Arsenal: What's going wrong for Mikel Arteta?
Mikel Arteta has confirmed Arsenal’s worst fears as Thomas Partey is set to miss a “few matches” with injury. The Gunners midfielder limped off during the 2-0 defeat to Tottenham.
Speaking ahead of Arsenal’s final Europa League group game against Dundalk, Arteta delivered the bad news regarding the Ghanaian star.
“He got injured in the same area, but not in exactly the same spot as before,” the manager revealed. “He had an MRI yesterday, there is an injury there, he will miss the next few matches.”
Partey, who joined Arsenal in a £45million move from Atletico Madrid in the summer, has been plagued by injury since his arrival at the Emirates.
After picking up a thigh injury in the 3-0 defeat against Aston Villa on November 8 and missing a month of football, Partey was thrust back into the starting line-up for the North London Derby on Sunday.
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However, the midfielder was unable to see out the game, limping off as Spurs poured forward to score their decisive second goal.
Arteta denied the club had rushed the player back into action before he was ready to return.
“No, he did incredibly well, he was confident,” he added. “We tested him three times and he had no symptoms.
“But in football you have a lot of unpredictable actions. He went into the floor, his knee got stuck, after he needs to stretch and get up.
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“Immediately he put a lot of stress in a similar area and he felt it again.”
In the immediate aftermath of the defeat, Partey came in for criticism from his manager over his decision to leave the field of play while the opposition were mounting an attack.
“I wanted him on the pitch, doing whatever he could for the team in that situation. No one expected him not to be in that position.” Arteta said in his post-match press conference.
“I was trying to push him back on the pitch, I don’t think he realised the gravity of the situation when he left his position.”
The result left Arsenal down in 15th place in the Premier League, 11 points behind their table-topping arch rivals and shockingly, hovering dangerously above the relegation zone.
Under-fire Arteta hopes to arrest a dismal run that has seen them lose six matches already this season, including five of their last seven.
Arsenal go into a busy Christmas period hoping to turn their season around but Arteta will have to make do without Partey for the foreseeable future.
The player himself took to Instagram to react to the news and vowed to come back stronger, as well as throw his support behind his manager.
“Being part of the Arsenal family is something incredible for me,” he wrote. “Since the day I arrived I have felt so supported.
“The coach had a great influence in my decision to join this team and even though we had some bad results I know we are building something good together.
“I have had the bad luck to suffer an injury but I hope I can play again soon and fight for this team.”
In contrast to their league form, Arsenal have won all five of their Europa League matches so far this campaign and hopes to make it six from six in Dundalk.
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