Friday, March 1, 2024

Partey and Saka take part in Arsenal training

Arsenal’s recent injury issues appear to be easing with reports circulating that both Thomas Partey and Bukayo Saka both took part in first team training this morning ahead of tomorrow night’s Champions League clash with Lens.

Partey, who started the season anchoring the midfield, picked up a thigh / groin injury in training just after the 2-2 draw with Fulham on 26 August and has missed six matches.

While it remains to be seen if he’s part of this afternoon’s travelling squad, the Ghana international’s return to fitness bolsters the midfield at a time when there have been concerns over the load placed on Declan Rice. The summer signing was forced off in the North London derby and is also thought to be nursing a calf issue.

Saka has had to be substituted in the closing stages of Arsenal’s last two Premier League matches having taken knocks to his ankles. He sat out the midweek Carabao Cup win over Brentford but scored against Bournemouth on Saturday before limping off with 15 minutes remaining.

In his post-game comments, Mikel Arteta wasn’t sure about the extent of the damage but didn’t seem overly concerned. All the same, Saka’s participation in training is a boost as we head to France looking to build on the impressive 4-0 win over PSV Eindhoven on matchday 1.

As far as we’re aware only Gabriel Martinelli (hamstring) and Jurrien Timber (ACL) remain sidelined. We suspect the Brazilian will probably make his return after the upcoming Interlull.

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Partey back in time for the city game will be a huge boost.


Mikel needs to watch it with Saka, he won’t be lucky every time. Get Saka off the pitch as soon as the damage is done.


Many fans have been echoing this comment and sentiment. ItXs great that we want to get him used to playing 3 games a week, also great that the player himself is willing to play as many games, but he needs to be protected. City, Liverpool, and even United know how to get key players out of international duty, but we let Saka go to everything and play 90 minutes both for club and country all the time. There’s only so much the body can take.


You armchair experts don’t know anything. The best players can play every game and not get injured. How often in his prime did Messi get rested?

Reality check

Messi is a really high bar. Some players are exceptionally resilient, and you don’t find out until you throw them in the deep end. It is a gamble but to reach exceptional heights, you need exceptional players.


Messi rested when other team had ball. Rarely involved defensively. Saka would leave Messi well behind in an end to end sprint which saka performs several times a game.
poor comparison


Not in his early career that only really happened in his 30’s. In Rijkaard and Guardiola’s team he was in exactly the same position and did a lot of sprinting and defending.


Messi wasn’t playing in the PL.


No but whenever he played an English team in the CL he would usually have a ball, in both senses of the word.


I agree Messi and Ronaldo played loads and so did many of their team mates. Also an example from our own team last year would be Xhaka who was rarely injured. Some players are more robust and can (and want) to take the increased load as it keeps them sharp and playing. They also often have less training to do as teams want to manage their workload so would probably perfer to be playing than ‘resting’.

Johnny 4 Hats

Although I do agree, I feel some of the vitriol and criticism aimed at Arteta is a little insulting to his intelligence. Mikel knows exactly what he is doing. As Balague said “I think our understanding of football is about 5% of Arteta’s”. It’s impossible that Mikel hasn’t considered this from every angle. Plus, he has medical reports and communication with the player that we just aren’t privy to. Saka has never broken down in the four years Arteta has been in charge. Maybe for some players (Messi and Ronaldo did it their entire careers) they just need to be… Read more »


Beautifully and reasonably put, Johnny! (Can I say “chapeau” to the man of many hats? Of course I can!)


I think you (and many others) might be overvaluing the impact of banter and debates about football tactics, players’ performance/effort, and the like on a fan blog.

We all chat about what we think is best for the team. Sometimes we believe things could have been better (even Blogs and James and the rest of the team do the same), so we post a comment about them and senselessly argue. Without doubt Arteta is a far superior football mind to any of us, but it’s boring when it’s all “the leader is good, the leader is great!”

Johnny 4 Hats

Arteta lies to the press, he makes his number 2’s disappear (Steve Round) and his kill count (Ozil, Auba, Mustafi, Kola…) is as long as your arm.

Face the facts. This is a dictatorship baby.

Just you wait, the next time he’s asked about Aaron Ramsdale, his answer will be “We have no player by that name at our club”.


Lol…this was geniunely one of your best pieces of work J4H! I literally LOL’d!


When has anyone ever stated that on these boards, or anything close to it? What did J4H state that was blindly supportive of Arteta? You (and many others) undervalue the impact of positivity at our club which can easily be undermined by over-the-top internet comments by children losing their minds. There is a difference when the same set of fans who scream about how ‘Arteta is clueless’, also have some unreasonable opinions on some of our players. When things are finally going better for us there are internet tools still condemning out players and manager. Imagine when we lose a… Read more »


I trust Mikel in almost everything football-related more than I trust my own judgment, but not as much as related to injuries and resting players, partly because of previous comments he made (the best players need to be able to play twice every week or something to that extent) and partly because I think I myself and most people would make the same mistake in his position. It’s extremely difficult to leave Saka and Odegaard out of lineup or take them out because they’re so damn important to us winning games, so I get why he has trouble doing so.… Read more »


Doesn’t seem overly complicated. Injury is a possibility for every player, at anytime, regardless of data (Timber). Where the situation allows, surely players should be rested. You don’t get another chance to run the experiment if his acl goes.

Teryima Adi

Arteta expects his players to be Spartans on the pitch.

Man Manny

Why wait till the damage is done? What’s the point then?


Cue the outrage when Partey is at RB vs City.


Partey is very important. While Rice is definitely a quality player. He is not as technical as Partey who remains one of the best line breaking passers and DM’s in the league, if not Europe. Forget the experiment at RB, he is a DM and should be used in conjunction with Rice or rotated with him.

Teryima Adi


Naked Cygan

I wouldn’t even start Saka tomorrow. The game against City is much more important given the key players they have out. We have enough quality in our team to beat Lens without Saka, and if we need him he can come of the bench. Don’t Risk Saka!

Naked Cygan

Hopefully Trossard can get some minutes too and come back into the first team.


Seriously underrated player!


Is he back to normal training?

Naked Cygan

Idk but he was on the bench against Bournemouth.


Really great news, Thomas could be sooo important against City’s midfield, really hope he can come back for that.

If we can get Martinelli back for that would be even better, always important to have a direct speedster like that to counteract Pep’s tiki taka (remember how well Theo always played against his Barca teams). But if it’s any risk at all, save him for after the interlull.


Party might not be match fit enough to make any impact. A shame because I suspected Arteta had plans of starting him and Rice together in midfield in these big games.


TP5 at RB no thank you. Just leave the back four as it is please, especially against citeh and if you want to play TP5 pair him with rice and remove an attacking midfielder


Hopefully that little experiment is mostly dead and dusted. Gabriel has been a beast at the back – never warranted dropping and has proved it. The Saliba-Gabriel axis is arguably the best pairing in the league, and White by-far-and-away the most underrated RB in the EPL and right up there among the best.


Yeah no, I’d rather have the usual back four with TP at 6, Rice at 8 and Kai on the bench (play him tomorrow at Lens instead) in these big games for now


given that martinelli is unlikely to feature it’s a choice between Kai, Nketiah and Vieira, (with Trossard, ESR, Nelson, as back up)
Normally, it should be that who plays against against Lens, is rested for Citeh, which is the hardest game, but with MA… you never know,

A Different George

I think the idea was more a midfield of Partey, Rice, and Odegaard, rather than Partey at right fullback. That allows Zinchenko to do his thing more confidently, but requires Rice to play a more attacking role than normal–something I think he is well capable of. This is not related to Havertz issues–I think Arteta would have been tempted by this regardless of Havertz’ form. But it’s pretty academic–Partey is unlikely to be match fit, especially to face City.


Exactly. Long term I’m not at all against the “Havertz at 8” plan but please let’s take our time with this rather heavy adaptation (for both the team and Havertz) and see it work consistently against lesser sides and him gaining more confidence in that role before trotting it out vs City.

Var will solve the problem

I’m not worried about Partey not playing the City game. Rodri is suspended and Bernardo and KDB unavailable and Gundogan left so I’m more confident this time around. Plus we owe them one after a run of bad referring, ill luck and mistakes, this is the game I’m hoping everything falls together.


They have enough great players backing them up in that billion pound squad, and Partey is also super effective for pressing them and as an extra defender against Halland and Alvarez with his height, strength and athleticism. We can pull it off without him but he does help

Var will solve the problem

Absolutely agree! I would rather have Partey in the team than not but I’m not as worried as I was last year if he were out injured since we have Rice. Zinchenko considers Partey as the best (holding)midfielder ( that included Rodri, Fernandinho, and Casameiro) and I agree.


No need to play Saka tomorrow. Keep him fresh for the Man City game, and let him heal whatever knocks he’s carrying.


Think Havertz could be the RW rotational piece to give Saka rest like in this instance? ESR I guess? Vieira?


I’d play Viera or ESR. We should play the first 11 that will start against Man City (except Saka) to get some kind of warm up


Against City we could go really structured:

Tricky, though. Vieira appears more suited to going out wide. More likely is Partey just isn’t ready:


Wouldn’t play Saka tomorrow, really no need for it, though I’m also low-key starting to think he might be indestructible….


I’m wondering if Arteta is resistant to trying anyone else there because we don’t really have another left footed winger and maybe that’s key to his tactics, but I really do feel like we can afford to try a non inverted winger there occasionally. Nelson earned a start with his display v Brentford, or ESR or Tross or Fabio could put in some nice crosses from there surely, maybe make use of our BFG 2.0 to head some balls in from open play?

Waka waka hey hey…


Ode has also been playing a shit tonne of games. Didn’t he also play against Brentford in the Carabao Cup? He must’ve been involved in every game so far this season.


Great news. Glad to see most of our players making fast recoveries


Saka shb subbed at HT.

A Different George

Obviously we want to win on Tuesday, and obviously Arteta wants to win every match; coming first in the group also matters for the next round match-up. But this is an unusual situation. It’s not only that we go first if we beat City, it’s that the entire psychology of the season might be altered (for City, as well as for Arsenal). So Lens is currently 15th in France (normal for French teams except PSG to lose their top players as a “reward” for doing well). I’m not saying play the kids. I’m saying, we can beat them with Smith… Read more »

Teryima Adi

Let’s pray he reads Arseblog. 😄


Wouldn’t put it past Mikel to have Saka and Partey out in training JUST so our next opponents thinks they are fit but actually aren’t, while martinelli was hidden away pretending to be injured but is ACTUALLY fit 😅.

But jokes aside, glad those two are in contention, although I feel saka should def not start against Lens even if he is 100%, get him on in the 70th minute or something Mikel? And imagine Partey is still a week or two away from being match fit, lets have him back against Chelsea.

Cranky Colin

V Lens…….
Play Thomas and Not Saka.
Please, pretty please!

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