What’s the latest?
That’s according to Otto Addo, with the Ghana manager revealing on Monday (via the Evening Standard) that, despite withdrawing from the Black Stars starting XI just minutes ahead of their 3-0 defeat to Brazil last Friday due to a knee injury – before subsequently returning to north London – the 29-year-old will return to fitness “very soon”.
Regarding the condition of the midfielder, Addo said: “Hopefully Thomas will be healthy very, very soon. We didn’t want to take that risk in a friendly game to play him against Brazil, but surely playing a player like him against a squad like Brazil would have been helpful.”
Great news for Arteta
With Addo suggesting that Partey’s withdrawal from the Ghana squad was more precautionary rather than a result of a serious setback, the international manager’s comments will undoubtedly be great news for Mikel Arteta and his side ahead of such an important fixture this weekend.
Indeed, despite having already missed four league fixtures this season as a result of a thigh injury, the £32.4m-rated talent has nevertheless proven his importance to Arteta over the four top-flight games in which he has featured, making an average of 2.5 tackles, 0.8 interceptions, 50.8 passes and winning 6.3 duels – at a success rate of 51% – per outing.
These metrics have seen the £200k-per-week midfielder average an extremely impressive SofaScore match rating of 6.90, ranking him as Arsenal’s joint tenth-best player in the English top flight in 2022/23 – playing an influential role in the Gunners’ current top-of-the-table position.
The 29-year-old was also one of Arteta’s key players last time out, averaging a SofaScore match rating of 7.00 over his 24 Premier League appearances in 2021/22, seeing the former Atletico Madrid star rank as Arsenal’s fourth-best performer in the division last season.
It is performance levels such as these that have seen the 40-cap international earn a significant amount of praise from his manager, who said of Partey following a 3-0 win over Newcastle United back in January 2021:
“I am really happy. He got better and better as the game went on. He has a big influence and gave us things which were different from any other player. We have to protect him as he’s not played that much.”
Speaking after the same fixture, Granit Xhaka added of the Ghanaian: “He is very important to our team. He brings a lot of experience on a high level and he showed today how important he is for us and we are so happy.”
As such, should Partey be deemed available for the north London derby on Saturday afternoon, it is clear to see that the midfielder’s return would come as a huge boost to Arteta and his side – as a victory over Spurs would not only give their supporters the local bragging rights but also ensure the Gunners retain their first place standing in the league.