Thomas Partey’s Arsenal return date ‘pencilled in’ after long injury lay-off

Thomas Partey has been pencilled in for an Arsenal comeback after missing almost two months of the season through injury.

Partey has made just six appearances for Mikel Arteta's side since signing from Atletico Madrid on transfer deadline day, having been sidelined with an injury he suffered against Aston Villa in November.

But the midfielder was back in training this week as the Gunners attempt to build on two successive Premier League wins when they travel to face West Brom this weekend.

Arsenal have struggled in Partey's absence, having slipped to just five points above the relegation zone before beating Chelsea and Brighton in the past six week.

And manager Arteta has said the 27-year-old will soon be ready to return – although it won't be against Sam Allardyce's Baggies on Saturday.

Arsenal's medical staff have instead slated Partey for a comeback in next Saturday's FA Cup third-round clash against Newcastle, according to Football London.

Asked earlier this week whether Partey could face either Brighton or West Brom, Arteta said: "Not yet. He hasn’t started to train with us yet so I think he’s a few more days away."

With Partey having been pictured training with his team-mates on New Year's Day, the midfielder's chances of facing Newcastle next week are looking good.

Winger Willian and defender David Luiz look set to be available for the trip to the Hawthorns after missing the last two games through ilness.

And Arsenal will hope Bukayo Saka is ready to return after his man-of-the-match performance against Brighton in midweek was cut short by injury.

The imminent return of Partey will be another boost as Arteta targets big improvements in 2021 following a miserable start to this season.

Partey suffered a thigh injury during the Gunners' 3-0 thrashing at the hands of Aston Villa in early November.

He missed Arsenal's next four games after that before starting last month's North London Derby against Tottenham, but was withdrawn at half-time during the 2-0 defeat.

The 27-year-old has missed six more games since then – and his absence has been felt, with Arteta's side having won just the two Premier League games since he first suffered his injury.

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