Granit Xhaka Covid case not severe as Arsenal sweat on availability for Liverpool clash

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  • Arsenal
    Arsenal
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  • Granit Xhaka
    Granit Xhaka
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 (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
(Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta has given a positive update on Granit Xhaka ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Liverpool, revealing the midfielder has not suffered too badly at the hands of Covid-19.

Xhaka was diagnosed with the virus last week and, as a result, he missed Sunday’s FA Cup defeat to Nottingham Forest.

The Switzerland international is a doubt for Thursday’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against Liverpool at Anfield, but Arteta has provided some positive news.

Asked if Xhaka had a lot of symptoms after testing positive, Arteta said: “In Granit’s case, not a lot.

“There are players that have felt different, but he wasn’t a big case.”

Arsenal are unsure if Xhaka will be able to play at Anfield, but they were hoping to know more by the end of Wednesday.

“There are certain protocols - when the situation started, when you test negative, whether you have symptoms,” Arteta explained.

“Hopefully [Arsenal doctor] Gary [O’Driscoll] will come to me today with a final decision on whether he is entitled to compete tomorrow or not. And it will be down to the test as well.”

Xhaka is the latest Arsenal player to test positive for coronavirus, with the likes of Cedric and Takehiro Tomiyasu also being sidelined in recent weeks.

And asked how hard it is to keep players fit when they are isolating, Arteta said: “Very difficult.

“We have players at home that we have to stop because they want to carry on and don’t want to lose any fitness.

“That’s why the doctor and all the sports science department are really on top of them, to try to understand what they are able to do.

“We don’t want to risk the health of the players. It’s absolutely the first thing we have to look at and how we can maintain their fitness. Mentally as well, when you are away for seven or ten days in your house and a lot of things are happening, it’s very frustrating.”

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