Premier League • England

Arsenal duo sidelined with Covid for Sunderland quarter-final clash

Albert Sambi Lokonga and Nuno Tavares playing for Arsenal

Arsenal have Pablo Mari and Albert Sambi Lokonga absent due to Covid-19 for Tuesday’s Carabao Cup quarter-final clash with Sunderland.

Defender Sead Kolasinac (ankle) is also missing against the League One side. Meanwhile, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is expected to be missing from the squad once again.

The forward has not been involved in the last three games following internal disciplinary action and is not likely to be recalled.

Meanwhile, former Arsenal winger Willian has made a damning new claim over his time in north London.

Following a successful seven-year spell with Chelsea, the Brazilian joined Arsenal on a free transfer in August last year. Despite being the wrong side of 30, Arsenal gave him a huge contract worth £220,000 a week.

Willian could not replicate the success he had at Stamford Bridge, notching just one goal in 37 appearances for Mikel Arteta’s side.

The star had no intention of seeing out the rest of his contract and left for Corinthians in the summer.

Willian has since spoken about being unhappy with the Gunners, revealing that his time there was ‘a bit complicated’.

The two-time Premier League winner has now made a new claim, stating he wanted to leave Arsenal after just a matter of months.

During an interview with Rio Ferdinand, the 33-year-old said: “I was not happy, that’s why I didn’t perform. I don’t want to go into the details, but I wasn’t happy.

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Arsenal spell soon turned sour

“So, when I arrived there I was happy, from the beginning I was motivated. I wanted to do well, new club, new mates, new projects.

“After three months, I told my agent ‘please, I want to go’. I don’t want to speak bad about the club because it is a big club, has a big history in football, big players played there before it’s a big club – but it didn’t work, it was of course the most difficult time of my career.”

On ripping up the big-money contract, Willian added: “Yeah, it was big money that I gave up. Money is not the most important thing in life. You need to be happy, to be getting pleasure and wake up and want to go to training.

“I wasn’t having that, so I said to myself, with my family and my wife ‘I cannot stay here, I am not happy here, I have to leave’.”

READ MORE: Arsenal ‘talking’ to lethal Aubameyang successor with January transfer window plan confirmed