Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta has confirmed Thomas Partey is feeling ‘comfortable’ and ‘in a good space’ after returning to full training but says he will make a late call on the midfielder’s fitness ahead of this weekend’s FA Cup third-round tie with Newcastle.
Deadline day arrival Partey has been absent since last month’s north London derby defeat at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, where he aggravated a previous thigh problem.
The injury means the Ghana international has played no part in Arsenal’s resurgence over the winter period, missing the club’s victories over Chelsea, Brighton and West Brom.
Asked for an update on Partey’s fitness at his pre-match press conference on Thursday morning, Arteta said: ‘Well, we’ve got an extra two training sessions.
‘We will assess after that whether he’s completely fully ready to start or participate against Newcastle or if we’re gonna leave it another few days for the Palace game but he’s been training really good.
‘He’s comfortable. He’s not aware of the injury right now. He’s done more than what he did after the injury when he played against Spurs.
‘So he’s in a good space, a good mood and you can see the player he is when he’s training.’
The Gunners have also been without another of their summer signings, Gabriel, for their last three games after the Brazilian defender tested positive for Covid-19 at the end of December.
An official statement on Arsenal’s website confirmed Gabriel is now ‘feeling well’ but the centre-back is yet to return to training and is unlikely to feature at the Emirates on Saturday.
Arsenal statement on Gabriel and Thomas Partey
‘Gabriel previously tested positive for COVID-19. He is feeling well and is showing no signs of illness. Only on the successful completion of the necessary protocols and medical checks in the coming days will Gabriel be able to return to full training with the squad.’
‘Thomas is now back in full training with the squad after recovering from an injury to his left thigh. Thomas will continue to work hard to establish match fitness after being out of action for a month. He will be assessed regarding his availability ahead of Saturday’s match.’
Arteta said the ‘spirit and energy’ in the camp had significantly improved as a result of their upturn in form.
‘It’s great to win the last three games obviously,’ he added.
‘The spirit the energy around the place, the vibe is always better. I’ve been better myself.
‘Over this Christmas period to win three games in a row is never easy in this league. And we’ve done it and hopefully we can pick a much better run.’
‘We are the holders we have to defend that title.
‘We know what it means for the football club and the history that is related to the FA Cup.
‘It’s a great competition to play for us.’