‘Project Restart’: Arsenal begin isolated training

Monday, April 27th, 2020 23:23 |
Arsenal players in a training session after resuming yesterday. Photo/AGENCIES

London, Monday @PeopleDailyKe

David Luiz and Alexandre Lacazette were among the Arsenal stars back in training at their Colney base on Monday for the first session after lockdown.

After 47 days away from their HQ due to coronavirus restrictions, the Gunners players were permitted to train separately, each on their own pitch with their own designated ball.

Each member of the senior squad had to travel alone and Emilio Martinez pulled up in his convertible red Corvette while Luiz was pictured rolling up to the facility near St Albans shortly afterwards.

Lacazette was among the first group with the French striker driving into work in his Mercedes.

And Hector Bellerin was also among the stars snapped behind the wheel as he wore earphones while entering Colney while Pablo Mari was kitted out in a patterned jumper.

The government has urged the Premier League to try to get games back on by June to lift the mood of the country and Arsenal’s return to action, albeit in isolation, is an encouraging step.

The Premier League has been suspended since March 13, but there are plans to continue matches behind closed doors in an attempt to finish the current season.

When Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta tested positive for coronavirus on March 12, it was the first real hammer blow to the Premier League and their plans to keep the season intact.

The Spaniard was the first big name in English football to test positive for coronavirus, with Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi then contracting the virus just hours later.

Arteta’s diagnosis sent approximately 100 members of Arsenal staff, including his first-team squad, into self-isolation and triggered the suspension of the Premier League.

After recovering, the Arsenal boss said: “I’m very well now, I feel that I have recovered.

It took me three or four days to start feeling much better and with more energy, to leave the symptoms behind, and now the truth is that I feel well.”

Arteta’s positive test came after it emerged that Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis had also contracted the virus.

Marinakis had been in contact with Arsenal stars, staff and executives when Olympiacos knocked the Gunners out of the Europa League at the Emirates at the end of February.

Organisers have drawn up a plan called ‘Project Restart’ which could see matches played again as soon as June 8 at “approved neutral venues.”

It has been seven weeks since the Arsenal players were last able to train in the familiar surroundings but strict coronavirus guidelines are still in place.

A number of the team have experienced issues trying to go out for runs at home as fans are desperate to interact with them, get an autograph or a selfie, flouting the social distancing restrictions.

The Gunners have been able to use fixed gym machines but struggled when it comes to working out in the open air with dynamic movement.  

Arsenal believe the plans they have put in place now will allow players the ability and freedom to safely gain their fitness back.

On Saturday a club statement explained: “Access will be limited, carefully managed and social distancing will be maintained at all times.”

Arteta’s men have an entire pitch each to themselves at the 10-pitch Hertfordshire complex, with five spare.

The return to work is voluntary and players had to travel alone, with only five allowed to train at one time.

A staggered series of one-hour sessions is spread throughout the day with medical and fitness staff overseeing each one from afar and the players banned from socialising with each other.

They even had their own specifically assigned football to avoid cross-contamination.

All the buildings will remain locked so each player had to arrive in their kit and shower and change at home and they have been instructed to return directly to their cars at the conclusion of the workout. - Dailymail

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