Thomas Partey will have one final test to determine whether or not he’s available to play for Arsenal in their second leg against Benfica.
Summer signing Thomas Partey has had plenty of injury problems this season, the latest of which was a hamstring issue he picked up against Aston Villa on February 6th.
Initially, reports suggested the injury would force Partey out of both legs of Arsenal’s Europa League tie with Benfica. However, the player has since returned to individual training, then full squad training, and there’s now a possibility he might be fit for Athens.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Mikel Arteta explained that Partey still needs to come through one final test in training. But the signs are definitely there for an earlier return than previously reported.
“Thomas is very close,” Arteta confirmed. “He’s got a final test today in training. If he’s feeling good, he will be available to play the match.”
We’ve seen the difference Partey can make to this Arsenal side. He brings something completely different in midfield, moving the ball quicker and with greater purpose, which could be crucial if Benfica set up as defensively as they did in Rome.
Arsenal also have fixtures against the likes of Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur in the next few weeks, so whether or not Partey passes the fitness test for Benfica specifically, it would be great to have him back.