Soccer

Arsenal suffer double injury blow ahead of Premier League opener; Granit Xhaka set to stay with Gunners

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LONDON — Arsenal could be without first team regulars Thomas Partey and Gabriel for the start of the new Premier League season, manager Mikel Arteta has warned.

Partey limped out of the first half of the Gunners’ 2-1 friendly defeat to Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, the Ghanaian international’s dominant display in midfield ended after collisions with Hakim Ziyech and Ruben Loftus Cheek. Arsenal will carry out a full scan on what appeared to be an ankle injury Monday but Arteta is fearing the worst.

“I just had a talk with the doc [Gary O’Driscoll],” Arteta said in his post match press conference. “He’s going to have a scan tomorrow. At the moment it’s not looking good because he was in pain and could not continue. For Thomas it’s pretty unusual.”

Sources close to the player have told CBS Sports that Partey is hopeful his absence will not be a lengthy one but with 12 days to go until the new season begins away to Brentford it appears he will face a race against time to be available. He may not be the only senior player missing.

Center back Gabriel has not featured in preseason after withdrawing from Brazil’s Olympic preparations with a knee injury.

Arteta told CBS Sports: “We don’t know [if he will be available]. He picked up an injury when he was in preparation for the Olympics with Brazil. At the moment he’s not been able to train with us. That seems unlikely at the moment [that he will play against Brentford]. Hopefully he can recover quickly.”

Partey’s replacement at the Emirates Stadium was Granit Xhaka, who marked his return to north London after Euro 2020 with the goal that briefly cancelled out Kai Havertz’s opener only for Tammy Abraham to pounce on a mistake in the 72nd minute and fire Chelsea to victory.

Xhaka had been expected to join Roma this summer but after the Italian side failed to meet Arsenal’s demands they have opted to keep the Swiss international in the club. He is expected to be offered a new contract with his current deal due to expire in less than two years’ time.

“Granit is going to stay with us,” said Arteta, who fought to keep Xhaka at the Emirates Stadium when he took over in the winter of 2019. “He is a player that we rate and value so much. He is a key member of our squad. 

“He has trained two days and he wanted to play today, and I think it is a very clear commitment from his side that he wants to be here.”



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