Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, both of Arsenal’s forwards, have tested positive for Covid-19. The pair were absent from last Friday’s season opener at Brentford, which they lost 2-0, for unknown reasons, as the club refused to reveal the cause for their absence.
The timetable is still a little hazy, but it appears that the match was almost postponed because the whole Arsenal traveling squad and staff had to be tested at the eleventh hour before the game could go on.
The game was barely hours away from being called off, according to Sportsmail, after the entire traveling Arsenal party was ordered to take emergency Covid tests on the day of the game.
And we can now confirm that the extra testing was necessary because four Arsenal players – Aubameyang, Lacazette, Willian, and Alex Runarsson – had positive tests in the days leading up to the game. Staff was ordered to take additional tests on Saturday, which was a scheduled day off, according to Sportsmail.
Captain Aubameyang, whose wife Alysha shared photos of a family birthday party on social media just days before the striker’s positive test, now has a negative result and will be evaluated ahead of Sunday’s home game against Chelsea. The government’s new modified Covid restrictions allow for such gatherings.
Lacazette and Runarsson are still healing and will miss the European champions’ visit, although Willian is being evaluated ahead of the match against his former club.
Premier League clubs are required to test twice a week, but there was such worry over Arsenal’s visit to newly-promoted Brentford that players, coaches, and other connected personnel were urged to take tests on game day.
For what it’s worth, the positive COVID tests could explain why the players were kept out so late and abruptly. However, according to Arsenal’s squad news and web reports, all four players appear to be on the mend.
COVID-19 is still very much a part of our lives, even if for others it has gone into the background. Please continue to follow your local health authority’s recommendations and get vaccinated if it is accessible to you.