The international break is a club manager’s worst nightmare. It is a period they are unable to control the direction of their players and fear that unforeseen circumstances could destabilize their plans.
Arsenal are blessed with depth this season, and the Gunners are confounding the expectations of many with table-topping performances. Despite their depth, Mikel Arteta would be worried sick were he to lose any of his starting players.
During the international break, Arsenal received some not-so-good news as two vital players took knocks that might keep them on the sidelines for a while. Thomas Partey and Kieran Tierney returned abruptly from the international break following slight injuries received while on duty.
Arsenal sit on top of the Premier League table ahead of Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur. With the London derby coming after the international break, Mikel Arteta is worried about two key players who returned from international duties with varying degrees of knocks.
The goal at the start of the season may have been a place in the top four, but Arsenal has exceeded expectations and can start dreaming of winning the league. It is one game at a time, and the Spanish gaffer is worried about Thomas Partey and Kieran Tierney. Both players picked up knocks while on international duty.
Partey was billed to start for Ghana against Brazil on Friday but pulled a no-show minutes before the kick-off. The Ghanaian midfielder pulled up during the warm-up and was excluded from the match.
Initial reports suggested that Partey was still in line to play against Nicaragua on Tuesday, as the move not to play against Brazil was just precautionary. The midfielder has, however, returned to Arsenal for further assessment.
A statement read that the former Atletico Madrid midfielder was allowed to leave the Ghana camp and return to London for further assessment. Arteta hopes it is nothing serious and will be available for the clash against Spurs.
Arsenal are flying high this season, but so is Tottenham. The rivalry between these two London sides comes full tilt on October 1. The north London derby comes at the right time this season, with other teams in the top four and a few points separating them. Mikel Arteta is, however, worried about the availability of his Ghanaian midfielder Thomas Partey.
The Gunners are also worried about Kieran Tierney. Mikel Arteta will wait to see if the Scotsman will be available for the clash after he picked up a head injury against the Republic of Ireland on Saturday night.
Despite the injury, Tierney wanted to keep playing but was forced off the pitch during the first half of the Nations League clash at Hamden Park.
In other news, Takehiro Tomiyasu withdrew from the Japan squad due to club circumstances. Tomiyasu has had issues with his calf since the summer and missed the pre-season tour of the United States.
The Japanese full-back is yet to start a Premier League match for Arsenal this season as he has dropped down the pecking order behind Ben White.
Arteta needs his players fit and running as the Gunners face a massive run of matches in October with nine games.