Brighton game still on as Arsenal players go into self-isolation after Man City game called off


There are currently no plans to postpone Arsenal's trip to Brighton on Saturday, despite the late decision to call off the Gunners' clash with Man City.

A number of Arsenal players and staff are in self-isolation after being informed that Olympiakos owner Evangelos Marinakis was diagnosed with coronavirus days after meeting them at the Europa League last-32 second-leg tie at the Emirates Stadium two weeks ago.

But the decision to postpone the Gunners’ game against the champions has been described as a “precautionary measure” and the Premier League have confirmed that Saturday’s fixture at the Amex Stadium is scheduled to go ahead.

Arsenal say Marinakis, who also owns Nottingham Forest, met a number of their players when the Gunners lost in extra time to the Greek club to go out of Europe on February 27.

The Greek shipping magnate announced via social media on Tuesday that he had tested positive for Covid-19.

But in peculiar development, Olympiakos’ game against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Europa League last-16 on Thursday remains on after Uefa rejected the Premier League club’s request for the match to be postponed.

In a brief statement issued on Wednesday morning, the Pireus club said: “Olympiacos FCinforms that after the required medical exams to which all the members of the football staff (players, coaching, medical and technical staff of the team), as well as all the board members and staff, were submitted, all the tests came out negative for the COVID-19 virus.”

Arsenal have not identified the players that are in self-isolation, but there must be question marks over their involvement at Brighton as medical experts have confirmed it takes an average of five days for symptoms to show.

The club say that they are “strictly following the government guidelines” which recommend that anyone coming into close contact with someone with the virus should self-isolate at home for 14 days from the last time they had contact.

The Brighton game comes after the 14-day period would have elapsed from the date of the Olympiakos game, but there remains the possibility that some players could develop symptoms.

Arsenal will reimburse supporters with tickets for Wednesday’s game, acknowledging the inconvenience and cost to fans who had been planning to attend the match at the Etihad Stadium.

“Both clubs and the Premier League have agreed that the short notice of Mr Marinakis’ infection means there is no alternative but to take the time to complete a proper assessment of risk,” the Premier League said in a statement.