Arsenal endured a catastrophic start to the season after faltering in their opening Premier League game during a 2-0 defeat to newly-promoted Brentford.
The Championship play-off winners dominated the contest from start to finish, with Sergi Canos and Martin Norgaard netting the only goals of the game as the Gunners failed to convert any of their 22 shots on goal.
Hale End graduate Emile Smith Rowe and Scottish left-back Kieran Tierney appeared to be two of the few Arsenal players that actually turned up and The Daily Mail has revealed that the game was almost called off just hours before kick-off.
The report claims that the league’s curtain-raiser was just a few hours from being called off after the entire Arsenal squad were ordered to take Covid tests right before kick-off.
The Gunners‘ strike force consisting of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette both missed the contest through ‘illness’, but it is currently unclear if their absences were the reason for the Covid concern. Furthermore, Icelandic goalkeeper Alex Runarsson was also unavailable for the trip to east London.
football.london understands that the aforementioned Aubameyang and Lacazette remain doubts for this weekend’s clash with London rivals Chelsea.
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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta boasts an impressive record against the Blues, winning all three of his last three encounters against the current champions of Europe, with the Spaniard triumphing with a combined score of 6-2 across the last three contests.
However, Thomas Tuchel’s men will be boosted by the addition of Belgian frontman Romelu Lukaku, who is in-line to make his second debut for Chelsea during their highly-anticipated trip to the Emirates on Sunday.
The Belgian will be hoping to improve on his disastrous record against the so-called ‘top six’ as he has only scored three times against the Gunners in 17 encounters.