Eric Dier reacts on Twitter in wake of Premier League ruling but Arsenal confirm fresh Covid case
Covid outbreak continues in Arsenal camp
Arsenal continues to have the first-team squad come under siege after another Covid case was confirmed in the Gunners camp today.
The report comes by way of the Guardian’s Nick Ames and in the wake of the Premier League making the decision to postpone the upcoming North London Derby against Tottenham on Sunday after an official request was lodged by Arsenal.
Understand at least one more Arsenal player beyond Martin Odegaard has come out positive for Covid-19 from today’s tests. #AFC
— Nick Ames (@NickAmes82) January 15, 2022
Mikel Arteta will certainly have breathed a sigh of relief after the league governing body passed on its decision as he is said to only have twelve or thirteen players in the squad available for tomorrow. Nicolas Pépé, Thomas Partey, Mohamed Elneny, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are all on AFCON assignment while the likes of Martin Ødegaard (Covid), Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Sead Kolasinać, and Cédric Soares are all unfit for service. Granit Xhaka would have been unavailable through suspension as well.
Dier joins pile-on after league ruling
But Tottenham are ‘extremely surprised’ and have voiced their concern in their own official statement in the wake of the Premier League’s ruling on grounds that Arsenal may have exploited a growing trend of clubs combining injury as cause to ask for postponements;
“We are extremely surprised that this application has been approved. We ourselves were disqualified from the European Conference League after a significant number of COVID cases meant we needed to reschedule a fixture and our application to move our Leicester fixture was not approved – only for it to be subsequently postponed when Leicester applied.
The original intention of the guidance – here – was to deal with player availability directly affected by COVID cases, resulting in depleted squads that, when taken together with injuries, would result in the club being unable to field a team. We do not believe it was the intent to deal with player availability unrelated to COVID. We may now be seeing the unintended consequences of this rule.
It is important to have clarity and consistency on the application of the rule. Yet again, fans have seen their plans disrupted at unacceptably short notice. We shall once again send food deliveries to the local food banks to avoid unacceptable waste. We are sincerely sorry for our fans – some of whom will have travelled great distances.”
And certainly, Spurs center-back and England international Eric Dier wholeheartedly agreed with the stance his club has taken after the defender took to Twitter in a sarcastic fashion to respond to the situation as it unfolded.
— Eric Dier (@ericdier) January 15, 2022
Dier echoed much of the same sentiments that many Spurs fans exhibited on social media, who chose to direct their frustrations at Arsenal rather than the Premier League who are responsible for accepting the Gunners application in the first place.
What is clear, however, is that if the league does not offer more clarity and act unilaterally regarding its application, many clubs – rightly or wrongly – may try to exploit any loopholes they may find this season.