Arsenal’s preparations for their 3-0 defeat to Manchester City last Wednesday were chaotically impacted as three players were surprisingly forced into self-isolation following a positive coronavirus diagnosis.
The match was the second game of the Premier League’s restart and saw the Gunners comprehensively put to the sword by goals from Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden.
The loss marked the end to a frustrating week which had seen Arsenal forced to fly up to Manchester just three hours before the game after failing to find accommodation, and The Athletic’s David Ornstein has now revealed that they even had to deal with some coronavirus carnage as well.
One of their players was contacted after testing positive for the virus during the previous week, and it was decided that the player in question had been in ‘close contact’ with two teammates, forcing the three players to enter into self-isolation and miss three days of training.
Arsenal believed that the test may have been a false positive, given the player had tested negative previously and had not done anything to make him at risk of catching the virus, so they conducted their own tests.
Both antigen tests and antibody tests, which determine whether a person currently has or has recovered from the virus respectively, came back negative. Government guidelines permit people to exit self-isolation if they can pass the anti-gen test, but the Premier League declined to approve Arsenal’s wish to bring the trio back to training.
Instead, the players had to wait for the next official round of testing, and after they all came back negative, they were finally allowed to return to action.
It’s not the only example of this happening as Norwich City’s Marco Stiepermann was hit with a suspected false positive in the same round of testing as this mystery Arsenal player, but he was permitted to return to training early after passing two virus tests.
Mikel Arteta will be ruing the impact this had on his preparations for the game, although it’s not like it would have had too much of an impact. Pablo Marí and Granit Xhaka’s early injuries left Arsenal in the lurch, and David Luiz’s red card gave City all the momentum they needed.
The defeat saw Arsenal drop down to tenth in the Premier League table, and they now sit 11 points behind in the race for the top four.
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