Some breaking news regarding this weekend’s North London Derby. According to Nick Ames of the Guardian, Arsenal has opened negotiations with the Premier League to potentially postpone the North London Derby over a combination of COVID positive tests and injuries within the Arsenal squad.
Arsenal are suffering through a real squad crisis right now after yesterday’s Carabao Cup first leg match against Liverpool. Granit Xhaka was sent off for violent conduct during the match, an incident that will likely mean he misses at least the next three games. Bukayo Saka also picked up a knock and is now will possibly miss the match as well. Emile Smith-Rowe has missed the last two games with a groin injury and is questionable, while Takehiro Tomiyasu is also nursing an injury, and Arsenal are without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Thomas Partey who are both at the African Cup of Nations.
Now there are reports of at least one COVID-19 positive within the squad, and the Gunners are reportedly down to 12 healthy and/or available first team players.
It’s not clear yet whether or how this will impact the North London Derby at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday; there’s precedent for COVID-related postponements of course, but the question is whether or not one positive test is enough to trigger a postponement for a club that’s suffering mostly with injuries and absences.
Meanwhile, Antonio Conte said in his press conference this morning that Eric Dier will miss the Derby with a continuation of his calf injury that kept him out of the Carabao Cup semi-final matches, while Son Heung-Min and Cuti Romero are both still out until after the next international break at the end of January. Conte also announced that they are sweating on one new COVID positive test themselves, but are planning for the match to go forward.
Stay tuned. Seems like this is a call that the Premier League could take to the wire.