Tottenham angered as derby postponed due to Arsenal's player shortage

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The Premier League agreed to postpone Sunday's north London derby, granting Arsenal's request amid absences due to COVID-19, injuries, and players on duty in the Africa Cup of Nations.

Premier League clubs can request a postponement if they have fewer than 13 outfield players and a goalkeeper available and if COVID-19 infections are a factor in their request.

The Gunners formally asked for the game to be rescheduled Friday because they had just 12 outfield players available for the match at Tottenham Hotspur. Martin Odegaard is Arsenal's only known player sidelined with COVID-19.

The north London derby is the 21st top-flight fixture postponed since Dec. 12 and Arsenal's second in less than two weeks.

Tottenham said they were "extremely surprised" by the ruling and called on the league to provide more clarity.

"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," the club wrote in a statement. "We do not believe it was the intent to deal with player availability unrelated to COVID."

Arsenal made the appeal after Cedric Soares and Bukayo Saka came off injured during Thursday's League Cup semifinal first leg at Liverpool. Granit Xhaka is suspended after picking up a straight red card in the goalless draw at Anfield, with Takehiro Tomiyasu and Emile Smith Rowe already out injured and Calum Chambers and Kieran Tierney carrying suspected knocks.

Four other players, including striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, are away at the Africa Cup of Nations. Additionally, Arsenal allowed Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Folarin Balogun to leave on loan earlier in the month.

On Friday, the league accepted Burnley's request to reschedule their tilt against Leicester City on Saturday because of a player shortage.

Tottenham angered as derby postponed due to Arsenal's player shortage
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