Thomas Partey will play no part in Arsenal’s clash against Aston Villa on Saturday lunchtime after struggling to shake off a muscle injury, with Mikel Arteta making two changes to his side.
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The Gunners lost their place at the summit of the Premier League table after suffering a 3-1 defeat at home to Manchester City on Wednesday – though they can reclaim top spot, albeit briefly, with a win at Villa Park.
Partey missed the top-of-the-table tussle against City and Arteta had been hoping he might recover in time to face Villa, but he has not travelled with the squad.
Speaking on Friday, Arteta had said: ‘We have to assess him today again. He had some discomfort, he had a little muscle discomfort. We have to assess him and see how he is.’
Partey has been in excellent form for the Gunners this season and his absence is a big blow as the team look to arrest a slump that has seen them win none of their last four games.
They were beaten in the FA Cup by City last month before losing at Goodison Park against Everton and then drawing at home to Brentford in controversial fashion – with VAR Lee Mason stepping down by ‘mutual consent’ after failing to spot an offside.
Saturday’s game sees Arsenal come up against former boss Unai Emery – whose side have lost their last two matches – but Villa have pulled off some surprise wins since the Spaniard took charge, beating the likes of Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United.
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