Following the COVID-19 diagnosis of Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Chelsea player Callum Hudson-Odoi, the Premier League has joined countless other sports leagues across the globe as the FA announced this morning that they will be postponing play across the Premier League, EFL, and WSL effective immediately.
It was only a matter of time before the pandemic forced the European soccer community to shudder its activities. The proliferation of the COVID-19 virus, also known as the Coronavirus, has sent shock waves across the globe, most notably in the sporting community. The widespread postponements and cancellations make sense - the first step to mitigating a potentially lethal contagion is limiting contact between people, and sporting events could become potential ground zeroes for catastrophic outbreaks.
While the Premier League is following the lead of many other sports league by postponing play, it has not yet announced whether it will consider canceling the remainder of the season in its entirety. Their initial estimation is that they aim to resume play in April, but this is contingent on the virus becoming contained. At this rate, it is safer to assume that this season will be a wash as there appears to be no ready treatment in sight.
What does this mean for Arsenal? That remains to be seen. Arteta’s diagnosis has forced the entirety of the first team into a 14 day period of self isolation, which will undoubtedly affect their match readiness should they all be cleared to play. The reality, however, is that the potential for multiple players to be infected is high. If that becomes the case, Arsenal will have no other course of action than to scrap their season in order to rehabilitate their players and prevent further complications.
As this virus continues to proliferate, it continues to shape our daily lives. We might be temporarily inconvenienced, but postponing the season is a smart move. However, cancelling it outright might become the most prudent course of action. If that means that the season finishes with teams finishing in their current positions, then so be it. While we would all love to see Arsenal finish strong and contend for a spot in next year’s Champions League, the risk just isn’t worth it.
Stay tuned for updates as this story continues to develop.