Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette missed Arsenal’s 2-0 defeat at Brentford after returning positive coronavirus tests, the club have confirmed.
Aubameyang could be available for Arsenal’s Premier League game against Chelsea on Sunday, live on Sky Sports, after a bout of coronavirus saw the striker miss the Gunners’ opening Premier League defeat.
The captain has tested negative, will return to training, and be assessed prior to Sunday’s match at the Emirates Stadium.
Meanwhile, the club have said Lacazette is still recovering, and will not be at Mikel Arteta’s disposal for their clash with the Blues.
Willian has also returned a positive test and his recovery is being monitored ahead of Sunday, while back-up goalkeeper Alex Runnarson is also currently self-isolating after catching the virus.
Arsenal were without a number of other key players for the defeat at Brentford.
Midfielder Thomas Partey has been out with an ankle problem since their friendly with Chelsea on August 1, but he is working hard with the medical team and is aiming to be back in training by the end of the month.
Eddie Nketiah has also been out since that Chelsea match, but the striker is expected to return to training early next month.
Gabriel, who sustained an injury to his right knee while with the Brazil Olympic squad, is also progressing well and aiming to be back in training before the end of August.
With Martin Odegaard and Aaron Ramsdale both close to completing moves to the Emirates Stadium, the pair need to be registered by 12pm on Friday in order to be selected in Arteta’s squad to face Chelsea on Sunday.
Norway international Odegaard, who spent the second half of last season on loan at the Gunners, is set to arrive for an initial fee of £30m from Real Madrid, plus bonuses of around £4m, but his prospects of making an appearance on Sunday are slim with his visa application process still ongoing.
Ramsdale, Sheffield United’s Player of the Season last term, is undergoing a medical ahead of a £24m move from Bramall Lane.
Meanwhile, Barcelona are interested in signing Aubameyang from Arsenal, despite the Catalan club’s current £1.15m debt, and are willing to offer Philippe Coutinho as part of an exchange.
Merson Says: Arsenal recruitment lazy, Lukaku Chelsea’s game-changer
Paul Merson criticises Arsenal’s recruitment under technical director Edu in his latest column, while praising Chelsea for a ‘mind-blowing’ performance against Crystal Palace…
“It’s worrying at Arsenal. You’re still thinking: ‘Where are they going?’
“Edu has come in, and the recruitment has been lazy, if I’m being honest. It’s been: ‘Oh, we’ll take Willian on a free… we’ll take David Luiz for cheap.’
“I remember years ago in football, managers were judged on signings. Sometimes I think Arteta is left behind, and I’m not sure how much of a say he has got in all of this.
“Why would you let Joe Willock go? I’m not saying he’s the answer, but he’s come through the club and is going for £25m, that sort of money isn’t going to change Arsenal. It’s not like a Harry Kane or Jack Grealish sale where you get £100m and can rebuild the team.
“But Arsenal are prepared to pay Willian big money. Where is the future in that? It’s quick fixes. Surely Willock is a future player and for the present, and can be involved in the plan.
“Jonny Evans is a good example. I was calling for Arsenal to sign him when he left West Brom – a very good player, who was at Man Utd at the wrong time. He would have been a success. But it felt like Arsenal didn’t sign him because he played for West Brom. ‘How can Arsenal be signing players from West Brom?’
“My question to Edu would be: ‘What’s the plan?'”
Watch Arsenal vs Chelsea live on Sky Sports Premier League from 4pm on Super Sunday; kick-off 4.30pm.