Gary Neville has hit out at Arsenal for trying to get Sunday’s North London derby with Tottenham postponed and is calling on the Premier League to reject their request.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta is reportedly asking the Premier League to rearrange Sunday’s game with Antonio Conte’s side. With Arsenal sat in fifth and Spurs just behind in sixth, the match will likely have a crucial bearing on the race for the fourth.
However, with up to 12 players missing through injury, suspension and international call-ups, Arsenal are reportedly asking for a postponement. Indeed, their situation is compounded by Granit Xhaka’s red card at Liverpool which left Arteta less than impressed.
And with just one senior centre midfielder available in Albert Sambi Lokonga, Arteta has some serious selection issues.
However, Neville is angry at Arsenal for submitting the request and insists they’re more than capable of putting a team out.
“I honestly believe that all teams, not just in the Premier League but the EFL now must be made to play their fixtures,” Gary Neville said before Brighton’s match against Crystal Palace.
“[Folarin] Balogun’s gone on loan, [Ainsley] Maitland-Niles has gone on loan, [Granit] Xhaka’s got a red card – that’s not the fault of anybody else.
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Gary Neville sends clear message
“We can’t be calling fixtures off. If it was purely down to Covid and extraordinary circumstances where there were 10 or 15 players out [it would be acceptable].
“But, we’re now talking about teams in the last few weeks where there’s no doubt they’ve been calling games off whether they think they’ve got the best squad or best team to win a game.”
Meanwhile, in a separate issue, there are concerns over Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang following a shock health scare.
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With Martin Odegaard self-isolating after a positive Covid case, Bukayo Saka and Cedric Soares also appear doubtful. That’s after the pair picked up knocks in Thursday’s goalless draw at Liverpool.
While he did not confirm whether he is seeking a postponement, he admits feeling anxious over losing any more players.
“I don’t know, it’s difficult to say that with total honesty without assessing our players. But what is today very unlikely, tomorrow is likely to happen,” a tentative Arteta admitted.
“It’s gone the other way for us when we were ready to play a match and twice it’s postponed. That’s after the other team had issues – so it can go both ways. But our intention is always to play.”