With the Premier League season on hold until April 30 at the earliest, the English top-flight's big names still managed to get their message across on Saturday.

The Premier League, along with the majority of sporting tournaments and events across the globe, is currently suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Many nations are in total or near-total lockdown, with people only allowed to leave their homes for essential trips and exercise.

Though there is no sport to keep people entertained, some of the biggest names – both players and managers – from the Premier League came together on Saturday at 1500 GMT to spread the message: "stay at home, save lives."

 

Using his official Twitter and Instagram accounts, Manchester City and England forward Raheem Sterling shared a video.

"We need to stay at home, let's help our NHS by staying home, only leave if you need food, medicine or exercise," Sterling said. "The NHS have been doing a fantastic job so let's help them continue doing their wonderful work."

He was also joined by his City team-mates Aymeric Laporte and Benjamin Mendy, as well as the club's ladies captain Steph Houghton.

Across the city, Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also offered his support to the campaign.

"Stay home, protect the NHS, save lives," the Norwegian said in a video posted to United's Twitter feed.

Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta tested positive for coronavirus on March 12 and, having now recovered, he also shared the message.

"I encourage everybody, please be responsible and stay at home as much as possible," the Spaniard said.

Meanwhile, Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard said: "To help save lives, you must stay home. Only leave home to buy essential food, medicine or for individual exercise and always stay two metres apart. This is an urgent message. Stay home, protect the NHS, save lives."

Premier League leaders Liverpool shared a graphic which read: "Stay home, protect the NHS, save lives."

Tottenham striker and England captain Harry Kane did not share a video, but wrote in a post on Twitter: "Saturday 3pm normally means football. But at the moment it's far more important everyone stays home. Do your bit. Protect the NHS, save lives."

Shkodran Mustafi is not thinking about his Arsenal future and has no problem with the issue moving down the club's priority list amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Germany international has just over a year remaining on his Gunners contract and has been back in favour since Mikel Arteta took over from Unai Emery.

At an uncertain time, Mustafi’s focus is on returning to the pitch before "questions" on his career are answered.

"We are in a situation where everyone is worried about the current situation and not so much about their personal future," Mustafi, 27, said to Sky Germany.

"First of all, I would like to play football again. That's how we all feel, we want to get back onto the pitch. There are so many question marks at the moment.

"Euro 2020 has been postponed. There are so many discussions whether we can even finish the season or not.

"So it is difficult to think about my personal future. None of us know what will happen next and when we can play again.

"So once we have overcome this difficult time and are back on the pitch, I can think about questions like that.

"At the moment I don't think about it. Also, the club has more important stuff to deal with right now than my future."

Mustafi had previously spoken positively about Arteta and praised the Arsenal boss' charisma as he began to get more regular appearances alongside David Luiz at the back.

"I can imagine continuing to play for him," he said of Arteta, who has recently recovered from COVID-19. 

"But we still don't know about the future and there are still many question marks."

Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta was scared about who he would infect after contracting coronavirus.

Arteta is "completely fine" after battling COVID-19, which has killed more than 24,000 people around the world and brought sport to a standstill.

The 38-year-old, who tested positive on March 12, said he was concerned about infecting those around him, including his players.

"I am feeling completely recovered [now], it's true I started having some symptoms when we got the phone call from the club to let us know that we might be exposed to the virus because of the owner of Olympiacos and in that moment… I don't know, I felt something within me, that I had it," Arteta told Arsenal Player.

"We had a game the following day against Manchester City, so I made a decision and called the doctor straight away and I asked him to drive home.

"I spoke with Raul [Sanllehi], Edu, Vinai [Venkatesham], Huss [Fahmy] and we set up a meeting together and I said, 'Listen, we have a couple of players that have been exposed. There is a massive risk there and as well I am the first one feeling the symptoms, very clear symptoms. So if that is the case, all of the players and the people related to the club who are in contact with me on a daily basis are exposed. So we cannot make that decision, we have to speak to the Premier League, to Manchester City and we have to make the decision pretty quickly.'

"Then you realise, 'Wow, everybody can be exposed here, this is very serious' and you start to think about the people that you've been in contact with and the other people that can be related to us. That's when a bit of fear comes."

Arteta said there was nothing unusual about how he felt while dealing with coronavirus.

"In terms of symptoms, it was a normal virus for me. I had three or four days which were a little bit difficult, with a bit of a temperature and a dry cough, and some discomfort in my chest. That was it," he said.

"The difficulty is that I have people at home, three kids as well and I was worried. My missus has been through it and my nanny's been through it. Thank God, the kids never got it. We are all completely fine now."

With the Premier League suspended due to coronavirus, Arsenal are ninth in the table, eight points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea.

Arsenal have revealed boss Mikel Arteta is "feeling much better" after his positive coronavirus diagnosis as the club begin to welcome back staff to their training ground.

The Gunners were forced to close their London Colney and Hale End bases for deep cleaning last week after confirming Arteta had contracted COVID-19.

However, the Spaniard is on the mend and is in regular contact with his playing squad and staff members, a number of who are continuing to self-isolate.

The Premier League announced on Thursday that the competition will not resume until April 30 at the earliest, but Arsenal are now gearing up for the resumption of training.

Providing an update on their official website, Arsenal said: "You can imagine that as this fast-moving situation has developed, we have been taking extensive steps to ensure we keep operating efficiently while protecting our players and staff. 

"Our training centres in London Colney and Hale End were closed for deep cleaning after Mikel's diagnosis with the virus but have now re-opened with a small workforce to maintain the facilities and training pitches.   
 
"A number of staff, including Mikel and the men's first-team squad, are currently isolating at home. We're pleased to say that Mikel is feeling much better. He's in good spirits, doing detailed planning with the coaches and speaking to the players regularly.

"The women's and academy teams are also currently staying at home. All our players are looking forward to getting back out on the training pitches as soon as the situation allows. 
 
"The players have been given specific training and dietary regimes to follow at home and are in daily contact with our coaches and support staff. As you will have seen from social media some of them are certainly embracing this changed new world."

It was originally decided the professional game in England would be suspended until April 3, with that date now extended until at least the end of next month.

Arsenal have given their full backing for that decision, adding: "You will have seen Thursday's announcement that the 2019-20 season will be extended indefinitely, and that the professional game is further postponed in England until at least April 30, 2020.

"We are fully supportive of this decision which was endorsed at Thursday morning's Premier League shareholder meeting. Of course, we all want to be back playing football as soon as we possibly can, but only when it is safe to be doing so."

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is "feeling better already" after his positive coronavirus diagnosis and has thanked the Premier League for postponing matches.

The London club confirmed on Thursday that Arteta had contracted the virus, forcing them to close their London Colney training base.

Premier League chiefs held an emergency meeting on Friday in the wake of the news and decided to suspend all games until April 3 at the earliest.

Arteta took to Twitter on Friday to provide a positive update on his condition and called for unity to tackle the "unprecedented" COVID-19 pandemic.

"Thanks for your words and support," he said. "Feeling better already. We're all facing a huge & unprecedented challenge. Everyone's health is all that matters right now.

"Protect each other by following the guidelines & we'll come through this together. Well done PL for making the right decisions."

All games in Serie A, Bundesliga, LaLiga and Ligue 1 have also been called off as the spread of coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on the sporting calendar.

Brighton and Hove Albion have announced their Premier League fixture against Arsenal has been postponed after Mikel Arteta tested positive for coronavirus.

Arsenal announced on Thursday that Arteta had the virus shortly after the Premier League had confirmed all weekend fixtures were set to go ahead as planned.

After the Arteta news broke, the Premier League then said an emergency club meeting would be held on Friday, with a suspension of matches expected as a result.

However, Brighton have already moved to confirm Saturday's home game against the Gunners will not be going ahead as Arsenal's first-team squad are going into self-isolation.

Chief executive Paul Barber said: "First and foremost our thoughts are with Mikel Arteta and we wish him a speedy recovery.

"It's absolutely essential the health and wellbeing of individuals takes priority and with that in mind Saturday’s match has been postponed.

"We apologise to all fans for any inconvenience but trust everyone will understand that we are all facing an unprecedented situation.

"The Premier League has announced this evening that they will convene an emergency meeting of all clubs tomorrow morning [Friday], and we will update supporters on future fixtures as and when we are in a position to do so."

Arteta is the highest-profile football figure to be diagnosed with the virus. Juventus defender Daniele Rugani has also tested positive for coronavirus.

Brendan Rodgers said three Leicester City players are in self-isolation after showing symptoms and Manchester City have confirmed a first-team player is self-isolating due to a family member having fallen ill. City's game against Arsenal on Wednesday was postponed amid the crisis.

Arsenal were knocked out of the Europa League last month by Olympiacos, whose owner Evangelos Marinakis later tested positive for the virus after attending the game at Emirates Stadium.

Top-flight fixtures in Italy and Spain have already been suspended while FIFA has announced this month's South American qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup have been postponed.

Mikel Arteta has tested positive for coronavirus and the Arsenal squad are expected to self-isolate, the Gunners have confirmed.

The club said in a statement released on Thursday that its London Colney training centre has been closed as a result of the diagnosis.

Arsenal confirmed staff and players who had "recent close contact" with Arteta would go into self-isolation, which includes the entirety of the first team.

"Arsenal personnel who had recent close contact with Mikel will now self-isolate in line with Government health guidelines," a statement from the Gunners read.

"We expect this to be a significant number of people from Colney, including the full first-team squad and coaching staff, as well as a smaller number of people from our Hale End Academy which we have also temporarily closed as a precaution.

"We expect those who did not have close contact with Mikel to return to work in the coming days. In the meantime our Colney and Hale End training centres will undergo a deep clean and our other club sites are operating as normal."

Arteta said: "This is really disappointing but I took the test after feeling poorly. I will be at work as soon as I'm allowed."

Arsenal's announcement came shortly after the Premier League confirmed this weekend's fixtures including the Gunners' trip to Brighton and Hove Albion will go ahead as planned.

But following Arteta's positive test it seems likely Arsenal's schedule will face further disruption after Wednesday's game against Manchester City was called off.

That match was suspended after news broke that Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis had contracted coronavirus.

Olympiacos knocked Arsenal out of the Europa League earlier this month and Marinakis was in attendance for the second leg at Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal indicated they expect further fixture postponements amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"It is clear we will not be able to play some fixtures on their currently scheduled dates," the club said.

The Premier League announcement that games would continue came after British prime minister Boris Johnson indicated the government was considering postponing sporting events.

However, in response to the news that Arteta had contracted COVID-19, the Premier League said an emergency club meeting will be held on Friday.

Arsenal's managing director Vinai Venkatesham said: "The health of our people and the wider public is our priority and that is where our focus is. Our thoughts are with Mikel who is disappointed but in good spirits.

"We are in active dialogue with all the relevant people to manage this situation appropriately, and we look forward to getting back to training and playing as soon as medical advice allows."

The club's head of football Raul Sanllehi added: "Mikel and the full first-team squad, players and staff, will be fully supported, and we look forward to getting back to training and playing as soon as medical advice allows.

"Obviously Mikel's full recovery is the priority now for us all."

Premier League fixtures are to go ahead as planned, with no games played behind closed doors, despite fears over the spread of coronavirus.

Sporting events and competitions across the globe have been either postponed or cancelled altogether as governments and organisations attempt to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, prime minister Boris Johnson confirmed on Thursday the British government would not yet be cancelling large-scale public events, though that is subject to change.

Following this announcement, the Premier League – now the only major European league not to either postpone entire rounds of fixtures or play matches behind closed doors – confirmed this weekend's round of fixtures would go ahead.

The Merseyside derby is among the latest round of games, with Liverpool just two wins away from clinching a first league title since 1990.

"Following the latest update from government issued this afternoon, all Premier League matches will go ahead as scheduled this weekend," a statement on the league's official website read.

"While the prime minister advised that all sporting events should take place as normal for now, he also indicated that government is considering banning major public events, like sporting fixtures.

"We are therefore continuing to work closely with our clubs, government, The FA, EFL and other relevant stakeholders to ensure appropriate contingency plans are in place as and when circumstances change. 

"The welfare of players, staff and supporters is of paramount importance and we will continue to follow Public Health England guidelines thoroughly."

Shortly after the statement was released, Arsenal confirmed head coach Mikel Arteta had tested positive for coronavirus.

Arsenal's London Colney training centre was closed, with Arteta the first confirmed case in the Premier League.

Meanwhile, an unnamed Manchester City player – reported to be Benjamin Mendy – is self-isolating after a member of their family fell ill and was tested.

Brendan Rodgers earlier confirmed three Leicester City players had also self-isolated after showing coronavirus symptoms.

The English Football League has also confirmed matches will continue to take place until it is advised otherwise.

Mikel Arteta has tested positive for coronavirus and the Arsenal squad are expected to self-isolate, the Gunners have confirmed.

Mikel Arteta has hailed Pep Guardiola as the bravest manager in football ahead of his reunion with the Manchester City boss when Arsenal travel to the Etihad Stadium.

Arteta will lead the Gunners for the first time against his former employers on Wednesday, having served as a key member of Guardiola's backroom staff for a decorated three-and-a-half-year period.

The pair have remained in regular contact since Arteta stepped up to succeed Unai Emery at Emirates Stadium last December and he feels the ex-Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss stands apart in the modern game.

"For me the first thing is his values as a person, that stands in front of everything," he said.

"The way he treats the players, the way he treats people, the way he looks after the football club when he is there, that's the first one.

"The second one is the clear ideas he has, how he is going to implement them and the plan he puts together to do that.
 
"And after because he is braver than any other manager and wants to take more risks and wants to play the way he wants and it does not matter what, he will maintain that line. 

"I never heard a player doubt, 'can we play like this or should we play like this'. They are all so convinced as he does not leave one drop of a doubt what needs to be done."

Arteta also praised the City hierarchy for backing Guardiola's methods after a trophy-less first season in England in 2016-17, especially given six of the subsequent seven major domestic honours have ended up in east Manchester.

"After the first season I think the process was really good but we did not win any trophies. And instead of anybody above - owners, sporting directors, or anyone who were involved - doubting that [playing Guardiola's style] was possible to do in England, they were all in," he explained.

"This is the way that we want to do it. So that is good, your idea is good, but you need the backing of the football club to support your ideas and get your backing and put that plan to support and be successful. And look what happened after."

Nevertheless, Arteta was keen to assert the side he is beginning to build at Arsenal will not simply amount to Guardiola-lite.

“If you copy paste it is always bad," he added. "You have to be around every character and person. Everyone feels thing in different way.

"It is a completely different context with the situations at City and Arsenal. Different context and players. So I think it would be a bad thing to do from my side."

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta insists Manchester City have been "very unlucky" this season and expects to face a fearsome response to their Manchester derby defeat.

Pep Guardiola's side lost 2-0 at Manchester United on Sunday to leave Premier League leaders Liverpool needing just six points to win the title.

Indeed, Jurgen Klopp's men could become champions before their next match if City lose their back-to-back home games against Arsenal and Burnley this week. 

City been beaten twice by United and once by Tottenham since Arteta left his post as assistant to take charge at Emirates Stadium, leading to scrutiny over the state of the team under Guardiola, despite winning the EFL Cup final and recording an impressive 2-1 victory at Real Madrid in the past two weeks.

Arteta believes fortune has not been on their side and is in no doubt that Arsenal must be at their best to get a result at the Etihad Stadium.

"Sometimes small details make the difference. I think they've been very unlucky," he said on Monday. "This is football. It can happen.

"We have to be at our best, that's for sure, to have any chance of winning the game."

Arteta is nonetheless looking forward to returning to the club where he learned much of his coaching craft under Guardiola after retiring from playing in 2016.

"It's going to be a very special night. I'm very excited to get back there," he said.

"Now, I'm in a different position on a different bench. I will defend my club as well as I can."

Arsenal battled to a 1-0 win over West Ham on Saturday that keeps them in the hunt for a Champions League place with 10 games to go.

The Gunners are eight points behind fourth-place Chelsea and just five adrift of United in fifth, a position that could be enough to qualify for Europe's elite competition if City's ban due to Financial Fair Play irregularities is upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

"It's still a long way to go. We want to go game by game," Arteta said. "Three weeks ago, it was impossible [to secure Champions League qualification]. Now, it looks a bit more possible."

Arteta added he is hopeful the club will agree a new contract with Bukayo Saka, who has impressed this season.

"The club is doing what it has to do and holding conversations. Hopefully, we'll get a result," he said of talks over a new deal.

Mikel Arteta applauded Alexandre Lacazette's attitude after he came off the bench to score Arsenal's winner against West Ham.

France international Lacazette was left on the bench in favour of Eddie Nketiah, who was making his third Premier League start since returning from a short loan spell with Leeds United in January.

With the match still goalless approaching the hour mark, Arteta looked to Lacazette and he took the place of Nketiah – the former Lyon striker eventually sealing victory for the Gunners 12 minutes from time.

Arteta explained his choice of Nketiah came down to the profile of defender Arsenal were set to face, but he was impressed by Lacazette's focus and concentration despite likely frustration at not starting.

"I have two strikers at the moment that are making life difficult for me, but at the same time it's very good," Arteta told reporters.

"They are both scoring, they are both in a good moment. I decided to play Eddie today for the type of defenders they had and the game plan we had, but knowing that we needed Laca [Lacazette] in the final moments.

"He was ready to do that. I saw it straight away the moment I was talking with him, giving him instructions on the touchline.

"He was alert, focused and I could see in his face he was really determined to come out there and score the goal like he did."

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang started on the left flank once again, but Arteta conceded he is using the Gabon forward and Gabriel Martinelli out wide due to a lack of options.

When asked if he sees Aubameyang and Martinelli as central forwards, Arteta said: "They are, but with the squad balance we have at the moment, to play in that position on the left, we don't have five players because we're using one of them to play as a left-back who is not a left-back.

"So, we're just trying to adapt to the situation we have. We try to put in the team players that have a goal threat, that can be successful for the team and that's part of managing the players that we have."

January signing Pablo Mari made his second successive start and earned another clean sheet, and Arteta is impressed with his adaptation.

"Good point, I'll take your advice then," Arteta said after it was put to him that Mari will have to start their next game as well.

"If it's as simple as that hopefully he'll do it again at Manchester City and he'll get a clean sheet. But no, he's doing well, he's adapting really well.

"It's not an easy league. For central defenders, in my opinion, to play in the Premier League is one of the toughest positions to play for any foreign players.

"But he's very willing, he's learning and has a very good experience and understanding with his team-mates."

Alexandre Lacazette came off the bench to score the winner as Arsenal extended their unbeaten Premier League run to eight games with a 1-0 victory over West Ham.

The France international scored only his second league goal of 2020, converting from close range in the 78th minute to clinch three points for Mikel Arteta's side, who struggled to break down a battling West Ham team before Lacazette's second-half introduction.

The best chances of the afternoon before the goal fell to Hammers striker Michail Antonio, who misfired from close range either side of half-time, and Hammers boss David Moyes will be disappointed his side failed to hang on for a precious point towards their battle against relegation.

Arteta started with Eddie Nketiah as a lone striker and failed to capitalise on what little possession came his way, while Gunners top scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had an uncharacteristically quiet afternoon as he chased his 50th Premier League goal.

The result means Moyes is still without a win in 16 top-flight away games against Arsenal – no manager in Premier League history has taken charge of more winless away games against a single opponent.

Mikel Arteta has lamented the injury woe of his old Arsenal team-mate Jack Wilshere, saying the midfielder "could have been phenomenal".

Wilshere is battling to overcome his latest issue and looks sure to miss out on an Arsenal reunion on Saturday, when West Ham tackle Arteta's Gunners at Emirates Stadium.

Since leaving Arsenal for West Ham in July 2018, Wilshere has started just six Premier League games, coming off the bench on eight further occasions.

The 28-year-old has yet to score for the Hammers in the top flight, and Opta statistics show he has taken just six touches in the opposition penalty area during those few games.

As he nears the end of a second season at the London Stadium, former England player Wilshere is again enduring the deep frustration of being unable to make an impact on the pitch.

Wilshere was dogged by a host of injuries during his 10-year senior Arsenal career, all too often being unable to string together the runs of games he needed to develop his obviously prodigious playmaking talent.

"It's very sad with Jack," said Arsenal head coach Arteta, who spent five years as a midfield colleague of Wilshere.

"When I joined here and watched him play every day in training and everything he had, you could say he could be one of the best midfielders, but he always had something.

"He has started to build again a career and then again another injury, another setback, and it was disappointment.

"I was very impressed with Jack, how strong he is mentally to deal with the situation, because as well he had a lot of pressure from the media because expectations for him were big, but it is what it is.

"He could have been phenomenal."

Arteta, who was appointed as Unai Emery's successor in December, is assessing the quality within Arsenal's playing staff, and that forensic examination includes looking at stars sent out on loan.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan has caught the eye at times with Roma in Serie A this season, and Arteta is keeping tabs on a 31-year-old player whose Arsenal future looked to be bleak, with a view to possibly including him in plans for the 2020-21 campaign.

"'Mik' has been doing really well in recent games," said Arteta.

"We know the player he has been in the past and we need to have all the information to make the right decisions in the future.

"I always liked him. He's the type of player that can fit into any team when he's at his best. He needs to do it consistently.

"Here he had moments, and that's what we have to assess. It's a possibility that we have and we'll consider."

Mikel Arteta plans to hold contract talks with Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang before the end of the season.

Aubameyang's contract at Emirates Stadium is set to expire at the end of next season and the Gabon international has been linked with Barcelona, Real Madrid, Inter and Paris Saint-Germain.

The 30-year-old has scored 61 goals in 96 appearances for the Gunners since arriving from Borussia Dortmund in January 2018.

Asked about sitting down with Aubameyang to discuss his contract situation, Arteta told a news conference: "We will have to do that before the end of the season, for sure.

"I will see the intentions we have, his intentions, where we are sitting in that moment is difficult to predict right now. For me it's very easy, I want to keep him in any circumstances."

Arsenal bounced back from suffering Europa League elimination in the last 32 against Olympiacos last week by beating Portsmouth 2-0 on Monday, earning an FA Cup quarter-final against Sheffield United.

The Gunners could win a third straight Premier League game for the first time this season when they entertain West Ham on Saturday and Arteta hopes a positive result can help inspire a late push for Champions League qualification.

Arsenal sit 10th in the top flight, eight points adrift of fourth-place Chelsea and five back from Manchester United in fifth, a position that will provide a route into Europe's premier club competition if Manchester City's two-season ban for breaching Financial Fair Play regulations is upheld.

"Beat West Ham on Saturday and we are closer. That's all I'm thinking because a few weeks ago it looked impossible, but if we beat West Ham it will look more likely," said Arteta.

"The only aim is to go game by game and start grabbing three points and three points and then we'll have a chance in the last three or four games of the season."

Lucas Torreira will be unavailable for the foreseeable future after suffering a fractured right ankle against Portsmouth.

"He was quite positive this morning when I spoke with him. He was in pain. We don't know the extent of the injury, he needs to see the specialist here in London," said the Arsenal boss.

"Since I joined the amount of things that have happened are enormous. We just have to try to adapt, it's part of football. It happens to many other teams, so we cannot cry about it.

"Sometimes it's bad luck, sometimes it's part of the game we play, and sometimes things that we can avoid and do better as well."

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