It was a big blow for Arsenal’s Top Four hopes when Thomas Partey was substituted during our game against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park after aggravating his right thigh, and we ended up losing that game and the following two as well, handing the advantage in the Top Four race to Tottenham.
But although Arteta seems to have refound the balance in the team and we have got back to winning ways, there is no doubt that we have been a much better team with a fit and flowing Partey in the middle of the pitch.
Recently there have been reports that Partey’s recovery has been acelerated and hopes have been increasing that he could be could even return in time for the North London Derby, but now Charles Watts has been speaking to his contacts and thinks that Gooners should not hold out such high hopes at the moment.
Watts said on his personal podcast: “I’ve seen suggestions doing the rounds on social media that he could be well ahead of schedule in his return to fitness. In that press conference ahead of the Southampton game, Mikel Arteta seemed to rule him out for the season, saying it wasn’t good news on Partey and he would be surprised if he played again this season.
“I spoke to someone close to Thomas Partey this morning and he said he wasn’t ruling anything out. But it’s just a case of let’s see how it goes. He said Thomas has a history of coming back from injuries a little bit quicker than expected. No-one is right now, as far as I’m aware, looking at it and thinking Thomas is going to be involved for the final two weeks of the season or anything like that.
“Temper your expectations and your excitement when it comes to Thomas. He is clearly working hard, you’ve seen the videos on social media. He is doing all he can to be involved at some point between now and the end of the season but I don’t think Arsenal will be taking any risks.
“Even if he does return with a week to go, he’s missed all of that football, lacking match sharpness. You certainly don’t throw him in. You saw what happened when Arsenal threw him in against Tottenham last season when he’d been out for a long time, it backfired spectacularly. You don’t want something like that again.
“You want Thomas Partey to be fit because Arsenal are a better side when he’s playing but he needs to be bang up for it with match fitness. He’s trying, nobody is ruling anything out but it’s a case of wait and see how he comes through this period of rehabilitation.”
To be fair, we have all seen what happens when Mikel Arteta rushes some players back from injury too quickly, and they only ending up breaking down again and then the recovery takes even longer. I think it would be much more sensible to let him get his fitness back slowly, and then rest over the summer and get a full pre-season of training to prepare for the next campaign.
At least we’ll have Tomiyasu back….