When three players were unexpectedly pushed into self-isolation after a positive coronavirus diagnosis last Wednesday, Arsenal’s preparations for their 3-0 loss to Manchester City were chaotically affected. The match was the second Premier League restart game and Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne, and Phil Foden ‘s goals brought the Gunners to the sword.
The loss marked the end of a difficult week when Arsenal was forced to travel to Manchester just three hours before the game after not finding accommodation, and now David Ornstein of The Athletic has confirmed that they too had to contend with some coronavirus carnage.
After having tested positively for the virus over the previous week, one of their players was approached and it was determined that the player in question had been in ‘near contact’ with two teammates, driving the three players into self-isolation and missing three days of 90min training.
Arsenal believed the test could have been a false positive since the player had previously tested negative and did nothing to make him at risk of catching the virus, so they did their own tests.
Both antigen tests and antibody tests, which determine whether a person has or is currently recovering from the virus, have returned negative respectively. Government guidelines allow individuals to exit self-isolation if they can pass the anti-gene test, but the Premier League refused to endorse Arsenal’s wish to return the trio to training. Then, the players had to wait until the next official round of training, and they were only allowed to return to practice after they had all returned negative.
It is not the only case of this occurring as Marco Stiepermann of Norwich City was hit with a confirmed false positive in the same round of testing as this mystery Arsenal player, but he was able to return to training early after passing two virus tests.
The impact this had on his game preparations will be ruled by Mikel Arteta, although it’s not like it would have had too much impact.
The loss saw Arsenal drop to the seventh in the Premier League table, and they now sit 11 points behind the top four in the chase.