Sunday’s north London derby is POSTPONED after Arsenal asked the Premier League to call the clash off because of injury pile-up, Covid cases and players at AFCON… with rivals Tottenham furious
- Sunday’s match at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium has been postponed
- Premier League accepted a request from depleted Arsenal to call game off
- Gunners without at least 12 players because of Covid, injuries and the AFCON
- Tottenham have been left furious by their rivals’ claims of being short
Sportsmail exclusively revealed on Friday that the Gunners had filed an application for the clash with bitter rivals Tottenham to be called off.
They have at least a dozen players unavailable because of positive Covid cases, injuries, suspension and international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Sunday’s north London derby between Tottenham and Arsenal has been postponed
Mikel Arteta’s (second right) Gunners made the request in the absence of several players
And the Premier League accepted Arsenal’s request on Saturday, with Spurs likely to be furious as a result.
The top flight announced the postponement on Saturday afternoon, apologising to fans and stressing it aims to cause as little disruption as possible while keeping fans informed up developments.
Following a request from Arsenal FC, the Premier League Board met today and regrettably agreed to postpone the club’s away fixture against Tottenham Hotspur, due to be played at 4:30pm on Sunday 16 January.
‘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 League apologises for the inconvenience and disruption caused to supporters who would have attended or watched the game – we are fully aware that postponements disappoint clubs and fans.
‘The League aims to provide as much clarity as possible, but unfortunately postponements sometimes have to be made at short notice, as safety is our priority. Where possible, the League will endeavour to keep supporters updated if games become at risk.’
Arsenal also confirmed the news in a statement on their website.
‘We are disappointed to announce that Sunday’s north London derby at Tottenham Hotspur has been postponed,’ it said.
‘We know how much this match means to our fans around the world, but the Premier League has made the decision to postpone the match, due to many players across our squad currently being unavailable as a result of COVID-19, existing and recent injuries, in addition to players away with their countries at AFCON.’
Spurs refrained from commenting on the news, simply posting the Premier League’s statement on their Twitter account.
The rules state that clubs are required to fulfil Premier League fixtures provided they have 13 outfield players and one goalkeeper who are either part of the senior squad or ‘appropriately experienced Under-21s.’
But Mikel Arteta’s squad is so depleted they couldn’t even muster that number of players for one of their biggest games of the season.
Thomas Partey, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mohamed Elneny and Nicolas Pepe are away in Cameroon for the ongoing AFCON competition.
Antonio Conte’s Spurs have been left furious at Arsenal’s efforts to get the game called off
Granit Xhaka is suspended after his red card against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup semi-final on Thursday night.
Martin Odegaard is the one known Covid case at the club but Calum Chambers, Cedric Soares, Kieran Tierney, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka are all injury doubts.
The quantity of injury doubts raised suspicion at Tottenham and it also didn’t go unnoticed that Arsenal let Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Folarin Balogun leave on loan in recent days.
Arsenal’s Under-23 side were also in action on Friday night, drawing 1-1 with West Ham, with a potential argument some of those players could have been called into the senior squad by Arteta.
It is the second Premier League fixture to fall by the wayside this weekend after Saturday’s Burnley vs Leicester City game was postponed.
Bukayo Saka was one of the scorers as Arsenal beat Tottenham in September’s derby match
Arsenal and Tottenham are fighting it out to make the Champions League next season