Arsenal cancel pre-season tour to USA as Covid wreaks havoc with Mikel Arteta's plans



Posted Wednesday, July 21, 2021 by Express.co.uk

Arsenal have been forced to withdraw from their pre-season tour to the USA following multiple positive tests for coronavirus at the club.

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Arsenal have cancelled their trip to the USA due to a number of positive Covid tests at the club. Arsenal were set to fly out to Florida this week for the second part of their pre-season preparations. However, they have pulled the plug after players from both the first-team and the academy tested positive.

Arsenal were set to play Inter Milan in the Florida Cup on July 25 before facing either Everton or Millonarios on July 28.

However, Mikel Arteta's plans have been severely disrupted ahead of an important campaign for the Gunners.

Arsenal began their pre-season with a training camp in Scotland last week.

They lost 2-1 to Hibernian last Tuesday before a 2-2 draw with Scottish Premiership champions Rangers on Saturday.

Arsenal cancel pre-season tour to USA as Covid wreaks havoc with Mikel Arteta's plans
Arsenal news: The Gunners have cancelled their pre-season tour to the USA (Image: GETTY)

The players were back at the club's London Colney training base on Monday.

New signing Albert Sambi Lokonga was put through his paces with his new team-mates in training.

Sambi Lokonga was set to travel to Florida, with the hope he could feature in an Arsenal shirt for the first time.

But that will no longer be the case and Arsenal will remain in the UK.

Following the draw with Rangers, Arteta was hopeful of having some more "new faces" on the tour to USA.

The Spaniard said: "Now a little bit of recovery. We trained really hard, played two games, and now we're going to be travelling to America in the next week.

"We didn't have any injuries which is really positive in the first week.

"We're going to have some new faces arriving probably, so very positive."

Arteta is yet to have a full pre-season during his time in charge at Arsenal.

He was appointed as head coach midway through the 2019/20 campaign and the disruption of the coronavirus pandemic limited his preparations ahead of his first full season in charge last summer.

The former Arsenal captain outlined what he wanted to achieve from pre-season before the USA tour was cancelled.

"A few aspects," he said. "Obviously the physical aspect is very important.

"After five weeks, the players need to get in good shape and the best possible condition to compete at the levels that the Premier League requires.

"Then mentally, we need to prepare the team with the ideas that we have, with the values that we have, with the ambition that we want to take into the league.

"Third, to get the cohesion of the team right, the understanding of the game, what we are looking for, our game model, our principles, and how we're going to develop that in the next five weeks to get to the Premier League in the best possible stage."

Arsenal will play Chelsea on August 1 and Tottenham on August 8 in their final two friendlies before the Premier League opener against Brentford on August 13.

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