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Exclusive: Ben White ‘doubtful for London derby’

Ben White’s inclusion in the Arsenal squad for Sunday’s London derby is looking unlikely.

Gooner Talk understands that Ben White arrived at the Arsenal Training Centre at the same time as the rest of the squad but then was spotted leaving the London Colney training complex just 20 minutes later.

Arsenal’s COVID-19 testing has intensified since the club’s last-minute fiasco after Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Willian and Alex Runarsson tested positive just 48 hours before Arsenal kicked off their Premier League season away from home against Brentford.

The 23-year-old was not in any of the photos from Saturday’s training session either.

Arsenal’s protocol before the Coronavirus pandemic is for the squad to stay at the team hotel in Angel overnight before the game. A source has told Gooner Talk that Ben White did not get off the team coach at the hotel, earlier this afternoon, with the rest of the squad.

The club have had a protocol in place to stay at a hotel 10 minutes away from the Emirates before a home game ever since Arsene Wenger was in charge and those that arrive at the hotel will be the players that are included by Mikel Arteta in the 21-man-squad for Sunday’s London derby against Chelsea.

Rob Holding and Pablo Mari were the centre-backs that were training together according to Saturday’s session pictures and it is looking likely that that will be the partnership for the visit of Thomas Tuchel’s European champions this weekend, as Ben White’s absence looks more likely by the hour.

Arsenal
Mikel Arteta speaking to Sky Sports after Arsenal’s London derby victory last season ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Getty Images

Mikel Arteta talked during the week in his pre-match press conference about the inconvenience the hours before Arsenal’s Brentford opener caused and how he was surprised that the fixture was not postponed in light of four positive COVID-19 tests for The Gunners.

Despite the reports about Ben White’s absence in Saturday’s training session being unconfirmed, Rob Holding and Pablo Mari were the centre-backs that were training together according to Saturday’s session pictures and it is looking likely that that will be the partnership for the visit of Thomas Tuchel’s European champions this weekend, as Ben White’s absence looks more likely by the hour.

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