Martin Odegaard – Covid 19
Cedric Soares – Hip
Emile Smith Rowe – Groin
Sead Kolasinac – Hamstring
Takehiro Tomiyasu – Calf
Mo Elneny – AFCON
Nicolas Pepe – AFCON
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – AFCON
Thomas Partey – AFCON
Additionally, we now have Granit Xhaka suspended for two games (not that this will be taken into consideration when making a postponement decision), and doubts over Cedric and Calum Chambers (both referenced by Arteta last night) and Bukayo Saka, who needed to pop a couple of pills on the sidelines at one point last night.
The Premier League dismissed an Arsenal appeal for the opening day fixture with Brentford to be postponed despite Covid ripping through the camp on the eve of the season.
Since then new rules have been drafted that provides a more formal framework for postponement applications with the Board making their decisions based on six guiding principles.
1) The impact of COVID-19 infections on a club’s squad, as well as injuries, illness and those isolating, and the number of players available on the squad list and any Under-21 players with appropriate experience. Where a club cannot field 13 outfield players and a goalkeeper either from its squad list or its appropriately experienced Under-21 players, the match will be postponed.
2) The status of any COVID-19 outbreak within a club, including the number of individuals affected, the sequence and source of infections and their proximity to the match in question.
3) A club’s ability to safely prepare its players in the lead-up to a match.
4) Medical advice as to whether there is any unacceptable risk to the health and safety of players and staff by playing the match.
5) Any advice from UK Health Security Agency and other public bodies.
6) Any other exceptional circumstances.
Given we’re coming up to 48 hours until kick-off, we’re expecting clarity on whether the derby will go ahead sooner rather than later.
While a postponement might benefit Arsenal in the short term, the fact we already have to rearrange games with Wolves (H), Chelsea (A) and Liverpool (H) means we’ll have a hellish backlog to clear at some point.
Just draw some red lines on the Covid tests, it worked for Liverpool.
Works for hurricane prediction too…
Personally I wouldn’t mind it being postponed and get a few more players back, and some rest in, before the 2nd leg on Thursday.
Spurs may have a couple of players out too, but we play our strongest 11 v their 11 in a rearranged fixture, I fancy us.
Given their fixture pile up and our relatively quiet February, I think we would definitely have the edge.
Either way, I’m confident. I really think Sp*rs aren’t playing great and are currently outperforming their performances with the results they are getting. I think this applies to United too.
So yeah, either or. We’ll fucking do them.
They were awful against Chelsea, twice. Badly outclassed, no ideas, their only threats from Moura running with the ball and ultimately losing it tamely. They would presumably be more motivated against us, and maybe get Son back (I don’t pay any attention so I don’t know what’s wrong with him).
Saka getting a few days extra rest would be great. Arteta said last night “he’s a young boy, he recovers quicky.” I do worry about running him into the ground. As resilient as he is losing him to something long term would be devastating.
Martinelli could do with a bit of rest until the Liverpool game too ideally. He didn’t get a look in earlier this season. Now he’s playing every game and with his level of work rate he could easily burn himself out
Yes Gabi too could use a breather. Not only are we light in midfield but on the flanks too. If one of Gabi/Saka has an issue we’re left with only ESR and….? At least until Pepe is back. And who knows if we’ll see Auba again.
I wouldn’t count too much on a postponement, give our recent history with the League, and the fact that only one player is missing because of Covid.
But still worth a try indeed.
Yeah, I don’t have faith in the league doing the right thing, BUT the guidelines does include injuries and lack of available roster players with appropriate experience in the same consideration. I’d say that mix pretty well sums up our current state.
Liverpool cooked the books to try for an advantage. Hopefully we’ll be able to at least use the rule as honestly intended.
Mikel will have to polish his teeth, Don a baseball cap glasses and answer everything with Ya is good to get the outcome he wants I think.
I think we know what verdict will be considering the club and authorities involved.
If they no then what the fuck are the actual rules??
If you are Spurs, Chelsea, Liverpool or Man City and offer us a brown paper envelope you can do what you want.
And man utd.
They don’t need to offer the envelope, as SKY do that for them.
I agree, albeit got to think it’s worth us chancing our arm on the basis that at least the inevitable rejection will be well publicised and, as a result, hopefully helps set a better defined precedent for any club applying to postpone a fixture in the future that we’d rather we/they play.
Personally I’m not expecting the PL to grant us a postponement but I do think that if we can use the rules to our advantage we should – and I do think it would be in our interests to postpone this game if we can.
I don’t think future fixture congestion should be a huge concern as we are out of the FA cup and not playing in Europe (plus 2 of the teams we are due to reschedule against are in Europe so they’re going to be suffering more than us when we do play them).
I don’t think we will get granted a postponement. Let’s go there with our threadbare squad and do the over anyway, will be glorious
We don’t have Europe or FA cup to deal with, so a postponement would be ideal.
Sunday could as well give us a few injuries. We have key players with lots of minutes in their legs that look tired (we all saw the Saka incident with the pills). Fingers crossed
I count 11 outfield players who are definitely fit:
Holding, Mari, White, Gabriel, Tierney, Tavares, Lokonga, Martinelli, Nketiah, Lacazette, plus Xhaka. It’s 12 if you count Patino.
So seems pretty close to whether we meet the threshold, depends on late finess tests.
Still seems weird to me that the game would be rescheduled because of AFCON and injuries though.
Can’t count the suspended Xhaka
That’s why the AMN loan was shrewd business. Let’s ship Mari too, to make our numbers unquestionably too thin!
Activate Wilshere, get Ramsay and Willock on loan, and bingo! No more midfield problems! [sobs dejectedly]
Didn’t Chambers get voted player of the season playing central midfield for Fulham? He’d have to be better than Patino. Right back…oh yeah. Loan Bellerin too! [more sobs]
“recall Bellerin.” But no.
We can play 6 1 2 1 formation with Leno up top as a lone striker…..what’s the problem?
If we postpone though xhaka might be eligible to play at the later date. Well 50:50 I guess, as there is every chance he could be serving another suspension for his next red card.
does this make us look weak or it it a smart move? I’m kind of on the fence…
We’re one of the few clubs who hasn’t postponed a game yet. Nothing week about it, just playing the system
Well, we are weak right now, and this is the same situation (without the fakery) that Liverpool used to win a postponement. We have to try to find out if the rules apply to everyone.
As a football fan, I think the whole getting games called off is BS and is totally gaming the system.
As an Arsenal fan, I’d be happy to not go into a north London derby with 1 available midfielder, and for the players to have a week’s rest ahead of the 2nd semi-final.
Agree, teams like Liverpool are abusing the system. But at this point we now have to play the ball as it lies.
If the premier league refuse our request, it will become completely clear without a shred of doubt there is one rule for us and one rule for the other big clubs.
It’s already as clear as day.
Agreed. But just in case anyone had any doubts
Maybe they don’t consider us a big club anymore…
This will get rejected
I doubt that it will be postponed but it feels like we deserve to have it pushed back after the Brentford and Liverpool fiascos.
I think Son is out for Spurs, and he’s been a big threat to us historically. So if we actually were able to play Tomi, ESR and Saka and they were all fully fit, there’s an argument that we should go ahead.
But if they are all marginal, postponement would probably be the better option. Need to think about having a strong squad for the return leg against Liverpool.
Son has been the only threat to us recently. Without him I guess that the sp*ds will be hoping that their other bloke (the one who wasn’t good enough for us as a kid) will be able to scrape together enough to get his shooting boots back from the pawnbrokers.
As we’re not in Europe and now not in the FA Cup, I think we can manage the re-arrangements. I hope it gets postponed
February is clear for extra fixtures, so it is about time we benefitted from these regulations. We’ve been on the rough end of fixture cancellations and refereeing decisions.