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Arsenal have formally asked the Premier League to postpone Sunday's North London derby meeting with Tottenham. 

They say they've taken the step "reluctantly", but a mixture of COVID-19 cases and Africa Cup of Nations absentees have forced their hand.

The request comes less than 24-hours after the Gunners held out for a 0-0 draw with Liverpool in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final at Anfield.

While Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was able to name a strong starting XI, his subs bench was peppered with teenagers like Mika Biereth, Charlie Patino and Salah Oulad M'Hand.

In response, the Premier League say their "Board will meet tomorrow to review the application and inform both clubs and their fans of its decision."

But, according to The Athletic's Jack Pitte-Brooke, Spurs are far from supportive of Arsenal's request. It comes at the end of a week when the Gunners sent both Ainsley Maitland-Niles (Roma) and Folarin Balogun (Middlesbrough) out on loan.

Prior to Arsenal making their case to the Premier League, Arteta was asked if he had any doubts that the game would go ahead.

"I don’t know," he replied, "it’s a possibility in every game from our side, the opponent’s side because the amount of issues that every team is having. We’re trying to prepare for the game as usual, it is what it is."

He conceded that Bukayo Saka is a doubt, having been withdrawn in the second half of the Liverpool game on Thursday night.

Granit Xhaka is suspended for the game at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium following his red card at Anfield, which has made life even harder for Arteta, "Yes but we came here and we are missing nine or ten players already.

"Listen we don’t know what to expect the next day so we cannot be looking at that and all the time having to fall into that and use it as an excuse.

"We have to play games it is our job, that’s the situation we are in. It can change and it can change to be in a more difficult position.

"The team has to rebuild and we have players that are with a desire to play and on Sunday we’ll do the same thing."

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