We’ll hear from Mikel Arteta this morning ahead of our trip to Newcastle tomorrow, and perhaps we’ll get some updates on the injury front. He has basically already confirmed Thomas Partey will be out for a few weeks (how many? Your guess is as good as mine), and he has refused a couple of times to put a time-frame on Gabriel Jesus so I don’t think he’ll be drawn on that – even if there have been reports since he’s out until December.
The other worry is Emile Smith Rowe who felt something in his knee after the Sheffield United game (I assume), and Arteta said on Wednesday:
He’s got an injury in his knee and he’s going to be out for weeks.
Not a couple of weeks. Not a few weeks. Just weeks. Which feels a bit more open-ended. I hope it’s not serious. After such a difficult time with surgery, injury, and falling out of favour, he was just beginning to work his way back into contention. So much so, that in the last five or six weeks, he played more minutes than he did in the entirety of last season. It suggested that the work on the training ground was going well, certainly to the manager’s satisfaction, and it would be a real blow for him if he was to be sidelined for any significant period of time.
As for Partey, I wrote about him last week, and the latest news makes me even more convinced this is a player whose unreliability places him very firmly in the category of someone we need to move on from. On his day, a genuinely outstanding player who brings something to our midfield that makes us a better, more cohesive side. And while I know he was picked in a different position at the beginning of the season for ‘tactical reasons’, you have to go back to the start of May for the last time he started a game in midfield for us.
We are a Declan Rice injury or suspension away from a Jorginho/Mohamed Elneny double-pivot. Which, with all due respect to both of those chaps, is far from ideal. And I get it. Injuries can happen. Clubs can only do so much, and when it comes to Partey I don’t think we could possibly have done more with regards his fitness. Literally sending a physio away with him on international duty, but that in itself might tell you he’s being held together with bits of string and duct tape. If I were Mikel Arteta or Edu, I’d be having some sleepless nights over our midfield, not least because I don’t even think there’s much chance of addressing this issue until next summer.
I guess you could have a similar conversation with regards Jesus, but there are some differences. His problems are connected to a traumatic event, the knee injury he suffered last season. That then required a bit of follow-up surgery, which only took a couple of weeks, and the hamstring strain could well be connected to that too. It’s not as if, as it seems with Partey, he’s breaking down slowly before our eyes.
Saturday evening aside though, when you really do want big players like Jesus and Partey to be involved, the fixture list is relatively kind. A couple of home games in the Champions League, an Interlull, Burnley and Wolves at home, and Brentford away take us into December. Taking nothing for granted, but we ought to have the depth to get through those games well enough, and if those guys are back for December and the eight games we play that month, then hopefully their absences won’t be too costly.
Anyway, we’ll see what the manager says this morning, and I suspect he’ll be pressed further on how Wednesday night’s performance will influence his thinking for the Newcastle game. We’ll bring you the press conference highlights on Arseblog News, and I’ll leave you with a brand new Arsecast recorded yesterday.
All the links you need to listen subscribe are below – and don’t forget we’ll be previewing the Newcastle game on Patreon later this afternoon. For now, have a good one.