Arsenal’s December just got a whole lot worse.
With the world looking forward to the end of a year that will go down in history for all the wrong reasons, the news Arsenal had been fearing the most has done little to lift the mood.
Thomas Partey, the most talented midfielder in the squad, is nowhere near returning to the fold. The injury he sustained against Aston Villa that forced him off at half-time, while appearing innocuous, continues to worsen.
Not far off a month off from the Ghanaian sustaining his thigh problem, Arsenal have confirmed on their official website that no date has been set for the 27-year-old to even return to training, let alone to competitive fixtures.
In situations of injury, return dates can even be placed within a ball park number of up to six weeks. Partey doesn’t even have that.
What exactly is wrong with our summer signing appears a mystery, even if it’s been revealed as a thigh strain. Someone with a near perfect injury record has rocked up at Arsenal and has been cursed by the same spell that rocked the careers of Tomas Rosicky, Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby before him. Drastically premature, of course, but you can’t help but feel deeply disheartened.
Considering we don’t know the extent of the problem, the reasons for no date being set could be precautionary – as opposed to providing a set date that can’t be met, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Nevertheless, with the issues in midfield more stark than ever and the fixtures piling up at the busiest point of the season, the upcoming run-in (and perhaps even beyond) grows more perilous by the minute.
- Europa League: Rapid Vienna (H) – December 3
- Premier League: Tottenham (A) – December 6
- Europa League: Dundalk (A) – December 10
- Premier League: Burnley (H) – December 13
- Premier League: Southampton (H) – December 16
- Premier League: Everton (A) – December 19
- Carabao Cup QF: Manchester City (H) – December 22
- Premier League: Chelsea (H) – December 26
- Premier League: Brighton (A) – December 29
Whatever inner reserves the players have must be left on the pitch every three days. However supportive the fans can be, they must show it. It’s an overused expression, but December is month full of Cup finals.
Making the midfield click, however, will be key. Arteta has to try a different combination in that area or drastically change the job roles of his central trio. Without Partey, Arsenal are wounded, but these players have known each other for years now. Unity is essential to drag each other through this spell.