Arsenal boss Arteta gives injury update on three players for Villa

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has given an update on the fitness on three players ahead of the clash with Aston Villa on Saturday. The Gunners are aiming to return to winning ways after four games without a victory.

Thomas Partey missed the midweek defeat to Manchester City on Wednesday due to a muscular problem. Emile Smith Rowe was also absent, while Gabriel Jesus continues to recover from knee surgery.

Arteta says Partey will be assessed on Friday and a decision will be made then on his participation at Villa Park. Smith Rowe will train on Friday and be part of the squad unless he suffers a setback.

However, Jesus is still a way off returning despite being back out on the grass in recent days. The Brazilian has been absent since suffering a knee injury during the World Cup.

Mikel Arteta reviews Man City defeat

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Arteta said: “We have to assess [Partey] today again. He had some discomfort, a little muscle discomfort.

“We have to assess him and see how he is. Emile will be training today, if he’s fine he’ll be in the squad. Gabi is still not there.”

Arsenal’s four-game winless run started with the FA Cup defeat to City last month. They then suffered a shock defeat at struggling Everton before being held 1-1 by Brentford in controversial fashion.

Wednesday saw the Gunners fall off top spot for the first time since August. And Arteta is demanding more efficiency to return to the form of earlier in the campaign.

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He added: “Obviously you want to get maximum points and we didn’t in the last three games. We have to look at ourselves as well, we have to be more efficient for the amount of play and situations that we’ve generated.

“We haven’t had enough points and that’s down to us. We have to improve that because we want to win more games.”

Arsenal come up against former boss Unai Emery for the first time in a domestic match since he was sacked in November 2019. Arteta is expecting a tough game and is full of respect for his Spanish compatriot.

He said: “Well he always puts a difficult test. A very, very good manager, huge respect for him for what he’s done in every club that he’s been at, the success that he’s had. So big respect for him.”

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