Arsenal and Mikel Arteta are once again taking no chances over the fitness of Thomas Partey during the international break. The 30-year-old, who has headed out to represent Ghana for their two friendlies against Mexico and the USA, made his return for the Gunners off the bench in the 1-0 win against Manchester City.
Alongside fellow substitutes in Gabriel Martinelli, Kai Havertz and Takehiro Tomiyasu, Partey was heavily involved in the goal as his forward pass into the Japan international was touched down into the path of Martinelli by Havertz with the ball nestling in the back of the net, via Nathan Ake, seconds later.
Partey had missed the last five weeks with a groin injury picked up in training just days before the 3-1 win against Manchester United at Emirates Stadium. In his absence, Gabriel Magalhaes and Oleksandr Zinchenko returned to the starting XI with Ben White pushed back out to right-back in place of Partey.
With his presence in midfield after inverting from full-back absent, Declan Rice and Jorginho have been used in the holding role with the latter starting against Man City this past weekend.
Considering his importance to the team alongside his consistent fitness issues, Arsenal have once again chosen to make a huge international break decision regarding the former Atletico Madrid man. Earlier in the year, Arsenal’s lead physiotherapist Simon Murphy travelled with Partey on Ghana duty and he has once again been captured with Chris Hughton’s side for their upcoming games, as spotted by X (formerly Twitter) user @OsmanZtheGooner.
Repeating this decision follows on from a report sent to the Ghana FA by Arsenal on how best to use the midfielder as he was returning from injury last year. The strong relationship between Ghana and Arsenal built up because of Partey has been on show throughout his spell in north London, but took a slight hit after Partey’s most recent injury.
With the Man United game coming just before the September international break, Arsenal were understandably trying to stop Partey’s issue becoming public, however that was made rather difficult as an answer had to be given to his country as to why the Gunners were not releasing him for international duty. Therefore, upon their squad being announced and an update being provided, it was made pretty clear Partey had suffered an injury just 48 hours before a huge game, however it appears there is no huge issue with Murphy allowed to join Partey in Ghana camp.