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North London Derby Postponed as Arsenal Decry Lack of Players
- The North London derby becomes the 21st EPL game to be postponed
- Arsenal had lodged a request to the Premier League for postponement because of lack of sufficient players
- The Gunners are without a number of key players either due to injury, COVID-19 or AFCON duty
The North London derby involving Tottenham and Arsenal has been postponed because the Gunners do not have enough players to field a team.
Sportsbrief earlier reported that Arsenal had tabled a formal request to the Premier League to have the game scheduled for Sunday, January 16 postponed.
Barely 24 hours later and the Premier League released a statement confirming their request had been considered and approved because of a number of reasons.
"The decision is a result of a combination of Covid-19, existing and recent injuries and players on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations," said the Premier League in a statement.
As per the Premier League rules, a team has to fulfill their league duties if they have 13 outfield players and the goalkeeper available.
Gunners’ missing players
Arsenal’s squad is thoroughly depleted for one reason or the other at the moment.
Thomas Partey, Mohamed Elneny, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe are off on AFCON duty, while Cedric Soares, Bukayo Saka and Calum Chambers all sustained fresh injuries during the hard-fought 0-0 draw against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup.
Xhaka was also not an option for the North London derby as the Switzerland international was serving a suspension after picking up a red card.
Arteta’s side expressed regret at having to call for the postponement of the game as the club clarified that they were ‘reluctant’ to do so.
This is the 21st English top flight game to be postponed so far this season, and follows that of Burnley and Leicester, which will also have to be played at a later date as the Clarets have similar challenges as Arsenal in terms of squad depth.
According to the Premier League, it takes into consideration a number of factors before deciding to postpone a game including “the ability of a club to field a team; the status, severity and potential impact of Covid-19, and the ability of the players to safely prepare for and play the match”.