The north London exchange between Arsenal and Tottenham, which is scheduled for Sunday 16 January, has been canceled. It follows a request from Arsenal to postpone it in the middle of the Covid-19 case, injuries and players inaccessible due to international service at the Africa Cup of Nations.
The Gunners made the request on Friday night and the Premier League granted it just over 24 hours before kick-off.
Arsenal played in the first match of the Carabao Cup semi-final against Liverpool as late as Thursday and Tottenham were thought to be outraged by the request for a suspension that came within 48 hours of the clash at the Emirates Stadium.
“With Arsenal having less than the required number of players available for the match (13 outfielders and a goalkeeper), the board accepted the club’s application,” the league said in a statement.
“The decision is the result of a combination of covid-19, existing and recent injuries and players on international service at the Africa Cup of Nations. All clubs can apply for a suspension if covid-19 infections are a factor in their request.”
Premier League rules stipulate that a match must be met if 13 outfielders and at least one goalkeeper are available for selection.
Arsenal were heavily criticized by Sky Sports expert Gary Neville on Friday. He suggested that the Gunners, even if they were not the only culprits, took advantage of having games postponed when Covid-19 is not the only reason for missing players.
“If it was only due to Covid under extraordinary circumstances and there were 10 or 15 players out. But we are now talking about teams in recent weeks where there is no doubt that they have canceled matches based on whether they think they have the best squad or team to win a match. It has to stop, “Neville said during Sky’s coverage of Brighton vs Crystal Palace.
“I have to say it’s not an excavation at Arsenal. I should have talked three or four weeks ago. Manchester United, other teams, have 30 or 40 players in their squad, I do not have that they can not get 14 together, 15, 16 players.
“Without knowing the exact details, unless there are an absolute number of Covid cases coming in at Arsenal, I feel I have played [on Thursday] night in Liverpool and played fantastically well by the way, it has to stop now. They have to get the team to play. “
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