Arsenal v Man City: Match in pictures
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Arsenal have been given a boost with the news they will have boss Mikel Arteta back in the dugout if the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final with Liverpool goes ahead on Thursday evening. Arteta was forced to miss his side’s New Year’s Day Premier League clash with Manchester City after testing positive for COVID-19 last week.
According to the Evening Standard, the Spaniard is set to end his isolation period on Wednesday and return to the training ground to oversee his side’s preparations for the last four encounter.
The Gunners were sensational in Arteta’s absence on Saturday but were eventually defeated 2-1 by the runaway league leaders, despite taking a first half lead.
The clash at the Emirates Stadium is in doubt, however, after Liverpool made an official request for the match to be postponed, with the virus sweeping through their squad.
The Reds had to cancel their Tuesday training session as they were hit by a second outbreak.
First-team stars Roberto Firmino, Alisson and Joel Matip were all unavailable for Liverpool’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea on Sunday after contracting the virus.
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And boss Jurgen Klopp, who was also struck down, missed the encounter as he was forced to isolate away from Stamford Bridge. Klopp will likely be unable to return in time for Thursday’s clash if it goes ahead.
Liverpool will be without Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Naby Keita throughout January after the trio jetted off to Cameroon for the Africa Cup of Nations.
The Merseysiders could also be missing Harvey Elliott, Thiago Alcantara, Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino through injury for their clash with Arsenal and appear to be down to their bare bones.
Ahead of the Carabao Cup match, Liverpool released a club statement on Tuesday evening.
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“The Reds have formally requested to the EFL that the fixture is rescheduled after further suspected positive tests were registered among players and staff, allied to other factors impacting selection, including illness and injury,” it read.
“In response, the club halted preparations at the AXA Training Centre, meaning Tuesday’s first-team training session was cancelled.
“Among the considerations which led to today’s application to the EFL is the need for travelling supporters to be given as much notice as possible of any potential postponement.
“With no prospect of the current situation improving ahead of Thursday’s fixture and the potential for it to worsen, the club considers it both prudent and reasonable to ask for the fixture to be rescheduled.”
Liverpool secured their place in the semi-finals after overturning a 3-1 deficit against Leicester in the quarters to come out on top of an epic encounter courtesy of a penalty shootout.
Arsenal, meanwhile, reached the last four after thrashing League One side Sunderland 5-1 before Christmas.
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