Three Arsenal players missed Tuesday night’s EFL Cup quarter-final vs Sunderland after testing positive for Covid.
Albert Sambi Lokonga, Pablo Mari and Calum Chambers were all unavailable due to positive tests, as confirmed by Arsenal on Twitter.
Shortly after publishing their starting XI, which some fans argued was overly strong due to the inclusion of Ben White and Martin Odegaard, Arsenal replied to their own tweet and wrote: “Lokonga, Mari and Chambers all miss tonight’s game after testing positive for COVID”.
Centre-backs Mari and Chambers being unavailable could well have been a major factor behind Mikel Arteta’s decision to start with White, who had played every minute of Arsenal’s last 15 Premier League games.
Despite London seeming to be the UK’s chief Covid hotspot right now, the Emirates Stadium looked pretty full as Tuesday’s game kicked off.
Arsenal and Sunderland had not faced each other in a senior game since May 2017, when an Alexis Sanchez double sealed a 2-0 win for the Gunners.
Chambers’s positive Covid test result will have come as an untimely blow to the 26-year-old, who likely would have featured against Sunderland had he been available.
He played the full 90 minutes in the last round of the EFL Cup and even found the net that night as Arsenal beat Leeds United 2-0.
But that was his last first-team appearance.
? Lokonga, Mari and Chambers all miss tonight's game after testing positive for COVID
Maitland-Niles misses tonight with illness (not COVID)
Get well soon, lads ??
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) December 21, 2021