North London derby postponed after Arsenal request

The north London derby between Tottenham and Arsenal on Sunday has been postponed.

The Premier League has accepted Arsenal’s request to call off the match after the Gunners claimed they had “many players currently unavailable across our squad as a result of Covid, injuries and players away with their countries at AFCON”.

The Tottenham hierarchy were angry at the thought of the game being postponed and believe there is not currently a coronavirus outbreak at Arsenal.

A statement released by the Premier League on Saturday afternoon read: “Following a request from Arsenal, the Premier League board met today and regrettably agreed to postpone the club’s away fixture against Tottenham.

“With Arsenal having fewer than the required number of players available for the match (13 outfield players and one goalkeeper), the board accepted the club’s application.

The Premier League also confirmed that “all clubs are able to apply for a postponement if COVID-19 infections are a factor in their request”, but did not specify if the number of cases was taken into account.

On Friday, Mikel Arteta insisted Arsenal’s “intention is always to play”.

Gunners midfielder Martin Odegaard missed Thursday’s goalless Carabao Cup semi-final first-leg draw at Liverpool due to Covid, while Emile Smith Rowe and Takehiro Tomiyasu had been ruled out through injury.

Cedric Soares was forced off early at Anfield, with Bukayo Saka also taking a knock, while Granit Xhaka’s first-half red card would have ruled him out of the Tottenham game.

Meanwhile, Thomas Partey, Mohamed Elneny, Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are all away at the Africa Cup of Nations.

It is the third time this season Tottenham have had a Premier League fixture postponed due to Covid, while it is the second match Arsenal have had called off – but the first at their reqeust.

  

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