Mikel Arteta says Thomas Partey has been left devastated by the hamstring injury picked up against Aston Villa.
Having missed a couple of months with a thigh injury – a problem he thought he’d recovered from inside two weeks only to relapse – the Ghanaian made his long-awaited comeback in mid-January against Crystal Palace.
The 27-year-old went on to make five consecutive starts alongside Granit Xhaka in the centre of midfield before breaking down in the closing stages of Saturday’s defeat at Villa Park.
At this point, it’s unclear how long he’ll be sidelined for but he’s definitely been ruled out of Sunday’s game with Leeds and is a big doubt for the Europa League clash against Benfica in Rome.
“It’s a difficult one,” said Arteta on Friday morning. “He felt something during the game but we didn’t think it was too bad.
“After the scan, it looked a little bit worse. He won’t be available to play against Leeds and we’ll see how it evolves in the next few days but it’s a muscular situation.
“He was devastated. We were all devastated because we know the importance of Thomas.
“We haven’t had him in three games consecutively. He’s only played 90 [minutes] once since he came back from the injury. It’s a big blow for us. He’s adapting to the league and I think he’s been very unlucky as well.
“He’s very frustrated because he’s a really competitive guy who wants to feel important and be important for the team. At the moment, the injuries are restricting a lot of game time for him.”