Mikel Arteta has revealed that Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey will miss the “next few matches” after suffering an injury in Sunday’s north London derby defeat at Tottenham.
Arteta said it was not a recurrence of the same injury, while also defending his handling of the Ghana international’s return.
“He got injured in the same area, but not in exactly the same spot as before,” Arteta said ahead of Thursday’s Europa League group game against Dundalk.
“He had an MRI yesterday, there is an injury there, he will miss the next few matches.”
Asked if it was an unnecessary risk to rush him back, Arteta added: “No, he did incredibly well. He was confident. We tested him three times and he had no symptoms.
“But in football you have a lot of unpredictable actions. He went into the floor, his knee got stuck, after he needs to stretch and get up. Immediately he put a lot of stress in a similar area and he felt it again.”
Arteta had been critical of Partey for refusing to play on through injury on Sunday. The defensive midfielder left the field injured in the build-up to Tottenham’s crucial second goal.
The Gunners boss was seen attempting to push Partey back onto the field moments before Kane rifled Spurs into an insurmountable lead, and Arteta admitted his player was in the wrong to leave the pitch.
“Thomas is out, he’s limping, he’s in pain, he has to come off and we lost a man in that crucial transition moment,” Arteta told Sky Sports. “He has to fall on the floor.
“I wanted him on the pitch, doing whatever he could for the team in that situation. No one expected him not to be in that position.”
Speaking in his post-match press conference, Arteta added: “I was trying to push him back on the pitch. I don’t think he realised the gravity of the situation when he left his position.”
No Auba promises
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta insists that even captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should not automatically earn a place in his team as he looks to return the Gunners to winning ways.
Aubameyang has not travelled with the squad for Thursday’s Europa League dead-rubber against Dundalk.
Arsenal are already through to the knockout stages and have clinched top spot in Group B after a 100% record. But it is domestically where Arteta is struggling to find a solution to poor form and lacklustre performances.
One of the main problems has been a lack of goals; only the current bottom three have scored fewer than Arsenal’s 10 so far. What’s more, Aubameyang has not scored from open play in the league since the opening weekend.
Arteta said he has resisted the temptation to take the striker to Dundalk to try to improve his form. However, his recent blip does not mean he has an automatic place in his Premier League XI.