Sunday, July 14, 2024

Arteta on Partey’s fitness, Smith Rowe’s return and an early kick off at Villa

Mikel Arteta says Thomas Partey faces a late fitness test to decide whether he’ll be part of Arsenal’s squad to face Aston Villa on Saturday. 

The Ghana international missed Wednesday night’s 3-1 defeat to Manchester City with an ill-timed thigh issue and was replaced in the starting lineup by new signing Jorginho. 

Realistically, it seems unlikely former Atletico Madrid midfielder will be risked but it sounds as though the medical team will run a few tests today. 

“We have to assess him again today, he had some discomfort, a little muscle discomfort. We have to assess him this morning and see how he is,” said Arteta in his pre-game press conference on Friday morning. 

On the plus side, it sounds like Emile Smith Rowe is set for a return to the squad for the first time since January. The England international suffered a setback in his recovery from groin surgery but is back in full training. 

“Emile will be training today, if he’s fine he’ll be in the squad. And Gabby [Jesus], he’s still not there,” confirmed the boss. 

While Arteta doesn’t want his players to use the quick turnaround as an excuse, there’s no doubt that he’s irked that Arsenal were asked to play on Wednesday night ahead of an early kick-off on Saturday. All the more so, given the Premier League introduced new rules this season excluding Champions League sides from being selected in BT Sport’s usual timeslot. 

“Obviously, they put the schedule the way they did it, it’s a bit unusual but it is what it is,” he said. 

“The players are highly motivated for tomorrow’s game because we want to perform well and win the game.”

However, when pressed on the matter, he added: “There are certain rules with the Champions League, when you play on a Wednesday night you cannot play [the early Saturday match]. I think that should apply to any competition. 

“Following the same principle, you’re talking physiologically, it’s very difficult to turn around in that period and get the best outcome and reduce the injury risk to players.”

Having played with the same starting lineup more than any other team in the league, Arteta obviously has the chance to mix things up this weekend. Leandro Trossard, for one, will be desperate for a chance to start. 

On the Belgian attacker, he said: “He’s had an impact every time he’s on the field, so he’s an option.

“Every week, we consider the best possible option for players, where they are in terms of performance, mentally, physically and for sure, we’ll do that again.”

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I would love to see Eddie given a break and Martinelli given a go down the middle interchanging positions with Trossard down the left, Jesus and Gabi used to do this quite regularly to great success. Gabi has looked quite isolated out of the left in the last few games, I think with Zinny coming inside he is often left alone on that flank with little support.


I agree, think we’d have a different outcome if Gabi M was put through the middle. But also, I understand Mikel, Eddie deserved to be there and he gave him a new contract etc., although his output vs Everton and esp Brentford was zero.


Yep, I think he needs a break, he’s played every game since Jesus got injured and sometimes a stint out of the side can actually do wonders. Plus we have become a bit stale of late, so it would be good to mix it up a bit and keep our opponents guessing.

Bleeding Gums Murphy

And city was to not even hit the target with two great chances


Put Martinelli in front and we will be worse. As average as you think Eddie is he’s actually not too bad in that position. The way he bullies defenders and carries the ball trying to create chances for his team mates is not too bad for his level. I think the problem with him is that he has not been getting enough service from midfield lately, part of which he’s to blame for not making enough runs behind defenders to provide options for dead balls. His finishing too is poor. Odegaard too has not been his best lately.


Never said he’s average, it’s just healthy to mix things up every so often, rotate players to keep things fresh, I think Eddie could do with a rest both physically and mentally to recharge the batteries and come back stronger


TP has missed 38 PL games for us, a whole season. Hope we can get him back soon and staying fit! Win ratio so much better with him.

karl g

We’ve seen enough to predict this is a pattern that won’t improve with age. There has to be someone brought in as long-term replacement, or to play alongside Partey this summer.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

Rice Rice baby.

Teryima Adi

Caicedo, too

We won’t buy both.


we wont buy any

Boy Bastin

True, but Arsenal were fully aware of his injury record (which was pretty poor) when we bought him.

He does add a lot to the team but I think we should have learned to cope better with his absences (there being so many of them) by now really.

Adult Anton

This is simply untrue. Look at this record for the two previous seasons he had at Atletico. He missed 1 game in La Liga. His fitness was superb. He’s moved to a different country and failed to adapt. We did not buy an injury prone player, he became one.

timorous me

I had to look this up because I was convinced you were mistaken here, and the second result that came up includes this line: “Before this season, Partey has astonishingly only missed one game through injury in almost five years. He had made 50, 42 and 46 appearances, respectively, for Atletico in his last three seasons there.”

If anything, his injury history (or lack thereof) was actually likely part of his appeal, as crazy as that sounds now.

Boy Bastin

Yes, you’re right I mis-read the appearances stats. He did have a good record prior to joining Arsenal. Mea Culpa.

Norman House

I think it might be because the game is much faster and maybe more physical. He has had a lot of muscle injuries.

The Arsenal

Playing Dm by yourself will do that. Its Why Kante is now finished.

Teryima Adi

Maybe he is having too much chips and fish in England.😀


But in reality I’m guessing aside from age going up it’s the difference in the leagues. In La Liga Atletico could play 1/2 of their matches in 2nd or 3rd gear, and La Liga is not as high pace and physical on a whole.

In this league just about any team can beat any team on the day, and if they don’t they’ll still take a chunk out of you.


Is chips and fish the only food in England?

Man Manny

You simply made this up! Why assume in this day and age where you can cull up any information at the touch of a screen?
Thomas Partey was ever present in the Atletico line-up, missing only one game in about five years.

Santi’s Thigh Grab

It’s time to get another first choice option, Partey has not been reliable enough to get to where we want to go.


I was pleasantly surprised with how seamlessly Jorginho slotted in. He didn’t seem horribly out of place. Won’t mind him starting again, and not risking Partey.
Also, I wouldn’t mind seeing Tomi again. Despite his costly blunder (perhaps if he’d played more..) I really enjoyed his eagerness, willingness to challenge, get forward, and make himself available. He was so busy, and wanted to make a difference. And got damned close too. Gutted for him. Such a warrior.

Teryima Adi

He’s our Samurai Warrior.


Give Tierney a run at LB. He would bring a different dimension to the team. Fully expect him to leave in the summer if he doesn’t get more games.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

I’d like to think he wouldn’t leave if we get into the Champions League, as he’ll likely get more Premier League starts next season.


both Trossard & Tomi should start the Villa game.

karl g

Maybe Tomi at left back and Zinchenko moved forward to give Xhaka a rest. Teams are targeting that “empty left back position with long balls and we need to show some different tactics.


Why would you want to play tomi out of position when you have a natural left footed left back in tierney who was the best thing since sliced bread 12 months ago. Remember it was Tomi’s left footed pass back that gifted man City thier 1st goal.

Boy Bastin

I hope he plays of course, but we need to break the “Partey missing, we lose” hoodoo that seems to be on the team.

Perhaps the return of ESR will provide the boost that we desperately need now. Arteta has to do something, and quickly, to break this bad run. Should City manage to establish a clear lead (as we enjoyed for many months) I think they will be difficult to dislodge because of their vast experience of title run-ins. We’ll see though.

Teryima Adi

And their squad depth is unfathomable.


ours is good too. it’s arteta who should trust them more/take the risk because that’s his team now


If Trossard starts instead of Martinelli, we could send M on as an impact sub, for Trossard or Eddie. He’s been struggling of late, but his speed, against tiring defenders, could be just like ticket if we haven’t killed the game by the last 20-30 minutes.



Boy Bastin

Arteta hasn’t yet come up with a satisfactory Plan B to get us out of this poor run. There may not be one, of course, with the options he has available. If so, he’ll have to tinker at the edges and hope things click back to the form we had only a relatively short time ago. That can/does happen so all is far from lost, but it needs to happen soon.

A lot of calls for dropping Zinchenko, White, Martinelli, Nketiah. Not for me. Our ‘poor’ run of form needs to be put into some context. Four games without a win, but two of those were against the strongest squad in the world. With that said, we should stick to our guns and play our strongest 11 at Villa. It’s a great fixture for a few players to recapture that magical form that has us joint top. Just to add, I don’t think White was ‘dropped’ against City, think it more a case of Mikel believing Tomiyasu had the better defensive… Read more »

I realise my hypocrisy as I’ve been calling for Trossard to replace Xhaka in our 11. And that’s not due to Xhaka’s form, it’s more a case of Trossard having more attacking nous than Xhaka, being able to replicate some of the attributes that we’re missing with Jesus, like helping Martinelli when he’s being doubled up on, and he would also create more chances for Eddie than Xhaka can.

He’s got no hair but we don’t care...

Just start Trossard. Martinelli clearly needs a rest.


Replace xhaka with trossard

Teryima Adi

Just beat the Villans.

Aleksander Włodarz

Don’t give up on the fight!

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