Mikel Arteta has been handed a big boost ahead of Thursday’s crunch Europa League clash with Benfica after Thomas Partey was pictured in full first-team training.
The midfielder has been out with a muscle injury since the 1-0 loss away to Aston Villa back at the start of February with the Spaniard confirming earlier in the month that the issue was worse than first feared.
There’s been less than positive news about Rob Holding, who wasn’t pictured in training after suffering a head injury in the loss to Manchester City last weekend.
Is Thomas Partey Arsenal's most important player?
Whilst the Ghanaian was a big miss in the first half of the season, you feel the side have adapted well to his absence in the second half of the season. Dani Ceballos and Martin Odegaard have both worked well collectively to fill the gaping hole left by the midfielder in recent games especially the first-leg versus the Liga Nos outfit.
However, moving forward, you can’t help but feel Partey’s return would add a different dimension to the Gunners’ team. The range of teams in this year’s Europa League is far and wide with the likes of AC Milan, Manchester United, Leicester City all competing to win the competition.
Partey’s towering presence would be a key asset on and off the ball given the almighty run around Arsenal were given against the Citizens last weekend. You can’t help but feel that many of the sides left in the tournament would pose similar threats, making the £45m man a crucial player.