Mikel Arteta has explained why he started Thomas Partey in last night’s League Cup clash against AFC Wimbledon despite injury concerns over the midfielder.
Speaking to the press via Football London, the Arsenal manager claimed that he made the right decision in giving the Ghanaian star the nod in midfield. Partey had come off in the previous match against Burnley, with the 28-year-old being on constant injury watch.
Partey suffered an ankle injury in pre-season against Chelsea which caused the former Atletico Madrid ace to miss the first three games of the campaign. Whilst the midfielder has returned to full fitness, there are still concerns.
The £50m summer signing from La Liga has faced numerous injury issues with Arsenal ever since his arrival last year. Partey has already missed more games with the Gunners than during the five years the Ghanaian spent with Atletico.
Yet Arteta’s decision to start Partey was justified. The midfielder shone at the Emirates and was substituted off early into the second half.
Speaking about the selection, Arteta said: “We didn’t think so that’s why we decided to play him. There’s always a risk when you play a match or when you have a training session.
“We believed it was the right thing to do and he was really pushing for it. I think it worked out well.”
Insider’s View: Injury-free Partey is in peak form for Sunday’s Tottenham clash
Arteta played with fire this week and won over selecting Partey against Wimbledon. But with the midfielder escaping the game with no injury or knocks, Arsenal now have one of their best players in peak form for Sunday’s North London derby.
Three points against Spurs will be a huge boost for Arsenal and Arteta. And having Partey fully fit for the crunch fixture will be key to the Gunners if they are to claim another win over their London rivals.