Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has raised doubts that Thomas Partey could miss the rest of the season, describing his thigh injury as “significant” and a “little ambiguous”.
The Ghana midfielder had to come during Monday’s surprise 3-0 defeat to Crystal Palace, which damaged his club’s chances of finishing in the Premier League’s top four.
Arteta has also backed Nuno Tavares to bounce back from being hooked at half-time of that match, ahead of facing Brighton at the Emirates tomorrow. But he was less hopeful about Partey’s situation.
“It is a little ambiguous, but he has a significant injury, and we’ll have to keep assessing him, but he will be out for some weeks,” he said.
“It’s an area where he had a previous injury, and he felt it straight away – he’s not fit.”
With Kieran Tierney out for the rest of the season, Tavares filled in at left-back – but he was substituted and replaced by Gabriel Martinelli at half-time after he was given a torrid time at Selhurst Park. But Arteta is sure the young Portuguese defender will not suffer from a crisis of confidence.
“Throughout your career, you have to go through some difficult moments. That’s the development curve of a player, it’s very much with ups and downs, and we are here to try and help him and make his career better,” said Arteta.
“I care a lot about how they feel, we are here to help them and make their careers better. That was a decision that hurt him, obviously, but I believe it was for the benefit of the team, and now he has to react to that situation, it’s a great opportunity to learn a lot.”
Although Tierney is ruled out for the rest of the club season, after having an operation on a knee injury, there remains hope he might be free to play in Scotland’s World Cup play-off with Ukraine – and then possibly Wales – in June.
Asked whether the left-back could make it back in time for those matches, Arteta was keen to avoid him rushing his recovery.
“I don’t know yet, he just had surgery yesterday, it’s very early to understand how everything is going to develop,” he said.
“I think the player has to do the maximum that he can to be in the best possible condition as quick as possible, I’m sure Kieran will do that. Once he’s there, we will work out the risk.”