Arsenal confirmed that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Willian, and Alex Runarsson all tested positive for COVID-19 last week ahead of the Brentford match. Aubameyang and Lacazette were likely slated to start, and the other two would probably have been on the bench. All four were (obviously) not available.
The timeline is still a bit unclear, but it appears as if the match was almost postponed (at least to wait on test results) because the entire Arsenal traveling squad and staff had to be tested at the 11th hour before the match could proceed.
Aubameyang, Lacazette, Runarsson and Willian all tested positive for Covid as Arsenal squad has fresh tests on morning of Brentford game.— Mark Mann-Bryans (@MarkyMBryans) August 19, 2021
The fixture was never in doubt and Arsenal did not ask for a postponement.
Aubameyang and Willian could yet feature against Chelsea.
Aubameyang has since tested negative and may be available on Sunday against Chelsea. He was briefly at London Colney yesterday but has yet to train with the team this week, per Chris Wheatley. Willian is “adhering to protocols,” and “his health and fitness will be monitored and assessed ahead of Sunday’s match,” so it would appear as if he has a chance to be available as well.
Alexandre Lacazette and Alex Runarsson are both still recovering and will not be available this weekend.
For what it’s worth, I (and many others) thought that positive COVID tests might have been why the players were held out so late and suddenly, but I did not want to speculate openly about such a serious matter. I’m glad that according to Arsenal’s team news and the reports online all four players seem to be recovering.
Remember, COVID-19 is still very much a part of our lives even if it has faded into the background for some. Please continue to take all the precautions recommended by your local health authority and get vaccinated if it is available to you.