Thomas Partey is the only injured member of Mikel Arteta’s squad as the Gunners prepare for tomorrow’s clash with Dundalk.
The Ghana international spent a month on the sidelines with a thigh injury before starting Sunday’s North London derby and could be facing a similarly lengthy layoff after aggravating the problem.
It was a risky decision by Mikel Arteta to start the 28-year-old at White Hart Lane and it backfired in spectacular fashion with the midfielder pulling up just as Sp*rs mounted the counter-attack that led to Harry Kane doubling their lead.
Clearly irked by his summer signing’s decision to limp to the sidelines at a vital moment in the match, the boss then pushed Partey back onto the pitch but he immediately pulled up in pain as he tried to sprint. Dani Ceballos replaced him.
Partey was sent for a scan on Monday and Arteta has confirmed that he’ll miss a few games although at this point it’s unclear how many. Given we play seven games this side of 2021, it’s far from ideal. He went on to defend his team selection.
“He got injured in the same area, not exactly the same spot but the same area as before. He will miss the next few matches,” said Arteta on Wednesday.
“He did incredibly well and he was very confident. We tested him three times and he had zero symptoms, but in football you have a lot of unpredictable actions.
“He went into the floor, his knee got stuck, afterwards he stretched and got up. Immediately he put a lot of stress in a similar area and it happened. Afterwards people will say it was a bit early but I don’t think it was because he was completely fine to play.”
Reflecting on the latest setback, Partey wrote on Instagram: “Being part of the Arsenal family is something incredible for me, since the day I arrived I have felt so supported. The coach had a great influence in my decision to join this team and even though we had some bad results I know we are building something good together. I have had the bad luck to suffer an injury but I hope I can play again soon and fight for this team.”
In positive news, Gabriel Martinelli survived 45 minutes unscathed as Arsenal’s under-21s lost 3-0 to AFC Wimbledon in the Papa John’s Trophy. The match was the Brazilian striker’s first since March when we beat Portsmouth in the FA Cup.
He suffered a knee injury in training in June and has spent the last six months recuperating from surgery. Another couple of run outs with the Academy boys and he could be an option off the bench in the coming weeks.
Our other long-term absentees, Calum Chambers and Pablo Mari, made their returns in last week’s 4-1 win over Rapid Vienna. Both are in contention to start against Dundalk in our final Europa League group game in Dublin. A number of youngsters including Folarin Balogun, Miguel Azeez and Emile Smith will also be hoping to play some part.