When is Thomas Partey back from injury for Arsenal? Mikel Arteta delivers fitness update on midfielder & Emile Smith Rowe
- Midfielder missed crucial clash with City
- Muscle problem still causing issues
- England playmaker back in training
WHAT HAPPENED? The Ghana international midfielder, who has become a talismanic presence for the Gunners, was forced to sit out the crucial Premier League clash with Manchester City in midweek with a back problem. Arsenal lost that game 3-1, leading to them slipping from the top of the table, and Arteta was unable to speculate on whether Partey will come back into contention for the trip to Villa Park.
WHAT THEY SAID: Asked for an update on Partey, the Gunners boss said: “We have to assess him today again. He had some discomfort, a little muscle discomfort. We have to assess him this morning and see how he is.”
Arteta added on England playmaker Emile Smith Rowe and Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus, who have also been nursing knocks of late: “Emile will be training today. If he’s fine he will be in the squad but Gabi is still not there.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Arsenal head to Villa having gone winless through their last four games in all competitions, but Arteta is not overly concerned at a wobble being hit. He added on his side’s form: “It is normal. Obviously you want to get maximum points and we didn’t in the last three games. We have to look at ourselves. We have to be more efficient in the manner of how we play. In situations we have generated we haven’t had enough points and that’s down to us and we have to improve that because we want to win more games.”
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WHAT NEXT? Arsenal are only behind City in the Premier League table on goal difference and still boast a game in hand on the reigning champions, with a title bid still very much in their own hands as the Gunners seek to land a first top-flight crown since the ‘Invincibles’ of 2003-04.