Tottenham furious as Arsenal’s request to postpone north London derby is accepted

Tottenham have expressed their anger and frustration that Arsenal’s request to postpone Sunday’s north London derby was granted by the Premier League.

The Gunners, who played a goalless draw with Liverpool in Thursday’s Carabao Cup, applied for the Premier League on Friday as several players were unavailable.

A mix of coronavirus, injuries, suspensions and players being away from the Africa Cup of Nations prompted Arsenal to “reluctantly” move to ask the match at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to be called off.

Following the confirmation given on Saturday, Tottenham issued a statement in which they said “we may now see unintended consequences” in reference to the Premier League’s guidance on the postponement, and on the importance of having “clarity and consistency on the application”. stressed. Rule”.

The statement on the club’s official website read: “We regret to announce that Sunday’s North London derby against Arsenal has been postponed.

“This follows an application from Arsenal to the Premier League based on a combination of current and recent injuries and players on international duty in the Africa Cup of Nations. We are very surprised that this application has been approved.

“We found ourselves disqualified from the European Conference League following a significant number of Covid cases, which meant we needed to reschedule a fixture and reschedule our application to move our Leicester fixture. The sanction was not granted – only that it was later postponed when Leicester came into force.

“The original purpose of the guidance was to directly impact player availability with COVID cases resulting in team shortages when, along with injuries, the club would be unable to field a team. We do not believe this was an attempt to deal with player availability that was not related to COVID.

“Now we can see the unintended consequences of this rule. It is important to have clarity and consistency when the rule is implemented. Yet fans have seen their plans disrupted at unacceptably short notice.

“We will once again send food delivery to local food banks to avoid unacceptable waste. We’re so sorry for our fans – some of whom may have gone long distance.”

The Premier League had previously issued a statement which read: “Following the request of Arsenal FC, the Premier League Board met today and regretfully agreed to postpone the club’s away match against Tottenham Hotspur, which Will be played on Sunday 16 January at 4:30 pm.

“With Arsenal falling short of the number of players available for the match (13 outfield players and one goalkeeper), the board accepted the club’s application.

“The decision is the result of a combination of COVID-19, existing and recent injuries and players on international duty in the Africa Cup of Nations. If the Covid-19 infection is a factor in their request, all clubs are able to apply for a postponement. ,

A statement from Arsenal said: “We are disappointed to announce that Sunday’s north London derby at Tottenham Hotspur has been postponed.

“We know how much this match means to our fans around the world, but the Premier League has decided to postpone the match, as many players in our squad are currently suffering from Covid-19, existing and recent injuries. are unavailable as a result. In addition to players with their countries in AFCON. ,

Martin Odegaard was absent for the Liverpool match due to Covid-19 while Emil Smith Rowe and Takehiro Tomiyasu were missing due to injuries. Granit Xaka received a red card during a 0–0 draw that ruled him out of Sunday’s match, and Cédric Soares suffered an injury, with Arsenal already having Thomas Partey, Mohamed Alleny, Nicolas Pepe and Pierre- Without Emerick Aubameyang because of his international commitments.

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Granit Xaka was ruled out of Sunday’s game due to suspension after being sent off against Liverpool on Thursday (Peter Byrne/PA).

Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Folarin Balogun have left on loan to join Roma and Middlesbrough respectively. Boss Mikel Arteta said on Friday that Arsenal “always intend to play”, while the club’s under-23s were able to face West Ham in Premier League 2 that day.

Saturday’s top-flight match between Burnley and Leicester had already been postponed to Friday, as the Clarets were unable to make a team, while in the Women’s Super League, Arsenal confirmed the opponents’ request that their matches be held on Sunday. was rearranged. Granted by the Football Association, Everton vs Chelsea was already postponed due to Covid-19 issues in the host camp.