There is some good news today from Arsenal. Manager Mikel Arteta has revealed that he has completely recovered from the coronavirus. The Spaniard began feeling sick soon after it was announced on March 10th that Olympiakos and Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis had tested positive for the virus. Marinakis had come in to contact with Arsenal players and staff on February 27th during the second leg of the Gunners’ Europa League match with the Greek side at Emirates Stadium.
Arteta tested positive for coronavirus on March 12th, which likely contributed significantly to the league putting the season on hold. In a television interview with Spain’s La Sexta, Arteta spoke of his illness and how it came about.
Everything happened very fast. I got a call from the board of directors after training while I was in my car and they told me the president of Olympiakos had tested positive and everyone who had been in contact was at risk. I went on to tell them that I wasn’t feeling well and that we had a situation because we had lots of players that had been in contact with them. We had a game against Manchester City the next day and obviously we couldn’t put lots of people at risk without saying anything.
That match at the Etihad was called off, but until Arteta tested positive, the Premier League looked as if it wanted to play the match week. As soon as Arteta tested positive, however, anyone who had been in contact with him had to self-isolate and the dominoes fell extremely quickly. Thus far, no other Arsenal players have tested positive, but other Premier League players and footballers around Europe have.
Speaking about the illness itself, Arteta explained that, “It took me three or four days to start feeling better, with more energy, to leave the symptoms behind. I feel that I have recovered.”
Arsenal had originally scheduled a return to training for this week, but that has now been put on hold indefinitely. The players have been given fitness and nutrition plans from the team and have been in contact with Arteta and the other coaches to stay sharp. The club put out the following notice:
We are clear it would be inappropriate and irresponsible to ask the players to come back at this time. Therefore our men’s first team, women and academy players are all remaining at home. Stay at home and save lives.
In a class move, the club also guaranteed that it will continue to pay “casual workers” up to at least April 30th.