Arsenal’s restart preparations were thrown into disarray by a positive Covid-19 test, with three players missing first-team training ahead of the defeat to Manchester City after being forced to self-isolate in line with government protocols.
Mikel Arteta’s side have endured a disastrous return to action following the Premier League’s restart, suffering back-to-back defeats to Manchester City and Brighton to leave their hopes of European qualification all but over.
The club’s positivity following an unbeaten run in the Premier League since the turn of the new year has now been removed, with the Gunners tenth in the division and missing the likes of Pablo Mari, Granit Xhaka and Bernd Leno through injury.
David Ornstein of The Athletic has now detailed the club’s difficult preparations ahead of their return to action, receiving the ‘untimely’ news that one of their players had tested positive for the coronavirus.
That unnamed player had also spent ‘enough time socialising’ with two teammates to be classed as being in ‘close contact’, with each of the trio then required to self-isolate in the week prior to Arsenal’s defeat at City.
However, Arsenal had enjoyed a clean bill of negative results prior to that week’s testing, and suspecting a ‘false positive’ took private samples on Saturday and Sunday to double-check whether the player – who was showing no symptoms – was infected with the virus.
Government rules allow a person to stop self-isolating if they receive a negative test, but as these further tests were conducted in-house they did not receive approval from the Premier League.
Arsenal were then made to wait until the next round of full testing to receive negative results for the three players, who were allowed to return to training on Tuesday evening at 5pm – just a day before the clash with City at the Etihad.
The situation led to a ‘chaotic’ build-up to the clash against Pep Guardiola’s side, and the Gunners will now hope to put their troubles behind them ahead of a fixture against Southampton on Thursday night.