Arsenal have lately been having crises in their midfield following the departure of a few players to African Cup of Nations competitions and others out on loans like Ainsley Maitland Niles. However, Thomas Partey managed to travel back to North London hours after his national team got knocked out from group stages following the 2-3 defeat to Comoros. Why would Mikel Arteta fail to start him on this crucial match?
Despite being the most reliable player at Arsenal's midfield, Thomas Partey missed training with the club few days ago and his fitness could be doubted by the manager. However, Mikel Arteta could not risk leaving him out of the squad as that would predispose his weaknesses should any unavoidable circumstance arise during the match.
Also, the fact that Emile Smith Rowe is back provides Mikel Arteta with squad freshness and playing him alongside Albert Sambi Lokonga can give a promising new energy to the entire team. Should either of the two get outshined, Mikel would tactically bring in Partey to seal the void.
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