Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal’s match against Brentford should have been postponed given the Gunners’ four positive Covid-19 cases.
Speaking in his press conference ahead of the Chelsea clash this weekend, Mikel Arteta discussed the non-postponement of last week’s opening Premier League clash with Brentford.
As we have since had confirmed by the club, Arsenal had four players absent for the Brentford match due to positive Covid-19 tests. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Willian, and Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson were all ruled out. Yet the game went ahead.
“Yes (I think the game should have been postponed),” Arteta said. “I was surprised but the regulators decided that the best thing to do was to play the game.”
There’s obviously a suspicion that the game going ahead was more about PR than fairness or player safety. It wouldn’t look good for the Premier League if their opening fixture was cancelled after a Covid-19 outbreak.
There’s also been some talk that could be why Arsenal initially didn’t announce the nature of the illnesses in the squad. Whilst many of us figured out they probably had Covid-19, the club didn’t confirm as much until late this week.
Again, it was probably in the league’s best interests to keep that fact quiet for as long as possible, to stop it being the main story on the opening weekend of the season.
Instead of cancelling the game, the players and staff took additional tests and it went ahead.
It does somewhat feel like the rules are being made up as we go along, but we can only hope they remain consistent when four players from a rival club test positive before a game against Arsenal.