Mikel Arteta surprised Brentford vs Arsenal was not postponed after Covid-19 outbreak in Gunners’ squad

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

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta says he was surprised last week’s Premier League opener against Brentford was not postponed after a Covid-19 outbreak at the club.

The Gunners were without Alexandre Lacazette, Alex Runarsson, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Willian for last Friday’s 2-0 defeat at Brentford, and they confirmed on Thursday night all four had contracted Covid-19.

The quartet are all likely to miss Sunday’s clash with Chelsea as they continue to recover, although Aubameyang could make it as he has recently tested negative.

Arsenal are looking to bounce back from last week’s defeat to Brentford and Arteta admitted on Friday morning he was surprised the match wasn’t postponed.

“Yes, I was surprised, but the regulators decided that the best thing to do was to play the game,” he said.

“What we did is what we had to do, through the club, through the club doctor as well. He explained the situation, how it developed and the risk that we consider.”

Arteta also revealed most of the Arsenal squad are vaccinated, but he encouraged those who aren’t to do so.

“Most of them are double-vaccinated. Others they have one vaccine,” he said.

“We are trying to encourage them to get vaccinated because they are going to protect themselves, their families, obviously the environment around the club.

“But it is a really personal matter and we are trying to guide them and explain the reasons why it is better to do it. But at the end, it’s a personal decision.

“It is not about protecting ourselves, it is about protecting the people around us as well. I think it is a gesture of generosity.

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

“I don’t know if somebody is completely convinced at the beginning to do it, but you see that the benefits at the moment are much bigger.”

Arsenal this morning confirmed the signing of Martin Odegaard from Real Madrid, who has joined for a fee in the region of £30million.

The Norwegian, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Arsenal, has signed a five-year contract. Odegaard will be unable to play against Chelsea as he is still awaiting visa clearance.

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

Arsenal are also closing in on a £24m deal for Sheffield United goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, who has undergone a medical.

The England international is expected to sign in the next 48 hours, but he he has already come under fire from some Arsenal fans online. Arteta, however, says supporters will “love” Ramsdale once they see him in action.

“I think give him some time. He is a younger goalkeeper as well, but with a huge, huge potential,” said Arteta.

“I think they are going to love his personality, his character and the quality that he has as a goalkeeper.”

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