Arsenal are gearing up for a highly-anticipated Premier League showdown with Manchester City, a fixture that could go a long way in deciding this season's title race. Unfortunately, the Gunners have been rocked with a huge injury blow ahead of this must-win fixture.
One of the club's most crucial players has picked up a knock ahead of this Emirates Stadium affair and that man is none other than Thomas Partey, the midfield marshal at the heart of their unexpected title push.
The Ghanaian ace was pictured in Arsenal's training session on Tuesday, but as revealed by well-known Arsenal correspondent Charles Watts (and later corroborated by the Athletic), the 29-year-old picked up a muscle injury and will sit this game out.
No Thomas Partey tonight. Huge blow for Arsenal.— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) February 15, 2023
Big night for Jorginho……
While the issue is not thought to be serious, his absence is still a major concern. Arteta is already without the likes of Mohamed Elneny, Gabriel Jesus, Emile Smith Rowe, and Reiss Nelson and might have to make do without Partey for a handful of games.
Sambi Lokonga left on loan for Crystal Palace while Jorginho was signed on Deadline Day after the Gunners' failed pursuit of Moises Caicedo, meaning the former Chelsea midfielder will deputize.
Nonetheless, this is a huge blow due to the Ghanaian's importance to the current leaders. Arsenal have lost only two games so far in the Premier League this season and those defeats came in a game where Partey did not feature (the 3-1 loss at Old Trafford) or was taken off early (the 1-0 defeat at Everton).
The stats paint a clear picture of his importance to Arteta's set-up. The North London giants' win percentage in the English top flight when Partey starts is 63%. However, in his absence, that figure drops to 47%.
Additionally, from all of the current Emirates Stadium midfielders, the former Atletico Madrid ace leads the table in terms of tackles, interceptions, and possession won in the midfield third. This means a rethink might be needed from the team's Spanish manager.
Additionally, Saka and Co. desperately need a victory after failing to win their last three games in a row. One of those fixtures was an FA Cup defeat at Man City while the other two came in the Premier League, losing 1-0 at Everton before drawing 1-1 at home to Brentford — albeit thanks to a huge blunder from VAR.
As a result, Arsenal's lead at the top has been slashed to three points. While the hosts have a game in hand, the Cityzens can leapfrog their rivals into the no.1 spot with a win, thus making this Emirates Stadium tie an exciting battle.