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Thomas Partey injury update

The Arsenal midfielder picked up an injury in training.

Arsenal Training Session Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Thomas Partey picked up a groin injury in Arsenal training on Thursday, August 31st and is set for some time on the shelf, according to the Ghana team doctor. The Ghana FA’s statement says the midfielder will be out for “a couple weeks,” per the Arsenal doctors, which is better than the rumors circulating online that Partey might miss a few months.

The timing of the announcement from the Ghana FA is likely irksome to Arsenal, who probably would have preferred not to give Manchester United injury information that might aid in their preparation and / or game-planning.

The injury leaves Arsenal reliant on Oleksandr Zinchenko to play the inverting fullback role. And we all know that the Ukrainian has had his own struggles to stay fit and available. The Gunners, who were undone by injuries in the second half of last season, are off to an unfortunate injury start this season. The aforementioned Zinchenko started the season on the shelf. Jurrien Timber, brought in as another option in the inverting fullback roll, tore his ACL 50 minutes into the season. And now Thomas Partey, who has been inverting from right back, is hurt.

Partey, who was durable and mostly injury free while at Atletico Madrid, cannot seem to stay healthy at Arsenal. He’s played about half the total games since he joined the Gunners. His recent injury record might have something to do with his age. He was 27 when he joined Arsenal and is now on the wrong side of 30. As players age, some of them pick up injuries more frequently.

Right now, Arsenal have quality cover. Mikel Arteta might have wanted to switch his lineup around and move Partey back into midfield with Zinchenko available to start as the inverting fullback, possibly pushing Declan Rice up into the left #8 spot. But with the Ghanaian out, Arteta’s hand is somewhat forced. Declan Rice will play at the base of the midfield and Kai Havertz, who some wanted to see shifted to the bench, will play the left #8. The level of the starting XI shouldn’t suffer.

Jorginho is a capable backup at the base of the midfield, but Arsenal are an injury or two in the back half of the formation away from trouble. There’s not much that could have been done about it, either. Mikel Arteta and Edu spent more than £200M to add cover and depth in the necessary spots of the Arsenal setup. It’s just bad luck that injuries hit two of those positions early in the season — inverting fullback and the base of the midfield.

The good news is that if Partey’s injury only keeps him out a few weeks, the upcoming international break will provide most of the necessary recovery time. He won’t miss as many matches as if the injury had happened either a week or two earlier or later.