Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta revealed he was surprised that their Premier League game against Brentford last weekend was not postponed. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Willian, and back-up goalkeeper Alex Runarsson tested positive for the coronavirus and missed the game. Arteta was without three additional players in Thomas Partey, forward Eddie Nketiah, and defender Gabriel due to injuries.
“Yes, I was surprised it wasn’t postponed, but the regulators decided the best thing to do was to play the game,” the Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta 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.”
“I don’t know if they can train in a few hours and if they are going to be able to compete at the weekend. I don’t know,” he added when asked if the players were fit for the weekend. “They’ve had some tough days. Lacazette still hasn’t trained as he’s not been good. Aubameyang trained yesterday but they were affected by the virus – they were ill.”
Arteta also said that the majority of the players were vaccinated but he insisted that he would not be enforcing the jab on anyone.
“Most of them have had two. Others they have had one vaccine,” he added. “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. In 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.”
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