Mikel Arteta has revealed Thomas Partey will be out for several weeks and weighed in on the struggles of Nuno Tavares.
It was a night to forget for the Gunners on Monday as they were beaten 3-0 by Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace. Jean-Philippe Mateta put the Eagles in front, before being joined by Jordan Ayew and Wilfried Zaha on the scoresheet.
The result damaged Arsenal’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League. It also gave rivals Tottenham some hope of snatching the fourth spot from their grasp.
And the game wasn’t just bad from a points perspective. Central midfielder Partey went off in the 74th minute due to injury.
Ahead of Arsenal’s fixture against Brighton on Saturday, Arteta was asked about the 28-year-old.
He told a press conference (via football.london): “It is a little bit ambiguous but he has a significant injury. We have to keep assessing him but he’ll be out for some weeks.”
Mikel Arteta lines up Partey replacement
Summer signing Albert Sambi Lokonga could get a rare start in Partey’s place. On the Belgian, Arteta said: “He played quite a lot in the first part of the season but when you have no European football it’s more difficult to share the minutes. Great opportunity to show what they can do.”
Like Partey, left-back Nuno Tavares was taken off in the defeat to Palace. However, this was due to a poor performance, rather than a fitness issue.
“Throughout your career you have to go through difficult moments,” Arteta said of Tavares. “He had a good period when he arrived at the club and played more minutes than he was expecting
“He’s ready and he’s willing. He will be disappointed. There is nothing personal there.”
Arteta added: “I spoke with Nuno because I care a lot how they feel.
“That was a decision that hurt him but he understands that I felt it was for the benefit of the team. He respects that and now he needs to react.”
The first-choice left-back for Arsenal, Kieran Tierney, will likely miss the rest of the campaign after undergoing surgery on a knee problem.
“The player has to do the maximum he can to be in the best possible condition as soon as possible,” Arteta said.
The Spaniard also responded to questions about Scotland’s handling of Tierney. He featured in the friendlies against Poland and Austria, managing 90 minutes in both.
“Our responsibility is to look after them when we have them here,” Arteta replied. “With the national team it’s the job of Steve Clark to decide the team he thinks is best to win games.”