Arsenal have made no request to the Premier League to have their New Year’s Day fixture with Manchester City postponed following a number of positive Covid tests among their coaching staff.
Manager Mikel Arteta will not be in the dugout for the visit of his former club after returning a positive test on Wednesday.
As first reported by the Daily Telegraph, the PA news agency understands Arteta is not alone in having to isolate with a number of his coaching team also testing positive.
One of Arteta’s assistant coaches, Steve Round, was absent from the dugout for the 5-0 win at Norwich on St Stephen’s Day while others are now also having to remain away from the training ground at London Colney.
Albert Stuivenberg, another of Arteta’s assistants, is currently taking training and is in line to lead the team into the game against league leaders City.
It is believed Arsenal are yet to appeal to the Premier League for the game to be called off, although there would be grounds to ask for the fixture to be postponed as staff are also included in the league’s guidelines for an application process to begin.
Whether such an appeal would be accepted is a different matter and Arsenal continue to prepare for the fixture to go ahead as planned and – with members of the coaching team at different stages of recovery – it is a fluid situation.
If Stuivenberg is the only first-team coach available to sit in the dugout at the Emirates Stadium as they look to stop City adding to their 10 consecutive league wins, the likes of academy manager Per Mertesacker could be asked to assist the Dutchman.