Premier League postponed the north London derby due to an appeal from Arsenal.
Arsenal have one positive COVID-19 case in their squad. However, the Premier League has accepted their request to postpone Sunday’s north London derby due to injuries and AFCON absentees.
According to the league’s rules, teams can appeal for a postponement if fewer than 13 outfield players are available in their squad. Amid the absence of some of their key players, Arsenal managed to hold Liverpool to a goalless draw in the Carabao Cup on Thursday. However, they decided to apply for a match postponement ahead of their crunch derby against Spurs.
Annoyed by the league’s decision, Tottenham have published a statement on the decision.
“We regret to announce that Sunday’s north London derby against Arsenal has been postponed,” the Tottenham statement reads.
“This follows an application from Arsenal to the Premier League on the basis of a combination of COVID, existing and recent injuries and players on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations.
“We are extremely surprised that this application has been approved.
“We ourselves were disqualified from the European Conference League after a significant number of COVID cases meant we needed to reschedule a fixture and our application to move our Leicester fixture was not approved – only for it to be subsequently postponed when Leicester applied.“
The statement adds: “The original intention of the guidance was to deal with player availability directly affected by COVID cases, resulting in depleted squads that when taken together with injuries would result in the club being unable to field a team.
“We do not believe it was the intent to deal with player availability unrelated to COVID.
“We may now be seeing the unintended consequences of this rule. It is important to have clarity and consistency on the application of the rule.
“Yet again fans have seen their plans disrupted at unacceptably short notice. We shall once again send food deliveries to the local food banks to avoid unacceptable waste.
“We are sincerely sorry for our fans – some of whom will have travelled great distances.”
What’s next for Conte’s men?
Antonio Conte’s side sit sixth in the Premier League with 33 points from their 18 games. They are two points behind their arch-rivals Arsenal while having two games at hand.
The Spurs have decent chances of finishing in the top four. However, the club’s underwhelming performance in the current transfer window has generated doubts about Conte’s potential departure. The Italian boss has repeatedly called for the club’s support for the team’s recruitment. However, the club are yet to make a signing this January.
Tottenham will now prepare to face Leicester City in their next game on Wednesday. The Spurs will then meet Chelsea four days later.