Mikel Arteta was ‘surprised’ Arsenal’s opening game with Brentford went ahead after a Covid-19 outbreak in the Gunners’ squad but admits some of his players are NOT vaccinated
- Mikel Arteta was surprised Arsenal’s opening game with Brentford went ahead
- Four of the Gunners’ squad tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of the match
- Arteta’s side were without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and were beaten 2-0
- The manager admitted some of his squad are not vaccinated against the virus
Mikel Arteta says he was ‘surprised’ that Arsenal’s game with Brentford was not called off due to a Covid-19 outbreak in the Gunners’ squad.
Arteta’s side were without captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette for the opening night of the Premier League after the attacking pair both tested positive for the virus.
Willian and back-up goalkeeper Alex Runarsson also returned positive tests. Arsenal were subsquently beaten 2-0 by Thomas Frank’s newly promoted side but Arteta admitted he had been expecting the game to be postponed before kick-off.
Mikel Arteta said he was surprised Arsenal’s opening game with Brentford went ahead
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (left) and Alexandre Lacazette (right) both tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of the game
‘Yes, I was surprised but the regulators decided the best thing to do was to play the game,’ Arteta said at his press conference ahead of Sunday’s clash with Chelsea.
There is no set threshold or number of Covid positives required in order for a Premier League game postponed.
Sportsmail revealed on Tuesday that the game was just hours away from being called off after the entire travelling Arsenal party were forced to take emergency Covid tests on the day of the game.
Sportsmail understands that staff were asked to take additional tests on Saturday, a scheduled day off.
The Gunners, who were missing a total of four players through Covid, were beaten 2-0
Captain Aubameyang, whose wife Alysha posted pictures on social media of a family birthday party just days before the striker’s positive test, has now recorded a negative result and will be assessed ahead of Sunday’s home game against Chelsea.
Lacazette and Runarsson are still recovering and won’t be available for the visit of the European champions but Willian is being assessed ahead of the clash against his former club.
Premier League clubs are testing twice a week but there was enough concern over Arsenal’s visit to newly promoted Brentford that Gunners players, the coaching team and other associated staff were told to take tests on the day of the game.
Arteta admitted that some of his players are not vaccinated but most have had at least one jab
Arteta confirmed most of his squad have received at least one Covid vaccine and said the club are trying to encourage all of the players to get fully vaccinated, but admitted not all have taken up the option.
‘Most of them are double vaccinated. Others have had one vaccine. We are trying to encourage them to get vaccinated, but it’s a personal matter.
‘At the end it’s a personal decision. It’s not about protecting ourselves, it’s about protecting the people around us as well.’
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