Mikel Arteta has tested positive for COVID-19 and will not be on the sideline for the New Year’s Day match against Manchester City, Arsenal announced today. Arteta is currently isolating per government regulations. If he tests negative on lateral flow (rapid) tests on day 6 and day 7 of his isolation, he may return to the club, meaning that he could be back on the sidelines for the Carabao Cup semifinal against Liverpool on January 6th.
It’s the second time Mikel Arteta has had COVID-19. His positive test back in March 2020 played a large role in the decision to shut down the Premier League for three months. He is the third manager to test positive during the festive period — Patrick Vieira and Steven Gerrard both recently missed matches because of positive tests.
Arteta is the latest positive test at Arsenal. Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Calum Chambers, and Cedric Soares all missed the Boxing Day match against Norwich with positive tests. Sambi Lokonga and Pablo Mari returned to the bench for the Norwich match after their COVID absences. There were also recently an unspecified number of positive tests among the backroom staff at the club.
To my knowledge, Arteta has never publicly said that he has been vaccinated, but the way he spoke back in September about the Arsenal players who, at that time, were not getting vaccinated strongly suggests that he has been jabbed.
We wish him a speedy, uneventful recovery.