Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is hopeful that Thomas Partey will be available to face Leicester City over the weekend, while he has delivered an injury update on Gabriel Jesus.
The Gunners had a bit of a wobble recently as they lost 1-0 to Manchester City in the FA Cup before taking just one point from three Premier League matches against Everton, Brentford and City.
That saw Man City briefly go above them before Arsenal regained their place at the top of the Premier League with a 4-2 victory over Aston Villa last weekend.
Partey has missed their last two matches and Arteta is hoping the Ghana international can make it back in time for Saturday’s trip to Leicester, while Gabriel Jesus – who has been absent since the World Cup with injury – is progressing well.
Arteta told reporters on Friday: “Not a lot of changes. Obviously a question mark on Thomas. He hasn’t trained much but looks like he could be available so let’s see how he trains today. He is a really important player for us who we have missed in the last few games but hopefully he can be available.”
On Jesus, Arteta said: “He is progressing really well, he is doing more and more on the field. The knee is not reacting, so really positive. I would like to have him back as quickly as possible but we have to respect the time frame that we got from the doctors and the specialists – but he is really pushing the boundaries right now.”
Manchester United have recently moved into title cotention with Erik ten Hag’s side now three points behind City and five points adrift of the Gunners – but Arteta’s side have a game in hand on both sides.
Arteta added: “I think there are more [than two] teams involved and every day is going to be a race – a race to convince those players how to train better, to play better. Against Leicester we are doing to have to be really good to beat them, especially with the way they have been playing the last few weeks.
“We have to play really well to compete and try to win that game [at Leicester], which is going to be difficult. It is a challenge every week in this league.”
When asked about the players’ mood since beating Aston Villa last weekend, Arteta continued: “Much better mood, much more positive. The confidence is much better, the environment around training is much better. The fact the team showed the capacity in an adverse situation – when you are 2-1 down and played less than 72 hours before and everyone is expecting you to be tired mentally – to be able to come back and win the game is a real big boost for us. I see how much they want it.”
On contract talks with William Saliba and Bukayo Saka, Arteta said: “There is no news, but we want to keep our best players, the players we are developing. We want to create a long-term project here and we want our best players to be committed to the club.”
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