2021 has been pretty decent to the Gunners so far. With two shut-out wins since the calendar closed on 2020 and in the midst of a four match winning streak across all competitions, the mood has shifted drastically since Arsenal’s nearly-two month slump to end the horror-show that was 2020. However, injuries to pivotal players have kept Arsenal fans from feeling too assured.
New signing Thomas Partey has missed considerable time with a nagging hamstring issue, rising star Gabriel has been sidelined after a positive COVID test, and Gabriel Martinelli was diagnosed with an acute case of Arsenal DNA, suffering an untimely ankle tweak just weeks after returning to action from a long-term knee injury.
Thankfully, Chris Wheatley provided Arsenal fans with a massive sigh of relief with an updated injury report today, and it appears that, against all odds, Arsenal’s roster is nearly at full health.
Arsenal confirm that Gabriel is available for Thursday's match against Crystal Palace.— Chris Wheatley (@ChrisWheatley_) January 12, 2021
Gabriel Martinelli will miss the game but his injury is not as bad as first feared. Back in training in a few days.
Thomas Partey set to be assessed ahead of the Palace game. #AFC
Perhaps the most important piece of news is the update on Gabriel Martinelli. After having just returned to first-team action following a grueling 5+ month recovery from a knee ligament injury, the talented young winger rolled his ankle during warm-ups before Saturday’s FA Cup clash with Newcastle. Initial reports painted a grim picture, stating that Martinelli was “in tears” following his injury. Mikel Arteta seemed to confirm the severity of the injury during a press conference afterward, saying that it “does not look good.”
The new report is far more promising. After undergoing scans on the injured ankle, the damage is not as severe as previously anticipated. With Arsenal’s young starlets spearheading the revitalization of Arteta’s side, Martinelli has looked poised to contribute with two solid appearances for the Gunners this season.
Gabriel, who has become one of the revelations of the season, was quarantined after a positive COVID-19 test. His absence is yet another painful reminder of the severity of the pandemic. He has completed the league-enforced COVID protocol and is back in contention for the starting line-up.
Partey’s recovery might be the most important of all. The midfielder joined Arsenal from Atletico Madrid over the summer but has yet to have a consistent run of form. Featuring in only five of Arsenal’s 17 Premier League matches this season, the Ghanaian international has struggled with a hamstring injury, which most recently saw him limp off the pitch against Spurs in the North London Derby. In his limited appearances, he has been a noticeable difference maker in the middle of the pitch, and with the emergence of Emile Smith Rowe, fans are clamoring to see Partey contribute to the Gunners’ improved midfield play.
So, say a few prayers, knock on wood, and make whatever offerings to whatever ancient deities you need to - Arsenal are nearly healthy, folks.