Arsenal Manager, Mikel Arteta, has not given a return date for Thomas Partey after the midfielder missed out on Arsenal’s defeat to Manchester City with an injury.
The 29-year-old is now a major doubt to once again be unavailable for the Gunners’ 12:30pm clash at Aston Villa tomorrow – live on talkSPORT.
Prior to Arsenal’s biggest game of the season, Partey was ruled out with a muscular problem on the day of the match.
Partey, who was in attendance at the Emirates to cheer on his teammates, was replaced by January arrival Jorginho in the lone defensive midfield role.
It was the first match that the Ghana international has been unavailable for since Arsenal‘s 3-1 defeat away at Manchester United in September.
Speaking to Amazon Prime prior to kick-off, Arteta said of Partey: “It’s what happens in football. Players pick up injuries.
“Unfortunately, Thomas felt something in his back muscle and he wasn’t available to play today.” And in his post-match press conference, the Spaniard declared he is unsure when the ex-Atletico Madrid man will be back ahead of the trip to Villa.
Pressed for an update on his fitness, Arteta stated: “We don’t know. It’s what happens, it’s part of football.
“I think Jorgi played a good game and we have to assess Tommy to see how bad it is.”
Asked how late did he find out that Partey wouldn’t be able to play against City, Arteta remarked: “Very late. Very, very late.”
A potential spell on the sidelines will be a huge blow for Arsenal, who are in somewhat of a mini-crisis having failed to win any of their last three Premier League games.
They have now dropped down into second spot – level on points with City – though they do have a game in hand over Pep Guardiola’s men.
Arteta’s side will have to get back to form to make sure they don’t lose ground on City with the goal difference the only thing separating the two.
However, Arsenal do have an advantage if they can stay close to the Citizens as they still have a game in hand.
Arsenal’s game in hand over Man City is at home to Everton on Wednesday, March 1. It will kick off at the Emirates at 7:45 p.m.
The fixture was originally due to take place on Saturday, September 10 but was postponed due to the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
A win for the Gunners could potentially see them regain the advantage in the title race and move back to the top of the Premier League table.
Although they could already be there if they are to better Man City’s results up until the game in hand is played, in which case, three points against Everton would move them further clear.
However, they lost only their second game of the season to the Toffees in Sean Dyche’s first game in charge of the Merseyside club.
So, despite the two teams battling at opposite ends of the table, the clash will definitely not be an easy one for Arteta’s men.