Thomas Partey ended up missing both Ghana fixtures over the international break, but Arsenal remain hopeful he’ll be fit this weekend.

Thomas Partey with Ghana (Photo via GFA Communications)
Thomas Partey with Ghana (Photo via GFA Communications)

Ghana left it late to secure progression to the next round of the World Cup qualifiers, drawing with Ethiopia to ensure only a win in their final game would be enough.

The side were hoping Thomas Partey would have joined up with them by the time they played against South Africa on Sunday, but he was unable to.

Fortunately for Partey and his national team, Ghana won anyway to book their place in a two-legged qualification play-off for the final tournament.

According to Charles Watts, the plan was for the midfielder to fly out on Friday. Unfortunately, he was still receiving treatment at Arsenal at that stage.

All the same, Arsenal are “still hopeful” he could be fit for the match against Liverpool.

You’d think there’s at least a good chance of a timely recovery, given the South Africa match was even a possibility.

Partey will have almost a whole extra week between that game and the Liverpool clash, and he’s avoided having to fly back and forth between continents.

The Arsenal midfielder was initially ruled out of action with a tight groin, in the build-up to the Premier League match against Watford.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles took Partey’s place alongside Albert Sambi Lokonga for that game, and he may well get a call-up again if the 28-year-old doesn’t recover in time.

arsenal v watford premier league 1
LONDON, ENGLAND: Ainsley Maitland-Niles of Arsenal battles for possession with Juraj Kucka of Watford FC during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Watford at Emirates Stadium on November 07, 2021. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

There’s also the possibility Mohamed Elneny takes Partey’s place, if Mikel Arteta is looking for a more defensive option against the league’s top-scoring side.

Personally, I’d argue that Arteta needs to pick a side that can attack. Liverpool are so good in front of goal that you can’t simply rely on keeping a clean sheet. Arsenal probably need to score at least one to even pick up a point.

If Partey is available, he provides a nice balance between attack and defence. Otherwise, Arteta has a decision to make.