Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey is expected to miss the first few games of the new Premier League season after suffering an ankle injury in pre-season.
The Ghana international was caught by a heavy challenge from Ruben Loftus-Cheek during the first half of Sunday’s 2-1 defeat to Chelsea, and although he tried to continue, he was eventually forced off shortly before the interval.
Manager Mikel Arteta revealed after the game that the injury was ‘not looking good’, and now CBS’ James Benge has revealed that Partey is likely to miss the first game of the season against Brentford on Friday, 13 August,
That has since been backed up by football.london, who initially suggested Partey could miss a few games but have settled on the claim that only the Brentford match is in jeopardy.
Despite the obvious frustration, there is some relief that Partey has avoided a serious injury and the hope is that the 28-year-old will be back in contention for Arsenal soon enough.
Partey’s absence could bring forward the official debut of new signing Albert Sambi Lokonga, who has impressed in pre-season following his £18m move from Anderlecht earlier in the transfer window.
Alongside the Belgian could be Granit Xhaka, who is on the verge of signing a new four-year contract just weeks after it looked as though he could be joining Roma. Arsenal were prepared to sell but refused to lower their asking price, and once talks officially broke down, the Gunners quickly proposed a new contract for the Swiss international.
Returning loanee Joe Willock is also available, although Arteta may prefer to go for the more defensive-minded Mohamed Elneny – even though the Egyptian didn’t really cover himself in glory during the Chelsea game.
Arteta will use his side’s remaining friendly against Tottenham on Sunday to explore his options in midfield, with the pair who start that game likely to be given the nod against Brentford a week later as well.