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Injury Update

Six (6) Arsenal alternatives for Thomas Partey ahead of Leads United clash

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Arsenal will be without Thomas Partey for the upcoming stretch of fixtures, starting with Leeds in the Premier League on Sunday and potentially including the return leg of the Europa League round of 32 against Benfica.

Partey suffered a thigh injury during the 1-0 defeat at Villa Park (Image: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Hearing in the aftermath of the Aston Villa defeat that the issue was only minor, and seeing a seemingly unbothered Thomas Partey walk casually off the pitch raised spirits ahead of a week-long break from action.

Then on Thursday the news hit of the Ghanaian’s absence for the weekend, which was followed by further information regarding the length of time sidelined. Up to two weeks of rehabilitation appears to be the result.

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It’s somewhat unclear whether it is 14 days before he returns to training or back in action, but for the time being all that is concerning is him not being available for the next two matches. The rest we’ll see after.

6 Arsenal alternatives for Thomas Partey after the midfielder was ruled out through injury for two weeks
Something will now have to change.

Mikel Arteta’s marquee signing not being available isn’t new to him. He’s had to deal with the setback before, missing eight matches of the season to date and starting only nine. It’s still a crushing blow.

With traits no other member of the midfield troupe possesses, how he goes about maintaining the balance in that area becomes arguably his biggest task.

As such, he has to find some alternatives for Partey to not only avoid disrupting the status quo, but to halt the current slump. Here are the options facing him, on the educated assumption that Granit Xhaka will start.

Does anybody want to see a Mohamed Elneny and Xhaka double pivot? No, didn’t think so. But in truth, there is no partnership anyone wants to see other than Xhaka and Partey, so it’s tough luck on that one.

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Bringing Elneny into the fold will counteract all the positive elements that Partey brings. With eyes only ever in the back of his head, every pass slows down the play or brings it to a crashing halt. Leeds would thrive on that. With the pressing of Raphinha, Patrick Bamford and Jack Harrison, as well as the rest of the team, Elneny’s negativity would merely invite unwanted pressure on top of already unwanted pressure.

What he is OK at is receiving the ball under pressure from Bernd Leno and going wide, but his passing both short, medium and long has been beyond average in the cameo appearances he’s had of late, so his ‘best’ feature becomes null and void. However, he’s arguably got the best stamina of all the other options.

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