Arsenal players avoid club fines after flooding near London Colney causes delays to training

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. - Credit: Archant

Severe traffic delays and flooding to roads around St Albans and London Colney did not result in a club fine for Arsenal footballers, who arrived late for training as a result this morning (Friday).

All smiles between Santi Cazorla, Gabriel and Mesut Ozil.

All smiles between Santi Cazorla, Gabriel and Mesut Ozil. - Credit: Archant

At a press conference delayed by several hours because of widespread flooding, including on the M25 near St Albans, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger joked with journalists: “We have to deal with that, it is nothing dramatic.”

The anticlockwise M25 was closed earlier today between junctions 21A and 19 for safety reasons, due to pooling water on the main carriageway, and links to the southbound and northbound M1 after torrential downpours in the early hours of the morning.

More than 120,000 litres of surface water – equivalent to 1,500 bath tubs full – were removed as a result, before the affected carriageway was re-opened late this afternoon.

The severe traffic delays affected Gunners on their way to training at the club’s grounds in London Colney, along with Wenger, who was supposed to speak to the media at 9am, but went straight to training instead upon his arrival at 10am.

The postponement prompted Daily Mirror chief football writer John Cross, also the author of “Arsene Wenger: The Inside Story of Arsenal Under Wenger” to tweet: “Arsenal presser now around lunchtime. Rain and flooded roads have seen to that.”

Wenger told journalists at a rescheduled conference that while the footballers were also late, “they weren’t fined. It is the M25 that will be fined!”

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Reflecting upon the past week, after Arsenal drew 1-1 with Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday (13), he described it as a “positive week overall. We have shown the right attitude and spirit, and I know we have room for improvement in certain areas of the game that we will work on. But overall it is positive, the results are positive.”

Wenger confirmed that everyone had “recovered well and we go into the game [against Hull City tomorrow] with the desire to win it again”.

He said that Alexis Sanchez has “had a long rest, five weeks holiday and it took him a while to be fully fit physically but now he is back.

“Walcott could be back in the squad; I have to check how well he came out of the session today. I haven’t spoken with the medical people yet. Ramsey is of course still out. Gabriel is back in normal training, I don’t think he will be included but he might play on Tuesday night. The injury situation is not bad at the moment.”

Wenger said he had hoped that Aaron Ramsey, who has a hamstring injury, would be back “but he is not ready”.

When asked for his thoughts on Hector Bellerin apparently challenging Usain Bolt to a race, Wenger said: “Well, that is a bit ambitious. Usain Bolt loves football but I think he’s still too quick for Hector.”

• Hull City V Arsenal, Saturday September 17, KCOM Stadium, 3pm