Thomas Partey was a surprise starter for Arsenal as they lined up for their third round League Cup match against AFC Wimbledon on Wednesday night, but why did Mikel Arteta take a chance with him when Arsenal play Spurs this weekend?
When the team news was announced for Arsenal’s game against AFC Wimbledon, more than a few people were concerned to see Thomas Partey’s name in the starting lineup.
Here was our most important midfielder, who has a history of injury problems with Arsenal, and who is only trying to get back to full fitness following his pre-season ankle injury, starting in a competition only Spurs and Jose Mourinho really care about.
Partey was taken of after 60 minutes, replaced by Emile Smith Rowe, who scored Arsenal’s second after Alexandre Lacazette had given the Gunners’ the lead in the first half from the spot.
alex lacazette with a beautiful penalty for the first goal i saw at the emirates❤️ pic.twitter.com/WExmjAAsXE
— alyssa #KroenkeOut (@alyssaryxn) September 22, 2021
Here’s Emile Smith Rowe’s goal which made it 2-0 tonight
— Back Again W/Troopz Podcast (@backagain) September 22, 2021
Eddie Nketiah’s delightful backheel flick finished the scoring for the evening and, with Arsenal safely through to face Leeds at the Emirates in the fourth round, focus turned to Partey and if he’d managed to come through the game unscathed.
A majestic finish from Eddie Nketiah 🤩
— Back Again W/Troopz Podcast (@backagain) September 23, 2021
“Yes it was [always the plan to take Partey off after an hour],” Arteta told reporters after the match.
“He hasn’t played a lot of minutes since he’s been injured. We believe the rhythm of matches is nothing like any training session. I think it was very beneficial for him.
“We didn’t think [it was a risk to play him] and that’s why we made the decision to play him – but it’s always a risk when you play a match or have a training session at the intensity that we train.
“We believe it was the right thing to do and he was really pushing for it, so I think it worked out well.”