Arsenal request postponement of north London derby due to Covid and player absences

Arsenal have requested to postpone Sunday’s north London derby at Tottenham due to having an insufficient number of players to fulfil the fixture.

The Gunners are set to make the short journey to take on neighbours Tottenham this weekend, but have a host of players missing due to coronavirus, injury, suspension and the Africa Cup of Nations.

Martin Odegaard missed Thursday’s goalless Carabao Cup semi-final first-leg draw at Liverpool due to COVID-19, while Emile Smith Rowe and Takehiro Tomiyasu had been ruled out through injury.

Cedric Soares was forced off early at Anfield with Bukayo Saka also taking a knock as Granit Xhaka’s first-half red card further depleted manager Mikel Arteta’s squad.

Meanwhile, Thomas Partey, Mohamed Elneny, Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are all away at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Earlier on Friday, Burnley’s Premier League match against Leicester on Saturday was postponed due to Covid cases and injuries in the Clarets’ squad.

It is the fourth Burnley match this season to be postponed due to Covid-19 but the first time the request has come from the Turf Moor club. The relegation-threatened Clarets also had another fixture, against Tottenham, postponed at short notice due to heavy snow.

A league statement said: “The Premier League Board accepted Burnley’s application as the club does not have the required number of players available for the match (13 outfield players and one goalkeeper), due to COVID-19 cases and injuries.”

Burnley saw three consecutive matches – against Watford, Aston Villa and Everton – postponed last month due to Covid-19 cases within the opposition camps.

The re-arranged match against Watford is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, though must now be in doubt.

Burnley were without seven players due to Covid-19 during last weekend’s 2-1 FA Cup loss to Championship side Huddersfield, a match that was also missed by manager Sean Dyche, and have since seen Chris Wood join Newcastle.

Earlier this week, Leicester’s game at Everton was postponed for a second time with the Premier League stating they accepted the Foxes’ application ‘as the club do not have the required number of players available for the match (13 outfield players and one goalkeeper) due to COVID-19 cases, injuries and players on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations.’

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