Mikel Arteta has given Arsenal fans cause for concern over both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Thomas Partey, contradicting previous positivity around the pair’s availability…
The club’s official update yesterday failed to name either of the above, which came as a huge relief for worried fans, but the manager has now dashed that positivity in his pre-match press conference.
PEA was seen to be stretchered off after the first of Gabon’s two international fixtures during the break, while the striker returned to north London without playing the second fixture. It was later claimed that his return was pre-planned, with his country no longer able to qualify for after Egypt sealed top spot with a match to spare.
Arteta has also moved to play down Partey’s potential inclusion, while there had been strong reports of positivity regarding his participation from a number of sources in recent days.
“No it wasn’t pre-planned [for Auba to fly home early], we have to assess him and see how he is and make a decision,” the manager said (as quoted at Arsenal.com).
“We have a lot players who have been through some different games, issues, little injuries, so today we have to test everybody and see how we are to play tomorrow.
“Same again [for Partey], he could not play for the national team, he really tried to do that because they had a massive game and he really pushed for that one, but he wasn’t close enough to do that.
“Again, it’s something we have to assess today.”
I hope that he is simply keeping Jurgen Klopp and his team out of the loop with his team news, and that he is being overly negative about their involvement, but I can’t help but feel a sense of worry now.
It seems that Empire of the Kop believes that Liverpool have their own injury issues to deal with at present, and didn’t put much onus on the potential positive update we believed we received yesterday, with a number of their players currently doubts for the clash.
Either of Auba or Partey would be a big blow to our chances of finding a victory at Anfield, while losing both could seal things before a ball is even kicked.
Do you think Arteta could be playing some mind games with his comments, or do we have to take his words with utter seriousness?