The Premier League decided to call the grudge match off following Arsenal’s controversial request, stating to not have enough squad members available to field a team.
The decision has outraged Tottenham, although precedent for such a decision has been set since December.
And earlier this week, Leicester City’s game at Everton was postponed for a second time, with the Premier League stating they accepted the Foxes’ application “due to COVID-19 cases, injuries and players on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations.”
Join the debate! Should the Premier League have forced the match to go ahead? Let us your thoughts below.
Earlier on Friday, Arteta had claimed that the Gunners’ intention was always to play but admitted that he was unsure whether the game, which could be crucial in the race to finish 4th and qualify for the Champions League, would go ahead.
“I don’t know, it’s difficult to say that with total honesty without assessing our players,” the Spaniard explained.
“What is today very unlikely, tomorrow is likely to happen. It’s gone the other way for us when we were ready to play a match and it was cancelled twice because the other team had issues so it can go both ways. But our intention is always to play.”
On the other hand, Spurs boss Antonio Conte revealed that his side had a host of injury issues of their own, saying: “For us, much more than other teams it’s very, very important to recover all the important players.
“Yeah, it’s life for us to recover these players. As you know very well, we have many, many injuries. And then there is always the Covid situation everyday, that you have to check.
“Sometimes you find a surprise. But we are preparing the game against Arsenal.”
(Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images))
“[Folarin] Balogun’s gone on loan, [Ainsley] Maitland-Niles has gone on loan, Xhaka’s got a red card – that’s not the fault of anybody else.
“We can’t be calling fixtures off. If it was purely down to Covid and extraordinary circumstances where there were 10 or 15 players out [it would be acceptable].
“But, we’re now talking about teams in the last few weeks where there’s no doubt they’ve been calling games off whether they think they’ve got the best squad or best team to win a game.”