Morning folks, brought to you today from the office in my house, as my business took the pre-emptive measure yesterday to have everybody home-based for the foreseeable future. It makes sense, but having worked in London for many years and being in the office yesterday, I can tell you that there was not a lot that had changed, other than a few more of those alcoholic gels being dotted around the place. Personally I’m just going to get on with my life, just from home, so that also includes going out in London on Saturday night but until then I’ll take all the right precautions to make sure my hands are clean, etc.
Sadly for Mikel Arteta, he’ll be stuck at home with re-runs of his Arsenal manager career so far, as the club confirmed yesterday evening that the manager had tested positive for Coronavirus. Obviously we all hope he gets well and that’s the primary message I saw on social media last night, but this throughs so much into question right now. The entire men’s first team squad now has to self-isolate for 14 days, as well as staff, with London Colney and Hale End all being closed and cleansed as a result of this positive announcement. It means the game this weekend is off and the Premier League will meet this weekend to decide what to do about the other fixtures.
There is only one answer – call everything off. Arsenal have a dedicated medical team who will have been doing everything they can to keep the staff from contracting the virus and yet they now have a member of staff who is a confirmed case. A weekend of football this weekend seems ludicrous in light of what has happened at Arsenal, but also at Chelsea too, now that Hudson-Odoi has also tested positive. It seems to me that the only sensible move will be to postpone games this weekend and that a two week shutdown in the Premier League should now go into effect.
Because if that doesn’t it will make a mockery of the competition in itself. Think about it; Arsenal and Chelsea players are now sat at home for two weeks. No training, not matches, no conditioning of their bodies. These are highly paid athletes who are at such an elite level of sport that a couple of week’s out without constant conditioning of their bodies effectively puts them back at least another two week’s I’d guess. So if the Premier League do go ahead with these fixtures not only are they running the risk of spreading this virus even quicker than it has so far, but they’re also effectively handicapping Arsenal and Chelsea if no other teams contract the virus. In the spirit of professional competition this has to all be given a two week break. Take the tough decision and get it done.
If that happens I would imagine that it means the Premier League is pushed back a few week’s too. There’s no way some of the teams currently battling on multiple fronts can play the games that they’re supposed to play. Two week’s from today is Friday 27th March. The next game after today was next Sunday against Sheffield United. That would mean that game gets postponed too. If we’re saying Arsenal can’t play a game until Saturday 28th March, that means they’d have to fit Brighton away, Sheffield United away, plus Southampton away which was also postponed because of the FA Cup. You’ve also got the Man City game that was postponed. In April there are four weekend’s, of which Arsenal play four games on 4th, 13th, 18th and 26th April. If they beat Sheffield United there was supposed to be a midweek game in there too. So you’re now talking about Arsenal playing four games additional on top of the games they are playing, plus an additional game in the FA Cup. Even if they played every Saturday and Wednesday there are only four Wednesday’s in the month. But I’ve not even counted the fact Man City have another game against Real Madrid to play, so that probably means the game against them would probably have to be moved right back into May. But if City are in the FA Cup and Champions League latter stages, all of those games will be taken up too.
This is all pointing in one direction and I think t hat is that the football season runs until the end of May, then the Euros have to be pushed back until next year, because other European teams will also be suffering with the same issues too.
Football needs to come together to sort a resolution to this issue and they need to do it now. We can’t hang around. Action needs to be taken, we need to reschedule things and then reconvene again in a few week’s time.
We should be talking about what we are going to do ahead of the Brighton game and looking at football as an escapism from things like coronavirus, but I think we all have to be realistic and take the necessary precautions to get over this as a collective.
Right, catch you all tomorrow, perhaps….Not sure what we’ll be talking about with all of the footballing world possibly grinding to a halt.