It’s a TWO post kind of day.
Arsenal managed to convince the Premier League to have the Spurs game postponed.
This is a monstrous piece of work from Arsenal leadership, truly, a very powerful move.
One of the elements that I think confuses everyone is that we’re all looking at the one or two COVID cases and wondering how you can have a game canceled based on such low numbers.
Well, the Arsenal case wouldn’t go down like that.
I thought we looked naive calling out injuries and AFCON in the presser, but that was absolutely part of the mixer.
The Premier League has to look at actual cases. They have to consider players coming back from COVID being unfit (remember Gabriel last season?). Then they will look at the amount of games played by players that haven’t had much time off. Arsenal will then no doubt be flagging the names we have on the verge of injury.
Arsenal had one midfielder by the end of the Liverpool game. We’re on our 4th choice right back. Granit Xhaka is out for 3 games. Our squad is threadbare right now, you can’t deny it.
Then look at the players who have taken the load. Tomiyasu has a niggly injury, that could turn into a serious one if he’d played tomorrow. ESR is also carrying a knock, that could turn into a 3-month problem. Lose those two players, there’s no Liverpool and Burnley games. That impacts the Premier League because the calendar has to shift again.
In times like these, you have to look at people like Richard Garlick and wonder how big his role was in this. He was part of the team that pulled together the Premier League protocols for returning the training after a COVID outbreak. That’s a lawyer type on the frontline of the rules, if anyone was going to get this game canceled, it was him.
So onto the selfish bits: This is huge for Arsenal.
It means we can have a rattle at Liverpool this Thursday. We’ll have most of our players back in contention for the Burnley game at home next Sunday. Then we have 17 days off to prepare for our Phase 6 assault on the league.
By then, we should have signed a couple of players, everyone will have rested, there will be no Europe, and we’ll have a fully fit side to play Spurs in a game that could decide the Top 4 race. Is it annoying that Son will be back? Yes. But I really don’t think going away to Spurs with no midfield was a recipe for a high probability win.
So all in all, this is a good day for Arsenal. Given the context of our season, it’s a fair one. We dropped 9 points at the start of the season because no one understood how badly COVID rocks preparation. We had 9 players out for Brentford. I think moving one game is acceptable considering the massive advantages afforded to everyone else.
It’s also very amusing that the full force of the media + the Sky Sports Punditry mafia couldn’t shape a decision you knew they had an interest in shaping. You can pretend the media isn’t a bias affair, but everyone has eyes, and we can all see how different clubs get different treatment. Look at how Klopp evaded any real criticism for the fale/positives. Look at the way Sky talks to Rangnick because they smell blood. Look at how uninterested G Nev in COVID postponements when it works for his team.
Anyway, a superb result for Arsenal. Well done to everyone involved.
… we might even do a podcast a bit later to talk about it.