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Arsenal Tottenham postponement precedent already set by Premier League

Arsenal Tottenham postponement precedent already set by Premier League
BRIGHTON, ENGLAND: Martin Odegaard is a Covid-19 absentee, and one of many players likely unavailable for Sunday’s North London derby. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

On Friday, Dan Kilpatrick reported that Tottenham Hotspur were concerned that Arsenal would request to postpone Sunday’s North London derby, given their situation with Covid, injuries, and other absences.

It was then confirmed that Arsenal were indeed in talks with the Premier League over the fixture with a decision expected on Saturday.

Arsenal said in a statement, “We can confirm we have made an application to the Premier League for the postponement of Sunday’s north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur.

“We have reluctantly taken this step but we have many players currently unavailable across our squad as a result of Covid, injuries and players away with their countries at AFCON.”

Many pundits are mad that Arsenal are applying for a postponement, mostly because of injuries and Afcon rather than Covid, but the Premier League have already allowed Leicester to cite players being at Afcon as one of the reasons to postpone their game against Everton last week.

The pundits had nothing to say about that.

The precedent is set, regardless of what Spurs fans and everybody else thinks about it.

That being said, the Premier League have rejected applications before, notably Everton ahead of Boxing Day, who had five out with Covid and 6 injuries, but they eventually gave in and postponed the game.

Chelsea also had an application rejected in December when they applied to have their game against Wolves pushed back when they had seven players out with Covid. They drew that game 0-0.

But, since then, we have seen a host of games postponed and no other rejections of requests that I can find.

According to the Premier League rules on postponements, a match will be postponed if a club cannot field 13 outfield players and a goalkeeper.

Assuming Cedric Soares, Emile Smith Rowe, Takehiro Tomiyasu, and Sead Kolasinac remain injured, and Martin Odegaard’s Covid-19 positive leaves him absent too, here is the list of available outfield players from Arsenal’s 25-man Premier League squad:

  1. Calum Chambers
  2. Gabriel Magalhaes
  3. Rob Holding
  4. Alexandre Lacazette
  5. Pablo Mari
  6. Eddie Nketiah
  7. Albert Sambi Lokonga
  8. Kieran Tierney
  9. Ben White

You also have to count u21s who have made first-team appearances (not including the FA Cup third round).

For Arsenal, that’s Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Nuno Tavares, and Charlie Patino.

Miguel Azeez has also made a first-team appearance, but his recall from loan hasn’t been officially confirmed yet, so he’s seemingly unavailable for the match.

Miguel Azeez playing for Portsmouth (Photo via Azeez on Twitter)
Miguel Azeez playing for Portsmouth (Photo via Azeez on Twitter)

In total, that means Arsenal have 13 outfield players available. That wouldn’t be few enough to have the game called off.

But if anyone else picks up Covid-19, or if (for example) Saka doesn’t recover from the knock that forced him off against Liverpool, then Arsenal could request a postponement.

The fixture is very much in the balance right now.

Arsenal transfer window | Arsenal Tottenham postponement precedent already set by Premier League | The Paradise News



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Arsenal’s lack of backups to face Tottenham is simply bad management

Arsenal’s lack of backups to face Tottenham is simply bad management