Monday, May 20, 2024

Arteta: Partey absence is no excuse

Mikel Arteta says Arsenal can’t use an injury to Thomas Partey as an excuse for the 3-1 defeat to Manchester City after the Ghana international was ruled out of the match just hours before kick-off.

The Spaniard had declared a clean bill of health – long-term absentees aside – in his pre-game press conference but ended up handing January signing Jorginho a first start in Gunners’ colours after the lynchpin of his midfield suffered a late thigh issue.

“We don’t know,” said Arteta when pressed for an update on the severity of Partey’s injury.

“It’s what happens – it’s part of football. There are no excuses. I think Jorgi played a really good game and we’ll have to assess Thomas to see how bad it is.”

Arsenal head to Aston Villa on Saturday morning and you have to assume the number 5 is a major doubt for the trip to Birmingham.

In Partey’s absence, the Gunners stuck to their principles against City, repeatedly choosing to play out from the back despite the visitors pressing higher up the pitch after the break.

At times, Arsenal rushed their decisions on the ball and when turnovers happened, City made them pay in a clinical fashion. Jack Grealish and Erling Haaland scored within 10 minutes of each other to put the game out of the home side’s reach after a pulsating first half had seen Bukayo Saka’s penalty cancel out Kevin De Bruyne’s opener.

“When errors happen as part of the risks we take, the risk and reward is understanding what we have to do,” explained Arteta.

“We didn’t understand well what we had to do, especially in the second half, when they changed their formation and went in a different shape.

“But we came out of there a lot of times and created big problems for them, so it’s always that balance.”

On gifting City all three goals, he added: “That’s the frustration – it’s exceptionally difficult to play at the level that they require you to play at to have the chance to win.

“I think we’ve done it and in many moments we had them, but if you give three goals the way we did – just give them the game – and especially when you don’t put the big chances that we had away, the margin of error for them is almost zero. It’s a shame because we really had them.”

City’s win sees them leapfrog the Gunners to reclaim top spot in the table. Having failed to win any of the last four games, there are serious concerns that the loss of confidence experienced by Arteta’s side could become terminal.

“Just move on and realise why we lost the game,” was the manager’s message to his players.

“We lost it – I think we lost it. We have to move on because the performance was there in many situations.

For our team to play at the level that we have to play at to reach that, it’s very difficult and the boys did exceptionally well. The atmosphere was just incredible and the shame is just that we didn’t get the points.”

Related articles


Notify of

newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Arteta is right: The loss of Partay wasn’t the problem. The real problems are a lack of a top-quality goalscorer and our tendency to make horrible defensive lapses, especially at home.

At the very highest levels you’ll get found out; your weaknesses will be brutally exposed. That’s what happened today.

But we are still in the title race. It’s about 38 games and we’ll just have to keep going and see what happens.

There’s still a long way to go.


Atta boy, Fats. Spot on comment.

I fear too many “supporters” are gonna freak out after this, whinge about not splashing 80M on an unproven kid, and generally moan.

Its not so much about the top 4 rivals, we need to beat EVERYBODY else. Its the draw with Brentford and that fucking Everton slip that will make the difference. Two wins there, and this game is a footnote.

Still; jack grealish is a loathesome human being that fucking prick.


“Whinge about not splashing 80M on an unproven kid”. Lol, it’s almost as if the club didn’t, in fact, go as high as 90m for Mudryk… I’m happy we got Trossard but the Mudryk deal would have been lauded by everyone had the club pulled it off… so miss me what that nonsense. Some of our fan factions amuse me when they call out each other and deflect…

Boy Bastin

The reality was that once Chelsea showed real interest in Mudryk we had had it. We were always going to be outbid in terms of fee and wages – simple as that.

I can’t help reflecting though on the number of Gooners who on this site simply couldn’t (wouldn’t, more accurately) accept that Mudryk would even consider signing for “that” club, with “that” previous owner, and “those” fans who demonstrated against the sanctions etc. In their eyes, money wasn’t a major factor, it was all those other things that meant he’d join us. Welcome to the real world.


It’s moving so late for the other position of need that becomes even more concerning with any Partey injury that is way more concerning the tross (looks great) -mud. Borginho is a major downgrade on Partey – no two ways about it. If we moved earlier for Rice or Caciedo (moved on from Mud quicker) we could have had a more secure and longer term option. Even without Mo injury we always needed another midfield player. Xhaka is now in his 30s, Thomas almost, Sambi unfortunately not looking like he’s going to pan out with Arsenal… This may be the… Read more »

He’s got no hair but we don’t care...

It’s not a case of freaking out but noticing what’s going on and trying something different. Why not play an in form Trossard in place of a slightly out of form Martinelli?

Santi’s Thigh Grab

The manager already explained he was going to play the players who got us to this point but absent a win, we should expect major changes. Let’s see what we get for Villa. There needs to be more rotation and Martinelli is likely to lose his starting position as should Eddie, but we are thin again.


Let’s forget about this home defeat, we lose fair and square. Just get 3 points at Villa park please……….
The title is still on our hands


I dont know I agree with that.. It made a really big difference for me watching that game. So accustomed to watching him drop in at the perfect time to receive on his back foot under real pressure against a high press and find the feet of Odegaard, Saka, or someone else with a line breaking pass. I watched Jorginho a lot in that game and frequently he played the bounce pass out, and look I understand it, he’s hardly played. So to come into a game like that in central midfield he was always going to focus on being… Read more »


Please don’t give people false hope. The Everton, Brentford, City games were a disaster and this really determined the outcome of the season. I would be the happiest to be proven wrong but no sugarcoating please, this is over despite our amazing run.



The league is a marathon not a sprint. When we were miles clear at the top I was one of the ones urging caution. Over the years I’ve seen titles won and lost from strong positions. If we can recapture the pre-Christmas form then we can still win the title. City will drop points: we have to make sure that we capitalise when they do.

16 games is a lot of football. There are plenty of twists and turns to come.


It’s a must win on their turf! COYG!


You couldn’t win them on your ground, is it in their you will win? Highest we are getting is a draw.


I agree with you but if you go by our recent history, you can see why he would come to that conclusion.
Arsenal have been poor the last three games.
This feels all so familiar.
If they cannot motivate themselves then perhaps, they should not be at Arsenal.


Nice to see the old school boys on here (with a few titles under their belts) imparting the benefit of experience.

Generation Sky reacting with all they’ve ever known – knee-jerk tabloid trash hysteria.

Bleeding Gums Murphy


Johnny 4 Hats

Qwaliteee, you are bang on son.

And I was super knee jerk last night too.

Thinking about it, I was just so frustrated with moments. The Xhaka pass immediately comes to mind. The Eddie miss. The insecurity in defence.

Having slept on it (and sweated out the beer) we deserve credit for coming out of this Jesus free patch and still having that game in hand.

But it really is time to say “this blip is over” with a comprehensive win at Villa.

He’s got no hair but we don’t care...

It’s frustration not hysteria. Like I said, notice when changing it might help as sticky situation you’ve been in recently. Trossard for Martinelli would have been worth a go, surely?

Bleeding Gums Murphy

You are wise in hindsight oh clever one

He’s got no hair but we don’t care...

Yes, yes I am. Although I didn’t need my crystal ball for this one.

I think Tross for Eddie might be better

He’s got no hair but we don’t care...

No chance. I’ll still incredibly proud of what we’ve done this season with still what is a very young side. But experienced heads and more money in Manchester means maybe 3rd for us.

djourou's nutmeg

bro we’re the same points as city with a game in hand what the hell you talking about?!

The Arsenal

Jesus will save us

He’s got no hair but we don’t care...

When? And how about ESR? Is he ever coming back?

Brady’s bunch

We’ve played half a season of football we still hold the advantage and we’ve been the best in the league since the start so no all is not lost we just need to find from again.


It’s not over, let’s not get hysterical. BUT, we do need to get on another run starting with Villa.

Jorginho was good last night but I would worry about him away at Villa Park.

Shuffle the pack, I think Eddie should start on the bench and try Martinelli through the middle…

He’s got no hair but we don’t care...

Spot on. Bench Eddie. Martinelli through the middle and Trossard on the wing.


Good points, we have a good run if games coming up if we regain our form. TP and Jesus are two big misses, we need both of them to be strong enough. Especially TP, he would have lessened the pressure on our defence yesterday.


Jorginho was good yesterday I thought.

He’s no Partey, more of a soirée, but he’s an upgrade on Mo or Lakonga and gives confidence


That’s a fair assessment by MA. The whole team, coach and manager included are takin the rap.
“We didn’t understand well what we had to do, especially in the second half, when they changed their formation and went in a different shape.

Karl g

True. Arsenal we’re a lot closer to winning last year. For all the great performances this season, we looked naive tonight. Teams have figured out how to stop Odegaard and Saka. Also Martinelli has hit a rough patch and it was time to bring in Trossard tonight.


I think Martinelli is suffering from Zinchenko’s style of play. The overlaps we can see with Saka and White are completely missing on his side….
I wish we used Tierney and Tomiyasu more often (I also think Tomi would have not made his first mistake if he would have been used more frequently)

Jim F

Jorginho was our best player alongside Saka tonight, and Partey wasn’t the issue.


Oh I don’t know about that. We really missed Tom’s ability to break through the midfield in the second half.

I thought Jorginho was good, he’s just not at Partey’s level (best in the league)


Should have pair Jorginho and Partey and left out Xhaka. Partey is just another level above these two, can play anywhere across midfield.


Anyone else roll their eyes when TP was declared absent? I thought Jorginho did fine but ultimately losing a player of TBs quality effects the entire balance of the team. Thats the 1% which makes the difference against a team like city. Yet another season defining game goes by and Partey is unavailable. Not his fault of course, but the point has been reached were we certainly shouldn’t be planning the future around him. He is just not reliable .


I’d actually be happy to sell Partey in the summer while he still has a value and get in someone more reliable. I’ve never been a huge fan, he gives away too many sloppy passes and I think we can certainly get in someone who isn’t injured every five minutes. Get ready for a million down votes but I don’t think he’s all he’s made out to be, apart from other issues.


63% win rate with TP, 47% without he is a big strong man, our defence probably wouldn’t have been so wobbly with him in front of it.


???!!!!! Thomas is our best player bar the star boy Bukayo. Yeh let’s sell him… What u chatting about

Bleeding Gums Murphy

Don’t give up the day job.


Frustrating to watch us constantly making such short, dangerous passes in front (and through) our own box when they were pressing so aggressively. Arteta an Co. have gotten us to this point, but step up the in-game coaching.


The short passing is such a fundamental part of our play I sympathise with the coaching staff. It’s hard to have a plan B. Especially with a short forward line and your imperious midfield juggernaut absent

We should sign Toney.


Ah yes, the obnoxious betting addict due a ban, no thanks.


On the one hand I agree, there can be no excuses. You can’t always have your best 11 fit and Jorginho filled in admirably.

On the other hand, we seemed harried playing the ball out of the back. Can’t help but think Partey would have made a big difference in bringing more poise and calm under pressure.

Hopefully we can find out how much of a difference he makes when we play them away.


They’ll be travelling up the M40 rather than the M4, until everyone involved understands the UK’s major road arteries we’ll never progress to the next level.

Karl g

Did anyone else notice something like 8 City players surrounding the referee on the penalty award? I guess there will be no charge on this occasion.


And hardly any arsenal fuss when Haaland should’ve got straight red for that elbow.

Man Manny

I prefer the sadness of being knocked off the perch by City on goal difference – with a game in hand though – to the horrible feeling of missing top 4. That is progress. Premier league title is tough to win. The Liverpool and City title winning teams show us what it takes: A deadly striker – 20+ goals a season guarantee – is a must. A near impeccable back line must be in place. A midfield of grit, energy and creativity in equal measure. Then, a bench with players equally as good as those on the field is a… Read more »

Santi’s Thigh Grab

In the words of our manager, we are ahead of schedule. In the words of Clive Palmer, we better be learning from this game. We are playing better with the squad we have but we still need better players throughout.


We lose pretty much every match he doesn’t play but agreed, his absence in this match and others cannot be an excuse. We could’ve easily won today. We gave up three poor goals that had nothing to do with Partey’s absence.


Let’s be positive, how long till this year’s St Totteringham?


Can’t we just beat these maggots :'(


Trossard as striker is worth trying. Nketiah unfortunately is a mid-table player.

Santi’s Thigh Grab

On the basis of last nights performance, it would not surprise me to see Eddie sold this summer to make room for Balogun and another wide forward. Arteta knows we need more clinical finishing. Keep turning the squad over and the competition for spots will sort itself out.


Wouldn’t surprise me if that’s been the plan all along. The long contract will boost Eddie’s price tag and so will his nice run of goals in the first team.


I just don’t understand why Eddie never passes the ball. He just lowers everyone’s morale.


M1/M6 rather than M4 blogs


Yeah, I don’t like the direction Blogs is taking this team!


I think it was obvious Partey wasn’t 100% fit v Brentford so why not play Jorginho then ? Why not bring on KT v Everton when it was obvious we needed to do something different to help Gabi ? Instead we see Zinny’s form fall a cliff in that game and the two after. Why not play Tomi ahead of Benny White in either of those games when Ben was really struggling rather than asking him to start his first game in ages v City of all teams. What does Trossard have to do to earn a start ahead of… Read more »


Arteta was spot on, Partey’s absence had nothing to do with the result. Tomi’s back pass with his wrong foot, Gabriel’s feeble pass, eddie’s missed headers. There were a lot of poor decisions and passes made by players tonight. Let’s hope we snap out of it and make the odd change to shake players up


What Arsenal Lacks compared to other title winning side is experienced players and squad depth…bar Xhaka Zinc Jesus and Partey pretty much every other player is inexperienced for their ambitions. Leicester did it cause they had no serious competition, no European games, out of the cup games pretty early and a really experienced back line of Huth, Morgan etc. plus a stable midfield Kante, Drinkwater. Vardy and Mahrez in their absolute prime as well. If Partey Odegaard Jesus and Saka can stay fit we might still have a chance. They are the most crucial players in my assessment. Plus our… Read more »


You need to be flexible in your tactics – Man City wee flexible and Arsenal did what they always do .
He needs to reevaluate the tactics because champions league will be next to slip from us

Walter White

We are level on points with a game in hand. How come people don’t see us in the title race anymore?


We have lost three of the four last games two of which were Man City – doesn’t fill you with hope does it ?


And City still need to play vs United…🙂


They’ve already played twice


We’ve lost two matches in the league this year against teams we are competing with for the title and we didn’t have Partey in both of those games. Jorginho didn’t have any glaring errors and was generally fine, but he cannot impact the game like Partey can and does. We have players that can come in and do a good job for Partey and Jesus, but they are unique players in our squad and we are not the same level of team when they are not in there.

Bill Hall

Thoughts … As much as losing to that self-entitled, overpaid manbaby hurts underestimating the *new manager bounce* at Everton and being robbed of three points by Lee fucking Mason and his attempts at VAR annoyed me more. If we had won those two matches this would be consigned to the *oh well, still 5 points ahead with a game in hand* bin! It’s annoying that all three city goals were caused by avoidable defensive errors by us. It’s also annoying we weren’t at our best, it’s not we were that bad but against city you have to be 101% for… Read more »

Bill Hall

The other point worth making is we are WAY overperforming this season. Nobody expected us to be playing anywhere this good for so long. To be top for so long is incredible!

Karl g

This is worth remembering. At this time of the season it is great to be invested and excited. It is just hard to take when we have lost so few matches until this month.

He’s got no hair but we don’t care...

You’re right it’s no excuse. What is an excuse is you failing to see that Martinelli’s form has dropped and you fail to put in Trossard. Or failing to mix it up and bench Eddie, put Trossard on the wing and Martinelli up front.
I’ll get a barrage of thumbs down for this but the challenge is no longer the title it’s staying in the top 4.

Santi’s Thigh Grab

Thank you chicken little.

He’s got no hair but we don’t care...

Haha. You’re welcome.


Nah, if Partey was not injured, City would not have been able to press so high and control the midfield. Don’t agree. Just look at the stats. Whenever Partey is injured or out of the game completely, we will lose. 1. Lost 3-1 to Man U, Partey injured did not play. 2. Lost 1-0 to Man City FA Cup, Partey substituted due to rib injury and we let in the winning goal 3. Lost to Everton 1-0. Partey was substituted due to rib uncomfortable, we let in the headed that was the winning goal 4. Lost to Man City 3-1… Read more »

Boy Bastin

Yes, he’s quite right and not just about using the absence of Partey as an excuse but the other excuses that have been mounting up since the FA Cup defeat by City which started this run of poor form. The fact is that in the four games from that defeat onwards, we’ve scored ONE goal in open play. Just one! You don’t win matches unless you score goals. Even against Brentford (and allowing for VAR and all that went with it) we had eight shots on their goal and put the ball in once – the only time we’ve scored… Read more »

Boy Bastin

One goal in open play in the four matches from the FA Cup defeat against City should tell us pretty much everything. Unless/until Arteta and his staff can find a way to get the team scoring again on a regular basis our title bid is going to get shakier by the game.


Incredibly interesting matchup that I am sure many other young managers in the league will be watching and rewatching for some time.

Share article

Featured on NewsNow

Support Arseblog

Latest posts

Latest Arsecast

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x