Arsenal: Xhaka and Balogun test positive for Covid-19 as Smith Rowe and Tomiyasu injured for Nottingham Forest

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 (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
(Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Folarin Balogun and Granit Xhaka are the latest Arsenal players to test positive for Covid-19.

The pair tested positive for the virus ahead of the Gunners’ FA Cup third-round tie against Nottingham Forest, forcing them to miss the match at the City Ground.

Xhaka’s absence is a particular blow for Arsenal given they are already short on midfield options.

Mohamed Elneny and Thomas Partey are at the Africa Cup of Nations during January, while Ainsley Maitland-Niles has left to join Roma on loan.

It means Albert Sambi Lokonga is Arsenal’s only fit senior central midfielder, with Charlie Patino handed his first start for the club as a result.

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Emile Smith Rowe and Takehiro Tomiyasu were also left out of the FA Cup clash with Forest due to fitness issues.

Smith Rowe is struggling with a tight groin, while Tomiyasu has been having issues with a tight calf.

Arsenal will hope they are back for Thursday’s Carabao Cup semi-final first-leg clash with Liverpool at Anfield.

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