Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey tipped for injury comeback ‘very, very soon’ as Tottenham derby looms

 (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
(Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Ghana boss Otto Addo has suggested that Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey could be back to fitness “very, very soon”.

The influential midfielder was set to start for the Black Stars in their high-profile friendly against Brazil in Le Havre on Friday, only to become a late withdrawal from the starting XI due to a precaution over what was initially reported as discomfort around the knee.

Partey had only just returned from a month out with a thigh injury in the 3-0 Premier League win over Brentford before the international break, a sixth victory from seven matches that left Mikel Arteta’s high-flying Gunners sitting top ahead of Manchester City and Tottenham.

Concerns that the 29-year-old may be set for another spell on the sidelines were heightened when, having missed the Brazil match, he withdrew altogether from the Ghana squad ahead of their second fixture against Nicaragua in Lorca on Tuesday.

An official statement from the Ghana Football Association stated that Partey had been given permission to travel back to London for further assessment on a knee injury suffered just minutes before the 3-0 defeat by Brazil.

Setback: Arsenal had only just got key midfielder Thomas Partey back in action after a thigh injury (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Setback: Arsenal had only just got key midfielder Thomas Partey back in action after a thigh injury (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Addressing the issue on Monday, Ghana coach Addo explained that they did not want to risk Partey in a friendly and expressed hope he would return very quickly.

“Hopefully Thomas will be healthy very, very soon,” he told reporters. “We didn’t want to take that risk in a friendly game to play him against Brazil, but surely playing a player like him against a squad like Brazil would have been helpful.”

While uncertainty over Partey remains as a huge north London derby showdown with Spurs looms at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday lunchtime, Arsenal are set to have Martin Odegaard back in contention.

The captain missed the win at Brentford with a calf knock sustained in training, staying behind for a few days to work with Arsenal’s physios before subsequently joining up with the Norway squad.

He returned to full training with Stale Solbakken’s side and started the Nations League defeat by Slovenia in Ljubljana on Saturday, playing more than 70 minutes before being substituted. He will also expect to start against Serbia in Oslo on Tuesday as Norway enter a shootout for promotion from Group B4.

Arsenal left-back Kieran Tierney was withdrawn before half-time of Scotland’s win over the Republic of Ireland at Hampden Park on Saturday, but Steve Clarke insisted the change was merely a precautionary measure. It later transpired to be a head knock that forced him out of the squad to face Ukraine in Krakow on Tuesday.

Arteta appears notably short on senior full-back cover with Tierney joining Oleksandr Zinchenko and Cedric Soares in the treatment room, with the likes of Emile Smith Rowe, Mohamed Elneny and Reiss Nelson also nursing injuries ahead of a frantic pre-World Cup fixture schedule that starts against Tottenham and Liverpool.

Another player capable of operating at full-back, Takehiro Tomiyasu, played for Japan against the United States in Dusseldorf on Friday before being recalled to Arsenal early due to what were described as “club circumstances”.