Arsenal have confirmed defender Gabriel is not included in the Gunners squad to take on Chelsea as he is self-isolating after coming into ‘close contact’ with the coronavirus, while David Luiz and Willian have missed out on illness unconnected.
The trio were left out of Mikel Arteta’s matchday squad for the London clash with Pablo Mari, Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith-Rowe being called up to make rare starts against the Blues on Boxing Day.
And the club confirmed that Luiz and Willian were kicked out of the squad after feeling sick and will now be closely watched, while Gabriel is in self-isolation after coming into close contact with a carrier of the virus.
Gabriel will now miss Arsenal’s next three games, meaning he won’t play Brighton & Hove Albion or West Bromwich Albion, while Luiz and Willian could face similar fates.
The duo will be tested again before the next round of matches, but their illness prevented them from participating against the Blues.
This means the ex-Chelsea couple were unable to line up against their former team in the Emirates as Arteta opted for youth in the form of Smith-Rowe and Martinelli in attack, while Mari is stepped back alongside Rob Holding and Kieran Tierney. .
Martinelli also played his part in Arsenal’s 4-1 defeat to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup midweek, and Smith-Rowe impressed in his brief appearance on the substitutes bench. Arteta is hopeful that Luiz and Willian produce negative test results and return to action soon, as he needs as many available players at his disposal as possible to get into the busy winter schedule.
The Gunners travel to Brighton next Tuesday, before heading to Sam Allardyce’s West Brom on Saturday night.