EPL

Arsenal midfielder Partey 'devastated' by injury woes, says Arteta

By Sports Desk February 12, 2021

Thomas Partey's injury problems since joining Arsenal have taken a toll on the midfielder, according to manager Mikel Arteta.

Partey joined the Gunners for £45million from Atletico Madrid in October and appeared a perfect answer to a problem position in the midfield engine room.

However, a hip issue meant he was restricted to four Premier League starts before the turn of the year and was forced off at half-time during the latter of those.

He returned to start in five consecutive league matches from mid-January onwards but the 27-year-old Ghana international sustained a hamstring injury during last weekend's 1-0 loss at Aston Villa.

Speaking ahead of Sunday's match against Leeds United at Emirates Stadium, Arteta conceded Partey's latest setback is more serious than first anticipated.

"It is a difficult one, he felt something during the game and we didn't think it was too bad but after the scan looked a little bit worse," he said.

"He won't be available to play against Leeds and we will see how it evolves in the next two days, but it is a muscular issue.

"He was devastated, we were all devastated because we know the importance of Thomas and we haven't had him since we signed him.

"I think he has only played 90 minutes once since he has come back from injury, so it is a big blow for us.

"But he is adapting to the league, he has been very unlucky as well and he is very frustrated because he is a very competitive guy who wants to feel important and be important for the team.

"At the moment the injuries are restricting a lot of game time for him."

Kieran Tierney is also out of the Leeds match, but the Scotland defender at least has light at the end of the tunnel following a knee sprain and is expected back in training next week.

"We have to see how the knee reacts when he starts to get a bit more load," Arteta explained.

"He hasn't had much left but he is very positive at the moment, he is in good spirits and he is desperate to get back in the team and we will see in the next few days.

"The moment he starts to train with the team [we will] see how he is feeling and how he reacts."

Nicolas Pepe was sent off when the sides drew 0-0 at Elland Road earlier in the season but the club-record signing has had a better time of things lately, scoring in each of the recent trips to Southampton and Wolves.

"Again, he can maintain that level now for months, not weeks," Arteta said, although he feels the improvement by the former Lille winger is clear to see.

"I think there has been a click with him, even in his mentality, how he's approaching every training session, the importance of every action in the game and how he can sustain his focus and his determination during games.

"I really like his attitude. What he's done in the last few weeks I think it's been much better.

"He still has a lot of room to improve and grow and he's willing to do that so I'm expecting him to go to the next level very soon."

Related items

  • 'Good things are coming' – Messi looking forward as PSG celebrate Mbappe decision 'Good things are coming' – Messi looking forward as PSG celebrate Mbappe decision

    Lionel Messi believes "good things are coming" after ending his first season at Paris Saint-Germain with a 5-0 win over Metz, as the Parisians celebrate Kylian Mbappe's decision to stay with the club.

    But while highlighting his delight at helping the club to their 10th Ligue 1 title, Messi also recalled the "bitter taste" of March's Champions League elimination against Real Madrid, a tie in which he still believes PSG were the better team.

    Messi recorded an assist as PSG rounded off their season by thrashing Metz, with the Argentine ending his first campaign at the club with 25 goal contributions in 34 appearances across all competitions (11 goals, 14 assists).

    The 34-year-old's first season in France has not gone entirely to plan, however, with the Parisians squandering a two-goal lead in their 3-2 aggregate Champions League defeat to Los Blancos in March.

    That collapse led to both Messi and Neymar being jeered by their own supporters in subsequent matches, while head coach Mauricio Pochettino has come under increasing pressure after his failure to deliver PSG their first European crown.

    Nevertheless, a celebratory mood surrounded PSG after Saturday's announcement that Messi's strike partner Mbappe had agreed a three-year contract extension with the club.

    The 23-year-old, who was heavily linked with a blockbuster move to Madrid, celebrated his new deal with a hat-trick that take him to 45 Ligue 1 goal contributions for the season (28 goals, 17 assists) – the highest tally across Europe's top five leagues this term.

    Reflecting on a mixed first season in Paris, Messi expressed his belief that the club was on course for better things next term.

    "The season is over, and I wanted to thank my teammates for how they treated me since I arrived and my family for always accompanying me and supporting me," Messi wrote on Instagram, alongside an image of him celebrating with team-mates Mbappe, Neymar, and Marco Verratti. 

    "It was a different year because of everything that happened, but at the end of it all we achieved a league that I was very excited to achieve, because of what it means to be the first trophy here in Paris.

    "We are left with the bitter taste of losing in the Champions League in a tie that we were being better [in], and at the same time, I want to be left with the joy of having added another title that was also one of the objectives.

    "Surely good things are coming in 2022; it will be an important year, and we are going to fight to be competing with ambition for everything."

  • Lewandowski had his head turned by his agent, says Bayern director Salihamidzic Lewandowski had his head turned by his agent, says Bayern director Salihamidzic

    Wantaway Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski has had his head turned by his agent, according to the Bundesliga champions' sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic.

    Lewandowski last week confirmed that he has informed Bayern he will not be extending his contract beyond the end of next season when it is due to expire.

    The Poland international stated after the final game of the season against Wolfsburg that he had not received a proposal for new terms.

    However, Bayern chief executive Oliver Kahn insisted on Saturday that was not the case, with a "concrete offer" being tabled to his agent.

    Salihamidzic has now accused Lewandowski's representative of talking his client into a move away from the Allianz Arena, where he has spent the past eight seasons.

    "He got an offer. I don't know what the agent said to his player, but we definitely made an offer," Salihamidzic told Sport1 on Sunday.

    "We had a conversation with the consultant and said very clearly how we imagined the future, with a very clear sum and terms.

    "He has an advisor who has turned his head and has turned it all year round. It's not clean."

    Reiterating earlier comments made by Kahn, Salihamidzic vowed Bayern will not look to sell Barcelona-linked Lewandowski in the upcoming transfer window.

    "Robert has a contract until 2023 and he will fulfil it," he said. "We have the greatest respect for Lewy. FC Bayern have always behaved correctly."

    Lewandowski has scored 50 goals in 46 games for Bayern in all competitions this season, making him the top scorer among players from Europe's top five leagues.

    That is the second-most the 33-year-old has managed across his eight years in Bavaria, behind the 55 he netted in 2019-10.

    While questions will inevitably continue to be asked about Lewandowski's future, Manuel Neuer looks set to extend his stay with Bayern.

    Like Lewandowski, the Germany international's contract has just over 12 months left to run, but he is reported to have been offered a one-year extension on top of that.

    "I'm very optimistic. Manuel is one of the keys to success," Salihamidzic said. "Please be patient, but we're on the right track. We're on the home stretch."

  • Ronaldo 'not a pressing monster' - Rangnick hints at Man Utd 'compromises' Ronaldo 'not a pressing monster' - Rangnick hints at Man Utd 'compromises'

    Ralf Rangnick acknowledges Cristiano Ronaldo is "not a pressing monster", as he admitted compromising on his preferred style of play during an underwhelming six months as Manchester United's interim manager.

    Rangnick will take charge of his final United game at Crystal Palace on Sunday before moving into a consultancy role with the club, while reports suggest Ronaldo will not feature at Selhurst Park after suffering a hip flexor issue. 

    The 37-year-old has scored 18 Premier League goals since returning to Old Trafford at the beginning of the campaign. Despite United enduring a woeful season under both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Rangnick, that represents his second-most prolific campaign in the competition after 2007-08 (when he scored 31 times as the Red Devils won the title.)

    However, several commentators have pointed out the Portuguese striker's lack of off-the-ball work is an awkward fit with Rangnick's preferred high-intensity pressing style.

    United rank just 12th among Premier League sides for possessions won in the final third this term, with 162, some way short of Liverpool (278), and Manchester City (231), the two highest-pressing sides in the division.

    The Red Devils also rank 12th for possessions won in the middle third of the pitch, with 851, with Rangnick struggling to instil a high-octane style at Old Trafford.

    While praising Ronaldo for his goalscoring prowess, Rangnick acknowledged that pressing has never been Ronaldo's forte, hinting he may have made too many compromises on his coaching style during his time in charge. 

    "Cristiano Ronaldo, and I'm not blaming him at all, he did great in those games. But he's not a pressing monster," Rangnick told a press conference ahead of the trip to Palace.

    "He's not a player, even when he was a young player, who was crying, shouting, 'hooray, the other team has got the ball, where can we win balls?'

    "The same with quite a few other players, so we had to make some compromises at one stage, maybe we made a few too many – that's also possible."

    Rangnick has also been critical of United's lack of January transfer activity in the past, revealing this month that the club's board overruled his desire to sign another striker in January.

    Earlier this month, the former RB Leipzig boss said: "I spoke to the board and said: 'shouldn't we at least speak and try and analyse if we could get a player either on loan or as a permanent deal?' But in the end the answer was no."

    However, as Rangnick prepares to make way for Ajax boss Erik ten Hag, he reassured United's fanbase that they can expect arrivals in the upcoming transfer window.

    "We spoke about the last transfer window in January where we and the board decided not to sign any players, but this is different now," Rangnick added.

    "In this summer window there will be some new players and Erik will also have some influence on which kind of player he wants.

    "That will happen in this window and hopefully the next two windows, and I think it's obvious to everybody, for the owners, the board, and every supporter, we need to increase and raise the level of quality within the squad."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.