‘Irreplaceable’ Arsenal midfielder doubt for title showdown with Man City after suffering rib injury


Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey is set to undergo an MRI scan this weekend to assess the severity of the rib injury he sustained against Manchester City on Friday night.

Pep Guardiola’s side secured a 1-0 win over the Gunners thanks to Nathan Ake’s second-half strike, and the result was made even worse for the London outfit as Partey was forced off injured at half-time.

The Ghanaian midfielder was replaced by Albert Sambi Lokonga after sustaining a rib injury in the first period – with Arteta confirming that the 29-year-old would be having an MRI scan over the coming days.

Partey has made 21 appearances for the Premier League leaders so far this season, with the former Atletico Madrid man playing a crucial role in the Gunners’ impressive start to the season.

Speaking in his post-match press conference, Arsenal boss Arteta explained what happened to the midfielder, saying: “Yeah he felt something and we didn’t want to take any risks so he could not continue.”

Asked if it was a bang to the ribs, the Spaniard replied: “Yeah, he had some discomfort and it was getting worse and worse. He could not continue and he was not comfortable to continue. No initial diagnosis. Tomorrow, or the day after, it will have to be an MRI scan and we’ll see what he has.”

The Ghana international is now expected to miss Arsenal’s next match against Everton on February 4, and with Mohamed Elneny out with a knee injury, Lokonga is likely to come in and play just in front of the back four.

Arteta continued: “Well, we have the injury of Mo at the moment and it’s not been possible to get him fit. Sambi’s come in and I think done well. That’s what we have. It’s true Thomas is a big influence and is a big personality and player in our squad and in the second half we didn’t have him.”

Indeed, Gary Neville described Partey on Monday Night Football as “the glue” of Arsenal’s side, insisting that he would be the most difficult player in the squad to replace.

Arsenal submitted an initial offer of £60million for Ecuador international Moises Caicedo on Friday, but the Seagulls quickly rejected the bid. However, the midfielder took to social media later that night to express his desire to leave the club.

City’s first Premier League clash against the Gunners this season takes place at the Emirates Stadium on February 15. Guardiola’s men are currently five points behind Arsenal.

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