Arsenal has no leg to stand on with derby postponement request

Arsenal has put in an official request to have the north London derby on Sunday postponed, which has rightly angered Tottenham’s camp. 

The Gunners point to an increase of Covid-19 cases as the reason for their postponement request.

Mikel Arteta’s side also have numerous injuries, four players on international duty at the African Cup Of Nations and a suspension to contend with, all of which combine to form the actual reason they don’t want to play Sunday’s all-important match.

Those factors do not constitute a valid reason for postponement. It’s a case of the Gunners taking advantage of the pandemic, leveraging it as a way to skirt their Premier League responsibilities. They’d rather play the match under the spring sun with a fully fit roster to select from.

Having a widespread outbreak rip through your team, like the one Tottenham was decimated by prior to the Rennes match, is the only way matches of this magnitude should be postponed.

Tottenham’s top brass believes adamantly there is no Covid-19 outbreak affecting Arsenal’s camp. The Gunners are missing five players through injury; Martin Odegaard, Emile Smith Rowe, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Cedric Soares and Bukayo Saka.

Granit Xhaka, whose woeful disciplinary record should have by now cost him his job at Arsenal,  received yet another red card in the semifinal against Liverpool, further depleting Arteta’s squad.

They won’t get sympathy from anyone in the Tottenham camp, and nor should they. Arsenal, in the worst-case scenario, has enough youth players to draw from to ensure this match goes ahead. And yet that aforementioned Under-23 team’s match went ahead as scheduled.

It’s time for Arsenal to stop whining and put up or shut up.

Arsenal are not the only side dealing with a depleted squad.

Cristian Romero, Eric Dier, Son Heung-min and Sergio Reguilon are all most likely unavailable for Sunday’s encounter against their most loathed rival. In addition, Tottenham are also checking on a possible Covid case.

If it were Arsenal, they would exploit the single Covid case (if one is confirmed) and use it as just cause to suspend the match. But you don’t see Conte requesting a postponement. He gets on with it, knowing that Premier League teams have an abundance of resources and contingencies to draw from.

Enough is enough.

The Premier League needs to make a stand and only suspend matches severely effected by Covid, not merely because sides can’t field their preferred starting 11. Let the show go on.