It comes as a blow to Arsenal in what was otherwise an almost perfect evening in Yorkshire, as the Gunners thrashed Leeds 4-1 to cement their place in the top four.
Gabriel Martinelli grabbed a brace before Bukayo Saka made it 3-0 before half time, and Emile Smith Rowe came off the bench to add a fourth minutes after Raphinha pulled one back from the spot.
The win was slightly marred by the suspected injury of Tomiyasu, and another star is now ruled out as Covid cases surge once more.
Arteta had already confirmed before kick-off that Albert Sambi Lokonga had missed out after testing positive, and at full time the Spaniard confirmed that Pablo Mari would also be isolating.
Arsenal’s match against Leeds was the only game to take place on Saturday due to rising cases amongst the Premier League, and the Gunners followed Manchester United in shutting down their training ground to prioritise safety.
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When asked about his decision to temporarily close London Colney, Arteta said: “Pure precaution because we had some cases in the staff and we wanted to prevent any issues.
“Everybody we have seen around us, when they have a few cases the cases have risen.
We wanted to protect our people and Gary [O’Driscoll] and the medical staff made the right call, to try to close it for a day, stay away from the place, make sure that all the tests from everybody were negative and make sure that when we were back, everybody was safe.
“We had another player, as well Pablo has Covid, so unfortunately they [Mari and Lokonga] will be out.”
Another player Arsenal fans feared may be out for the near future was Tomiyasu, as he was substituted shortly after the hour mark following a knock sustained against Leeds, but Arteta gave an encouraging update.
“No it was more a muscular issue,” Arteta explained. “Obviously, he’s got a big load on him.
“He’s played every single minute since he joined us and even this week he’s been a little bit struggling. So we decided to take him off, he wasn’t 100% confident to continue in the game and hopefully he’s not injured.”
Tomiyasu has been excellent since making the £16million move from Serie A side Bologna on deadline day this summer, and the Japanese international has become a key member of Arteta’s back line, making the right-back position his own.
With a heavy festive period, precaution must be taken to keep players fit, so Arteta will be hoping that it is nothing serious, and that the defender will be back in action as soon as possible.
Worry for Chelsea as Timo Werner admits ‘incredible’ star can ‘choose where he goes’
Chelsea forward Timo Werner admits compatriot Antonio Rudiger can ‘choose where he goes’ as the player’s contract saga rumbles on.
The centre-back is attracting interest from European heavyweights Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid due to his contract situation. He will become a free agent in the summer as things stand.
According to Sky Sports, Rudiger is ‘in no rush’ to sort out a pre-contract agreement with one of those three teams.
Bild journalist Christian Falk has given Blues fans a promising update by claiming Rudiger’s priority is to stay in west London.
But supporters will be worrying about the star defender’s future until a formal announcement is made.
Team-mate Werner has now weighed in on the situation, as well as that of Andreas Christensen. Rudiger’s defensive partner is also out of contract come the end of the season.
“I would be happy if they stay,” Werner told Sky Germany (via the Daily Mirror).
“They can improve every team. There are still a lot of good central defenders [for other teams to buy]!”
Timo Werner hails ‘incredible’ team-mate
On Rudiger, Werner added: “He plays incredible. As a free agent he could choose where he goes!”
Rudiger has been one of Chelsea’s best performers over the last 12 months. He has reached a new level since the arrival of Thomas Tuchel last January.
The Berlin-born star has only been on the losing side three times in the Premier League this term. He has popped up with goals in the 3-0 victories over Tottenham and Leicester, while also registering two assists in December’s win against Leeds.
Rudiger originally cost £31.5million when joining from Serie A outfit Roma back in July 2017. His value sits at that same fee, according to transfermarkt.
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Alan Shearer slams Tuchel comments
Chelsea were left frustrated on Tuesday night as they dropped points against Brighton away from home.
The Champions League holders went ahead through Hakim Ziyech in the first half, despite his goal coming against the run of play.
But they could not hold on for all three points as Adam Webster equalised in the 60th minute.
During a post-match interview, Tuchel said his players looked ‘tired’ and need ‘some days off’.
But former striker Shearer doesn’t agree. He said on DAZN: “[I] don’t accept that, I’m not having that.
“I get it’s been a tough time for every football club in the world, they’ve all had very difficult circumstances, as has everyone, not just football.
“But he’s got a bench tonight that’s worth £220million. [Mateo] Kovacic, [Kai] Havertz, Werner, [Christian] Pulisic.
“[Tuchel] left [Mason] Mount out on Saturday, brought Mount back in tonight. That performance, certainly going forward, was not a tired performance.”
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Newcastle lodge Lingard offer Man Utd hoped for, but West Ham, Tottenham could be the real winners
Newcastle have made a formal approach to sign Jesse Lingard that is to Manchester United’s liking, but West Ham or Tottenham could yet be the true winner, per multiple reports.
Lingard, 29, has been afforded a paltry 88 minutes of league action this term. His sparkling loan spell with West Ham last season suggested he might be given a chance back at Old Trafford. However, neither Ole Gunnar Solskjaer or Ralf Rangnick saw fit to up Lingard’s game-time.
As such, and with just six months remaining on his contract, a January exit is looking increasingly likely.
Newcastle, West Ham and Tottenham have all shown interest. Now, according to the Times, it is Newcastle that have made the first move.
They report the Magpies have made a ‘formal approach’ to sign the forward. Newcastle would reportedly prefer a permanent deal, though could be willing to settle for a loan move. To that end, they are ‘prepared to pay a £2m’ loan fee.
That will be music to the ears of Man Utd, along with the fact Newcastle are reportedly willing to cover 100 percent of Lingard’s wages.
Newcastle offer ideal for Man Utd, but not Lingard
Another tick in the column comes from Newcastle’s position in the table. The Magpies are no threat to Man Utd’s aims this season. Losing Lingard to West Ham or Tottenham, however, would strengthen a direct rival for fourth spot.
However, according to Caught Offside, a deal isn’t necessarily straightforward.
Citing talkSPORT’s Alex Crook, the outlet note Lingard’s preference is to return to London and link back up with David Moyes at West Ham.
The outlet stated both the Hammers and Spurs remain interested in acquiring Lingard. However, neither are noted to be in the mix for a loan deal at present. Instead, Tottenham specifically are seeking a free agent pick-up in the summer.
According to the MEN, that opens the door to Lingard joining Newcastle on loan this window. An impressive stint similar to the one that lit up West Ham could then see him move to either West Ham or Tottenham as a free agent in the summer – assuming Newcastle fail to negotiate an option to buy.
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Anthony Martial exit finally in sight
Meanwhile, Manchester United have finally found a taker for Anthony Martial with talks already underway at securing the unhappy striker a move away from Old Trafford.
That’s according to Calciomercato, who claims the Serie A giants are intensifying their efforts to sign the Frenchman. They report that talks are already well underway between Martial’s agent Philippe Lamboley and officials at Juve.
Furthermore, it’s reported that Martial has given his ‘total willingness’ to ‘start again’ in Turin after a difficult season so far.
United, for their part, will inform Juventus of the same terms they told Sevilla. They want any suitor to pick up the entirity of Martial’s wages – some €7.5m a season (£120,000-a-week). In addition, United are demanding a €5m loan fee for the player to see them through until the end of the season.
And finally, the Red Devils are reportedly willing to offer Juventus the chance to see Martial before opting for a permanent deal. As such, his loan fee includes a ‘right to buy’ – giving Juventus first refusal – as opposed an ‘obligation to buy’.
Calciomercato, however, does report that Juventus’ finances are stretched and they may need to sell before financing the deal.
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