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Arsenal’s preparation for Manchester City hampered by false positive COVID-19 test

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Three players missed three days of training because of what appears to be a false positive.

Brighton & Hove Albion v Arsenal FC - Premier League Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

This morning, David Ornstein reported that Arsenal had a player test positive for COVID-19 in the run-up to the match against Manchester City. Two teammates had spent enough time with him that they had to isolate as well. All three players missed training on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday ahead of the June 17th match.

Arsenal suspected that the test was a false positive because the player was not exhibiting symptoms and a review of their movements for contract tracing purposes didn’t raise any red flags. The club conducted private tests that came back negative. The players were not allowed to return to training, however, until the official tests conducted by the Premier League on Monday came back negative on Tuesday.

Arsenal have not disclosed which player tested positive nor the two players who were in close enough contact with him that they had to isolate as well. All three players were involved in the Manchester City match.

I don’t really care to know which players it was, and I’d ask that we don’t speculate / rumormonger in the comments. It’s private information. If the players involved want to let the public know, fine. But until then, let’s leave it be.

It goes without saying that the health and safety of the players, staff, and everybody else involved in Project Restart comes first. Thankfully, it was a false positive, and nobody at the club has a new case. It’s an important reminder that the virus is still out there and is still infecting people, even if in this particular case, nobody was sick.

Realistically, Arsenal weren’t likely to get a result against Manchester City. They needed everything to go their way and to get lucky to have a shot. As we know, that didn’t happen. Granit Xhaka got hurt inside five minutes, Pablo Mari saw his season end before the 25 minute mark, and David Luiz braindeaded multiple times. And now we can add “have players miss multiple trainings because of false positive tests” to that list of misfortunes that didn’t go Arsenal’s way.

It’s nearly a week after the match, and we’ve just now found out about guys missing three days of training in the run-up. Remember, we’re almost always working with imperfect information when we’re playing armchair-manager and speculating about why something did or didn’t happen and why a guy did or didn’t play.