ARSENAL were without trio Albert Sambi Lokonga, Pablo Mari and Calum Chambers against Sunderland after the trio tested positive for Covid-19.
All three players were surprise absentees from the matchday squad for the Gunners' League Cup semi-final.
Arsenal's social media accounts quickly confirmed that they were Covid-related absences.
They also announced that Ainsley Maitland-Niles was missing through illness.
But the midfielder had not tested positive for coronavirus.
Boss Mikel Arteta opted to make nine changes to the side that beat Leeds 4-1 at the weekend.
Bernd Leno replaced Aaron Ramsdale between the sticks, while Rob Holding was in for Gabriel Magalhaes alongside Ben White.
Nuno Tavares and Cedric Soares came in for Kieran Tierney and Takehiro Tomiyasu.
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Mohamed Elneny anchored an attacking looking midfield, with Martin Odegaard and Emile Smith Rowe ahead of him.
Nicolas Pepe and Eddie Nketiah came in on the wings.
While Folarin Balogun grabbed a rare start up front.
Like in the last round against Leeds, it was Nketiah that gave Arsenal the lead.
But this time it was anything but pretty.
The forward kneed home a rebound, after a Rob Holding header had been denied.
Nicolas Pepe then made it 2-0, when his deflected effort beat the goalkeeper from close range.
Sunderland gave the Gunners a scare before half-time, however, as Nathan Broadhead clipped beyond Bernd Leno to get his side back in the contest.
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