Search icon


15th Jan 2022

Tottenham issue angry response after Arsenal match postponed

Daniel Brown

It’s fair to say that Spurs are less than impressed with the decision

Tottenham Hotspur have released a statement in response to the Premier League’s decision to postpone the north London derby following Arsenal’s request.

The game – originally scheduled to be played at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday – was postponed because the Gunners do not have enough available players to field a side.

Considering this, the Premier League accepted Arsenal’s request to call of the game, much to the anger and annoyance of Spurs.

“The decision is a result of a combination of Covid-19, existing and recent injuries and players on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations,” said the Premier League.

Arsenal are without Thomas Partey, Mohamed Elneny, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe due to Africa Cup of Nations duty, while Cedric Soares, Bukayo Saka and Calum Chambers all picked up injuries in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg draw against Liverpool on Thursday.

Granit Xhaka is also suspended after he was sent off in the first half at Anfield, while Martin Odegaard missed the game after testing positive for Covid-19.

The Gunners said they “reluctantly” requested the postponement of the north London derby and were “disappointed” that the game had to be called off, however, it becomes the 21st top-flight game to be postponed this season because of Covid.

Following the Premier League’s lengthy explanation as to why the game was called off, Spurs released their own statement – criticising the decision to accept the Gunners’ request.

It read: “We regret to announce that Sunday’s north London derby against Arsenal has been postponed.

“This follows an application from Arsenal to the Premier League on the basis of a combination of COVID, existing and recent injuries and players on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations.

“We are extremely surprised that this application has been approved.

“We ourselves were disqualified from the European Conference League after a significant number of COVID cases meant we needed to reschedule a fixture and our application to move our Leicester fixture was not approved – only for it to be subsequently postponed when Leicester applied.

“The original intention of the guidance – here – was to deal with player availability directly affected by COVID cases, resulting in depleted squads that when taken together with injuries would result in the club being unable to field a team.

“We do not believe it was the intent to deal with player availability unrelated to COVID.

“We may now be seeing the unintended consequences of this rule.

“It is important to have clarity and consistency on the application of the rule.

“Yet again fans have seen their plans disrupted at unacceptably short notice.

“We shall once again send food deliveries to the local food banks to avoid unacceptable waste.

“We are sincerely sorry for our fans – some of whom will have travelled great distances.”

Current Premier League rules say a club must play a game if they have 13 outfield players and one goalkeeper available, and it appears that Spurs are incredibly frustrated with the decision to call off their fixture, especially considering that Arsenal played on Thursday. 

Spurs defender Eric Dier took to social media to react to the news, appearing to make reference to the number of available players with a GIF.

The 28-year-old is not the only person to question the Premier League’s handling of recent Covid-19 postponements, with Gary Neville also speaking on the topic – although Ian Wright was quick to disagree with his comments.

Related links: