According to The Athletic, Thomas Partey has been ruled out of Arsenal’s Leeds match after exiting the 3-0 loss to Aston Villa at halftime with an injury.
The return from the international break was always going to be an interesting, and potentially frustrating, match. Arsenal play Leeds United — a newly promoted side that has proven themselves more than capable of competing at this top level — while having to navigate the tricky waters of player fatigue.
It’s becoming a perfect storm of tension points — frustrations from fans and club about Arsenal’s last match against Aston Villa, a struggling attack that has yet to find a solution, a 3-4-3 formation that seems more like a crutch to many than the way forward, players returning from international duty having played a lot of minutes, and players testing positive for Covid during their travels. Suddenly the lineup selection and formation may not be as clear cut as it once was.
If it is clear, and it’s like to be a 3-4-3, which leads to two thoughts: 1. who is selected and who needs to be rested and 2. how will fans react to another defensive-minded performance against a side that will certainly want to initiate pressure, similar to Villa.
If the result at Elland Road doesn’t go Arsenal’s way, the fallout will run the risk of having many fan’s frustrations with Mikel boil over.
Personally, I believe Arsenal’s supporters need to acknowledge that their club are undergoing two massive projects and remind themselves of it frequently, but I respect that being “The Arsenal” carries a responsibility to find ways to get results now while also building toward the future.
It’s a tricky balance to strike, and one that has been made much trickier without the pairing of Elneny and Partey who seemed to be the standout duo after a nice win against Manchester United. It won’t be an option after this announcement and Elneny’s positive Covid test.
Time to get creative Mikel.