Depleted Arsenal request Spurs north London derby postponement

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The Gunners are scheduled to make the short trip to do battle with their fierce rivals at Tottenham Hotspur three days after holding Liverpool to a goalless draw in the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final.

Granit Xhaka will be suspended after he was sent off at Anfield on Thursday, while Cedric Soares and Bukayo Saka joined the injury list.

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Arsenal have four players away on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations, while another four missed the game on Merseyside due to injury and Martin Odegaard tested positive for COVID-19 prior to the game.

Head coach Mikel Arteta suggested in a press conference on Friday that Arsenal will struggle to fulfil the fixture against Antonio Conte’s side.

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Arsenal confirmed later in the day they have requested for the match to be rearranged.

A club statement said: “We can confirm we have made an application to the Premier League for the postponement of Sunday’s north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur.

“We have reluctantly taken this step but we have many players currently unavailable across our squad as a result of Covid, injuries and players away with their countries at AFCON.

“We will provide more information as soon as it’s available.”

In order for the encounter to not go ahead, Arsenal will need to prove they do not have 13 eligible outfield players and a goalkeeper among their first-team squad or “appropriately experienced Under-21 players”,

Arteta told the media: “We had concerns already before the match against Liverpool, and after the game we had some more issues.

“We haven’t been able to assess the squad yet because we couldn’t fly last night, so we just arrived to the training ground and all the boys are being looked after. So we don’t know.”

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