Mikel Arteta is hopeful that he will be back taking Arsenal training this week and in the dugout on Thursday night for the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final against Liverpool.
Mikel Arteta missed Arsenal’s game against Manchester City on New Year’s Day as he had to isolate due to catching covid again.
The Arsenal manager wasn’t missed, so well prepared were his team before the game, but to have him back on the sidelines will no doubt be a boost for his squad.
According to reports, Arteta is expecting to be back at London Colney, taking training, on Wednesday, with a view to being cleared to take up his spot on the touchline.
Arteta’s isolation period is due to end on Tuesday, assuming he returns a negative test.
Liverpool hit by Covid and AFCON ahead of Arsenal clash
Liverpool could be without a few of their starters against Arsenal thanks to Covid-19, as well as losing players to AFCON.
Liverpool wrote on their club website at the weekend that Alisson Becker, Roberto Firmino, and Joel Matip had all been ruled out of their game against Chelsea after returning suspected positive tests for Covid-19.
Given the relatively tight turnaround between that game on Sunday and the Arsenal match on Thursday, it seems very likely they will be absent for the League Cup semi-final first leg as well.
That’s in addition to the players Liverpool are losing to AFCON, such as Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Naby Keita.
We don’t know exactly how Jurgen Klopp (who also has a suspected positive test) is planning to approach Thursday’s game.
The Liverpool manager has generally rotated heavily for the League Cup, particularly this season, but it’s now the semi-final stage and Liverpool only face Shrewsbury Town at the weekend.
But even if Klopp was planning to name a strong team, it looks like he’ll be missing around six of his potential starters.
Arsenal will have some absentees of their own, with Thomas Partey, Nicolas Pepe, Mohamed Elneny, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang heading off to AFCON, Eddie Nketiah missing Saturday’s match through Covid-19, and Gabriel Magalhaes suspended.
Most of Arsenal’s usual starters should be available though, with the exception of Partey and Gabriel.
Liverpool got the better of Arsenal convincingly in their matchup earlier this season, but this clash looks like being a more competitive one, given the players available.