Arsenal have confirmed Brazilian defender Gabriel Magalhaes has tested positive for COVID-19, while also updating fans on the status of teammates David Luiz, Willian and Thomas Partey.
Each of the four missed the London derby with Chelsea, in which a depleted Gunners XI swept aside their rivals in a comfortable 3-1 victory. An Alexandre Lacazette penalty got things started, before a stunning free-kick from Granit Xhaka and a beautiful – if fortuitous – finish from Bukayo Saka put them out of sight.
All four absences had been confirmed in advance. The club announced that Gabriel had been isolating after coming into close contact with a positive case, while Willian and Luiz were out with an unrelated illness, and Partey continued his recovery from injury.
However, the club confirmed on Monday that Gabriel has tested positive for the virus, and will isolate for the next ten days, per government guidance, missing trips to Brighton and West Brom. They hope he will be back in time to face Newcastle on 9 January.
A club statement read: “Gabriel has tested positive for COVID-19 and is isolating according to UK Government and Premier League protocols. We will continue to monitor and support Gabriel, and we are hoping he will be available again after our next two matches.”
The club also confirmed that Luiz and Willian have recovered from their illnesses and have returned to training with their teammates. On Partey, they say he has ‘progressed well’ since picking up a thigh injury against Tottenham, and will be assessed daily ahead of a potential return.
The club did not commit to a date for the Ghanaian midfielder’s return.
Having Willian and Luiz back will come as a boost for the Gunners ahead of a key fortnight, but the duo may have to bide their time to return to the side. In their absence, the likes of Pablo Mari and Emile Smith Rowe took charge against Chelsea and will hope to retain their places for this week’s fixtures.
Mikel Arteta’s side face Brighton on Tuesday before their first fixture of 2021 at the Hawthorns four days later.