Arsenal’s Partey in contention for Leicester trip, Jesus still out

Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey could be back for the Premier League leaders at Leicester City on Saturday but Brazilian forward Gabriel Jesus is still recovering from his long-term injury, manager Mikel Arteta said.

Partey missed Arsenal’s 3-1 home defeat by Manchester City and 4-2 comeback victory at Aston Villa last week due to a lower back injury, while Jesus has been out of action since suffering a knee problem playing for Brazil at the World Cup in Qatar.

“Thomas has not trained much but looks like he could be available. Let’s see how he trains today,” Arteta told reporters on Friday on the eve of the visit to 14th-placed Leicester.

“He is a really important player for us who we missed in the last few games but hopefully he can be available.

“(Jesus) is progressing well. He is doing more and more on the field. The knee is not reacting so it’s really positive. We want him back quickly but respect the timeline from the doctors. He is usually pushing the boundaries.”

Arsenal lead the table with 54 points, two above second-placed City who have played a game more. Manchester United sit third with 49, while Tottenham Hotspur are fourth on 42.

But Arteta believes the championship is not a two-horse race.

“I think there are more teams involved and every day is going to be a race – a race to convince those players how to train better, to play better,” he said.

“Against Leicester, we are going to have to be really good to beat them, especially with the way they have been playing the last few weeks.”

Leicester lost 3-0 at in-form Manchester United last time out but they thrashed visitors Tottenham 4-1 and won 4-2 at Aston Villa in the two games before that.

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