Arsenal won’t use Covid chaos as excuse for loss of form, Mikel Arteta insists

Arsenal will not use the ongoing disruption caused by Covid as an excuse for any dip in form, according to manager Mikel Arteta.

The Gunners have been one of the clubs who have fared best amid the latest outbreak sweeping through the Premier League, decimating the fixture schedule along the way.

Their 4-1 win at Leeds was the only top-flight game to survive on Saturday as the victory ensured Arsenal would be in the top four at Christmas.

They host League One outfit Sunderland in the last eight of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night, with Arteta stressing the need to roll with the punches and have plans in place to deal as well as possible with any Covid issues.

Asked whether he has had to take a different approach in recent weeks, Arteta replied: “Have a really positive approach and your mindset ready that unpredictable things are going to happen – and stop complaining about everything that happens.

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“Then you will find excuses. We can find excuses for everything. We know what is going to happen, we know bad news will come probably, so we have to expect it and try to prevent it if we can with all the protocols we have.

“But we have to be prepared as well with Plan B, C and D.”

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel led criticism of the Premier League over the weekend, accusing it of risking the health and safety of his players after the Covid-hit Blues failed in a bid to have their match at Wolves on Sunday postponed.

Have a really positive approach and your mindset ready that unpredictable things are going to happen – and stop complaining about everything that happens

On Monday the Premier League decided against halting the season or postponing the fixtures between Boxing Day and new year.

Arsenal face a trip to Norwich on 26 December before hosting Wolves and Manchester City over the next six days.

“I think it is very difficult for everybody,” Arteta added. “It is very difficult for yourself and the way you have to do your work, it is very difficult for (chief executive) Vinai Venkatesham because he is dealing with a lot of meetings, a lot of responsibilities to try to defend the interest of the club in the right way.

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“It is difficult for the players, for myself, for the staff because we don’t know really who is going to be available to do what, and we are all trying to help each other and get the best out of the situation.

“We have to respect the decisions I made because we have to believe that those decisions are based first of all on the well-being of all of us, that we are involved, and secondly because we have to protect the game, and that is important as well.”

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