Mikel Arteta’s strict new plan for Arsenal stars after latest positive Covid-19 test

Arsenal have endured a torrid start to the Premier League season, losing their opening three games, and they have missed numerous players who have tested positive for Covid-19

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  • 09:29, 10 Sep 2021
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Mikel Arteta is prepared to limit the involvement of Arsenal players who are refusing to get vaccinated against coronavirus.

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The Gunners have endured a torrid start to the Premier League season, losing their opening three games, and they have missed numerous players who have tested positive for Covid-19.

An outbreak in August saw Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Willian and Alex Runarsson ruled out.

Although the vaccine status of most individual players is unknown, Arteta insists the majority of his squad have received both doses.

But Xhaka declined to have the jab and tested positive while away on international duty with Switzerland last week.

Granit Xhaka became the latest Arsenal player to test positive for coronavirus
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Image:
AFP via Getty Images)

Arteta has been left aghast by the 28-year-old and has threatened to take action if players continue to snub the advice of club and government medical professionals, putting their teammates at risk.

"Players will be limited in certain aspects if they don’t have the vaccine because we don’t want to expose ourselves to the virus," said the Spaniard.

"If they are travelling or socialising in certain places and they are not vaccinated, the risk increases a lot and we don’t want any of that within our group because the team will pay the price.

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"We are trying to explain the reasons why we believe it’s the right thing to do and make sure that everyone understands all the facts.

"Some players don’t want to be vaccinated because maybe it’s a health issue, maybe it’s a contradiction that he has, his beliefs or the way he has been educated.

"But we want what is best for the club by trying to minimise the risk of any player contracting the virus and passing it on to anyone else."

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"Granit needs to stay in his country until Saturday and as soon as he can be released and is OK to travel, he will be back with us. But the vaccine is not an obligation and we have to respect that."

Arteta was the first Premier League figure in the public eye to catch coronavirus in March 2020, prior to the Premier League's three-month suspension.

But his experience of Covid-19 has not been enough to convince Xhaka to get vaccinated, with the Swiss Football Association's head of communications confirming the midfielder turned it down.

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"Granit Xhaka was not vaccinated," said Adrian Arnold. "He’s a player who isn’t vaccinated. We left this up to each player. It’s a personal decision of each player – just like any other person in Switzerland.

"We have issued a recommendation that everyone vaccinates. But he decided for himself personally. And it is also his right not to be vaccinated."

Arsenal return to action on Saturday afternoon for an encounter with Norwich City at the Emirates.

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