Mikel Arteta thinks it’s better for football to continue at the moment, rather than taking a break as suggested in some recent proposals.
In the last few weeks, the topic of a two-week football circuit breaker has been floating around, particularly in light of the current Covid situation.
The number of cases hit an all-time high at the start of the new year, and there was a knock-on effect on football as more than a few games had to be called off. Arsenal felt the consequences themselves as Gabriel was absent after testing positive.
Officially, the Premier League have rejected any calls for a break so far. But more than just the risk of infection, football clubs are also in a very hectic period of fixtures that could lead to fatigue and injuries.
Despite all that, Mikel Arteta argues they should keep playing for as long as it’s safe.
“No (it wouldn’t have been good to have a circuit breaker),” Arteta said. “I think I prefer to play. I think we all prefer to play. We are on it, we all made big efforts and tried to contribute the best possible way to make things work and happen.
“I feel really lucky that we are still playing. And if it’s still safe and the right thing to do then let’s keep doing it.”
The fundamental problem with a circuit breaker is that the positive Covid tests are coming in from outside the squad, through the families and home lives of the players.
Due to regular testing of the players and staff at Premier League clubs, they’re often able to isolate and deal with any positive cases much more effectively than the rest of us. That’s why Gabriel’s case didn’t lead to any others in the squad.
If anything, a break might just increase the chances of player infection. They’d leave an environment with regular testing to spend more time around untested family and (based on the scandals over the festive period) friends at all their private parties.
For now, it probably is for the best that we continue with things as they are.