Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has confirmed a double injury blow for the club following their shock 3-0 Premier League defeat at Crystal Palace on Monday night.
The Gunners had the chance to reclaim their fourth position from Tottenham Hotspur with a point against Palace, but they were simply second best during the opening half.
Palace went two goals ahead after just 24 minutes on the clock. The Gunners tried to get back into the game after the interval but squandered some good scoring chances.
They eventually suffered a damaging 3-0 defeat at Selhurst Park. Wilfried Zaha piled the misery on the north London giants, scoring from the penalty spot in the 74th minute.
Despite the result, Arsenal are only goal difference behind Tottenham for the final Champions League spot with a game in hand, but certainly have bigger concerns to deal with.
Kieran Tierney picked up a knee injury in the lead-up to the London derby. Elsewhere, Partey suffered a fresh recurrence of his thigh problem before the penalty conceded.
Judging by Arteta’s post-match comments, it appears likely that the duo could be ruled out for the remainder of the campaign. Tierney in particular has gone to see a specialist.
Arteta said on Tierney: “He’s seeing a specialist tomorrow and we will know more about the extent of the injury then, but the feeling that he had it wasn’t really positive and what the scan showed either, but we will have to wait and see what happens.”
He added on Partey: “I don’t know, but he felt something in the same area that he got injured previously, so it’s a big concern.”
Arsenal went into the international break with plenty of optimism, but things are now looking gloomy with two of their main first-team stars on the sidelines for the run-in.
While the club have options to cover up for them, it was always anticipated that the lack of sufficient experience on the bench could potentially derail their top-four ambitions.
It’s not the end of the road for the Gunners by any stretch of the imagination, but the likes of Albert Sambi Lokonga and Mohamed Elneny have big shoes to fill in Partey’s absence.
Meanwhile, Nuno Tavares has looked out of sorts from the left-back position when Tierney has been missing. It won’t be a surprise if Arteta decides against starting him again this season.
This presents another selection headache for the Spaniard. He may not want to play Bukayo Saka in defence, considering his impressive goal contributions in the final third of the pitch.
Granit Xhaka played as the makeshift left-back in the second half yesterday, but his services are required at the heart of the midfield with the anticipated absence of Partey hereon.
Cedric Soares could be an alternative if Takehiro Tomiyasu is deemed fit to start at right-back. Club graduate Joel Lopez could be an option, but has yet to make a senior appearance.