Sports News of Sunday, 10 January 2021
Mikel Arteta has given an update on Thomas Partey’s fitness ahead of Arsenal’s clash with Crystal Palace.
Arsenal forked out £45 million ($61m) to bring Partey to Emirates Stadium from Atletico Madrid in the summer transfer window.
It was hoped that the 27-year-old would add much-needed steel and determination to Mikel Arteta’s line-up, but injuries have disrupted his start to life in north London.
Partey was sidelined with a thigh issue after a 3-0 defeat to Aston Villa on November 9, and made an unsuccessful comeback during a derby loss to Tottenham the following month.
The Ghana international had to be hooked after 45 minutes of the 2-0 reversal, with the Gunners subsequently forced to make do without the midfielder throughout the Christmas period.
Supporters had hoped that Partey would be back for an FA Cup third-round tie against Newcastle on Saturday following his return to training, but Arteta opted against including him in his final matchday squad.
The Spaniard explained that decision after the 2-0 victory, telling reporters: “Yes because we assessed the situation, how much training he’s done, the boxes that he ticked and he was still a little bit short.”
However, Arteta went onto deliver a hint that Partey could form part of his plans when Arsenal play host to Palace in the Premier League this week.
He added: “Hopefully we will have him in the squad on Thursday. Let’s see how he trains in the next couple of days. He’s really good at the moment.”
Partey’s reintegration into the squad could help the Gunners maintain their impressive recent run, with four successive wins easing the pressure on Arteta after a poor start to the season.
The 38-year-old was being tipped to leave the Emirates after overseeing a seven-match winless run, but a 3-1 win over Chelsea on Boxing Day sparked a turnaround in fortunes.
Arsenal followed up that result by beating Brighton and West Brom, and they are now sitting just six points adrift of the European places in the top-flight standings.
A victory over Palace could see them move into the top half before focus shifts to another home fixture against Newcastle on January 18.