Thomas Partey is back in full training and expects to play against Brentford at the weekend, per multiple reports. The Ghanaian midfielder has been out with a thigh problem since reporting tightness while training before the Fulham match. Partey’s return would be a massive boost for Mikel Arteta and for Arsenal — nobody else at the club can do all the things that Thomas does at the base of the midfield.
And that’s not to throw shade on the performances put in by Sambi Lokonga. He’s looked better each time he’s set foot on the pitch. But he’s still very much a work-in-progress that could do with lower-pressure matches, like the Europa League. Thomas Partey is a complete, prime-age player who was expected to be the midfield engine this season.
That “expected” bit is important, however. Since joining the club, Partey has missed 36 matches to injury. He’s coming back from a recurrence, or at least an injury in the same area, as the problem that kept him out at the end of last season. He has been called into the Ghana side for their upcoming friendlies. Perhaps Arsenal would do well to keep him out against Brentford and then suggest to his national team that it would be better if he stayed in London to work on his fitness.
Of course, if the Arsenal medical staff say Partey is ready to go and not at any increased risk, we have to take their word for it. They’re the professionals, after all. But we’ve seen this story before. Partey comes back (maybe a bit too quickly), plays a match or two, gets hurt again, and is out even longer. Let’s hope we don’t get a repeat of that storyline. I’ve grown rather tired of it.