Ex-Arsenal player Alan Smith believes Thomas Partey is vital to their fortunes and will be a big concern if he misses the North London Derby.
- Partey remains a doubt for the NLD
- Was injured while on international duty
- Smith believes Arsenal should not over-rely on Partey
WHAT HAPPENED: The 29-year-old Gunners star suffered another injury setback while with Ghana during the international break. He missed friendly matches against Brazil and Nicaragua where the Black Stars lost 3-0 and won 1-0, respectively. He returned to England for medication but his club has not yet confirmed whether he will be involved for Saturday’s North London Derby against Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium.
WHAT HAS SMITH SAID: “Partey is a big concern. He is so important to that Arsenal team and to that midfield,” Smith said as quoted by Football London.
“We saw without him against Manchester United there were big holes in that midfield that allowed [Bruno] Fernandes to put those balls through. I don’t think that would have happened with Partey in the team and you don’t want to be reliant on one player quite to this extent, he is so important.
“[Mohamed] Elneny is out for a period of time so they are short in midfield. They need Partey in there and that could tip the balance. With him, they are so much more of a solid side able to support that talented attack.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Arsenal have won all the league matches Partey has played this season. After his initial injury, he missed matches against Fulham and Aston Villa, as well as the 3-1 loss away versus Man United at Old Trafford.
He made a return at Brentford when the Gunners won 3-0 before the international break.
A win on Saturday will guarantee the Gunners the top spot for another week while Spurs will overtake them if they manage to get maximum points.
DID YOU KNOW: Arsenal have won their last two Premier League home games against Tottenham, last winning three in a row against them between February 2012 and September 2013.
WHAT NEXT FOR PARTEY AND ARSENAL? After the North London Derby, Arteta’s team will play Bodo/Glimt in the Europa League before hosting Liverpool in their next league game.
‘Partey is a big concern for Arsenal – Smith
Can Arsenal defeat Spurs without Partey in the North London Derby?