Thomas Partey is expected back in Arsenal training in approximately 3 weeks, according to Team News released on Arsenal.com. The midfielder sustained ligament injury in his right ankle from an absurd, late, sliding challenge from Ruben Loftus-Cheek, the kind of challenge that has no business anywhere near a friendly and would have been a clear yellow card, if not a red, in a competitive match.
Found the specific mechanism of injury for Partey (see picture).— Dr. Rajpal Brar, DPT (@3cbPerformance) August 1, 2021
This is typically indicative of a “high ankle sprain” aka syndesmotic tear. These typically come with a 4-6 week return timeline if a grade 1 injury. Recent example is Harry Maguire. pic.twitter.com/syae1CWCjk
I always take online injury assessments with a big grain of salt because the best a doctor can do from a video and not speaking to the player and manipulating the injury themselves is “it looks like this which means this” but his assessment doesn’t seem that far off. Dr. Brar also did a video breakdown.
“Back in training in three weeks” means that Partey will have been out for four from the date of the injury, and then he’ll need to get back up to match fitness and playing speed. He will definitely miss the season opener away to Brentford and Chelsea’s visit to the Emirates. I can confidently say he’ll miss Manchester City on August 28th too, that’s three weeks from today. I expect he’ll use the international break at the start of September to work back to fitness with an eye to returning against Norwich on September 11.
If you want a glass half full look, Arsenal should (fingers crossed) be able to beat Brentford without Partey. If they can’t, I’m afraid the club has bigger problems. The Gunners have played Chelsea well of late and face them in the home opener with fans back in the stadium, which should provide a boost. Arsenal probably weren’t getting anything out of away to Manchester City.
So Partey’s absence may not cost the Gunners much in terms of points. He might have made a difference against Chelsea, but I think come season’s end, we won’t look back on whatever result Arsenal manage against the Blues as an “if only” moment. The bigger problem is whether the injury lingers and the negative effect his absence has on the team settling back into Mikel Arteta’s style with the preferred 11.
In Partey’s absence, I’d like to see Sambi Lokonga get some time, but my gut is telling me Mikel Arteta will go with Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny unless Sambi really impresses against Tottenham in the last friendly of the summer.