Football NewsArteta stunned by EPL allowed Their opening game to Proceed after four players tested positive for Covid
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Mikel Arteta says he was ‘surprised’ that Arsenal’s game with Brentford was not called off due to a Covid-19 outbreak in the Gunners’ squad. 

Arteta’s side was without captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette for the opening night of the Premier League after the attacking pair both tested positive for covid virus.

Willian and backup goalkeeper Alex Runarsson also returned positive tests. Subsequently, Arsenal were beaten 2-0 by Brentford although Arteta admitted he had been expecting the game to be postponed before kick-off bearing in mind the club hadn’t made a request for the match to be postponed.

‘Yes, I was surprised but the regulators decided the best thing to do was to play the game,’ Arteta said at his press conference ahead of Sunday’s clash with Chelsea.

Moreover, there is no set threshold or a number of Covid positives required in order for a Premier League game to be called off.

As revealed by reports, on Tuesday, the game was just hours away from being called off after the entire traveling Arsenal party were forced to take emergency Covid tests on the day of the game. Similarly,  it is understood that staff were asked to take additional tests on Saturday, a scheduled day off.

Captain Aubameyang, whose wife Alysha posted pictures on social media of a family birthday party just days before the striker’s positive test, has now recorded a negative result and will be assessed ahead of Sunday’s home game against Chelsea.

Lacazette and Runarsson are still recovering and won’t be available for the visit of the European champions but Willian is being assessed ahead of the clash against his former club.

Premier League clubs are testing twice a week but there was enough concern over Arsenal’s visit to newly promoted Brentford that Gunners players, the coaching team and other associated staff were told to take tests on the day of the game.

Arteta confirmed most of his squad have received at least one Covid vaccine and said the club are trying to encourage all of the players to get fully vaccinated, but admitted not all have taken up the option.

‘Most of them are double vaccinated. Others have had one vaccine. We are trying to encourage them to get vaccinated, but it’s a personal matter”.