Gabriel Magalhaes will miss Arsenal’s next three matches as he is currently self-isolating after coming into close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus.
The Brazilian centre-back has been a key player for Mikel Arteta’s side this season after joining in a £23.1 million deal from Lille in September.
But Arsenal have been dealt a fresh blow as the 23-year-old has been ruled out of their clash with Chelsea on Boxing Day.
And the self-isolation period means he will also be absent for the Gunners’ Premier League fixtures against Brighton on December 29 and West Brom on January 2.
Arsenal have also confirmed that Willian and David Luiz have both missed the match against Chelsea due to illness, but both Brazilians have tested negative for coronavirus.
‘David and Willian were feeling unwell but they both tested negative but following the protocols we kept them away,’ Arteta said before Arsenal’s clash with Chelsea.
‘With Gabriel has was in touch with someone who tested positive [for Covid-19] so following the protocols as well he needs to be out.
‘It is what it is. In this Covid world this can happen to any team. It has happened to us in a really bad time but that’s the reason we have other players who will jump on to the pitch and fight.’
Emile Smith Rowe and Gabriel Martinelli were both handed surprise starts against Chelsea but Arteta believes the duo fully justify their selection. ‘They play because they deserve to play,’ said the Arsenal manager.
Emile has been training really well. The games that he’s played in the Europa League and the other day when he came on [against Manchester City in the Carabao Cup] he looked really sharp.
‘He gives us something different, he’s got different qualities to every other midfielder. ‘It’s the same with Gabi. He had to come off the other day [against Man City] with a bad kick. But we need him.’