Arsenal's scheduled meeting with Tottenham in the Premier League on January 16 has been postponed following an official request from the Gunners.
A slew of absences for Mike Arteta's side due to injuries, Covid-19, the Africa Cup of Nations and a red card to midfielder Granit Xhaka during Thursday's Carabao Cup clash with Liverpool resulted in the Gunners requesting that the game be moved.
And the Premier League has now confirmed that they have cancelled Sunday's fixture.
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What's been said?
A statement from the Premier League confirming the postponement read: "Following a request from Arsenal FC, the Premier League Board met today and regrettably agreed to postpone the club’s away fixture against Tottenham Hotspur, due to be played at 4:30pm on Sunday 16 January.
"With Arsenal having fewer than the required number of players available for the match (13 outfield players and one goalkeeper), the Board accepted the club’s application. 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. All clubs are able to apply for a postponement if Covid-19 infections are a factor in their request.
"The League apologises for the inconvenience and disruption caused to supporters who would have attended or watched the game - we are fully aware that postponements disappoint clubs and fans. The League aims to provide as much clarity as possible, but unfortunately postponements sometimes have to be made at short notice, as safety is our priority. Where possible, the League will endeavour to keep supporters updated if games become at risk.
"The Premier League’s postponement rules are designed to protect the wellbeing of players and staff, while maintaining the sporting integrity of the competition. Club requests are assessed on a case-by-case basis, based on existing rules and adapted Covid-19 postponement guidance, implemented in light of the Omicron variant. The Board examines a number of factors, including the ability of a club to field a team; the status, severity and potential impact of Covid-19; and the ability of the players to safely prepare for and play the match. The detail within all applications is scrutinised by the League’s specialist staff before the Board makes its decision."
What have Tottenham said?
Tottenham expressed their surprise at the decision to call off the game in a statement released on Saturday.
"We regret to announce that Sunday’s north London derby against Arsenal has been postponed," the statement read.
"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 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."
Xhaka's dismissal against Liverpool left the Gunners with few options in midfield, with only youngsters Charlie Patino and Albert Sambi Lokonga at Mikel Arteta's disposal.
Thomas Partey (Afcon), Mohamed Elneny (Afcon), Martin Odegaard (illness) and Emile Smith Rowe (injury) are all absent as things stand, with Xhaka set for a three-game ban for his foul on Diogo Jota.