Thomas Partey ‘Days Away’
As confirmed on the official Arsenal website, Partey is now working outside with the ball and progressing well. No exact date has been set, although Arteta mentioned that his return is close.
"“Not yet [fit to face Brighton or West Brom]. He hasn’t started to train with us yet so I think he’s still a few more days away.”"
As previously seen with the midfielder, whatever time frame has been placed on his return can be somewhat ambiguous. The decision to play him against Tottenham proved to be a mistake though, so on this occasion we can assume they’re taking extra caution with their approach.
Brighton looks out of the question, so too West Brom, although there is greater belief the Hawthorns will be the setting for his next inclusion.
A solid team performance secured victory over Chelsea, one that while desperately needed can’t mask over the areas of the squad that require upgrades. Proven himself to be a mostly reliable squad option, that doesn’t detract from the reality that Mohamed Elneny and Partey are chalk and cheese in comparison.
How much better could Arsenal have been if the two had swapped places on Boxing Day? Once he returns, it’s no exaggeration to state that Arteta’s unit are categorically stronger. The victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford was Elneny at his finest and Partey close to his, yet the difference is that the Egyptian will not produce such displays regularly. Partey will.
Saturday was the closest we’ve come to seeing Arsenal as a complete machine. That said, it’s a machine with parts outdated or in need of replacing. Partey is the Lamborghini engine to Arsenal’s Fiat 500.
It’s not just him, either. This was a side without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or Gabriel Magalhaes, three players missing who complete the best looking spine this team has had for years.
While this win can spark this season’s renaissance, Partey will fly the flag.