Arsenal will be without both Kieran Tierney and Thomas Partey when they lock horns with Leeds United at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Tierney has missed the Gunners’ last five matches with a muscle strain whilst Partey, who has been hampered by injury troubles since arriving in north London from Atletico Madrid back in October, suffered a hamstring problem during Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa at Villa Park.
Partey was forced off with just over 15 minutes remaining of the defeat in the Midlands after signalling to the bench that he was in a sense of discomfort. Although Mikel Arteta – the Arsenal manager – confirmed after the game that he understood it was a muscle problem that the Ghanaian had entailed, the problem has proven to be more severe, with the Gunners confirming he has, in fact, suffered a hamstring blow.
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An update released on Arsenal’s website on Thursday afternoon said: “Thomas sustained a strain to his left hamstring during last Saturday’s match at Aston Villa and will miss the match against Leeds United on Sunday.
“Thomas will continue to be assessed and rehabilitate from this injury.”
As for Tierney, meanwhile, who was on course to return last week before suffering a minor setback, he is poised to return to team training next week following a strain in his right lower leg.
With the pair both ruled out of Sunday’s visit of Marcelo Bielsa’s Whites, Arteta has every right to feel disappointed, with the duo, certainly in Tierney’s case, having been key in Arsenal’s revival in the last few weeks.
Whilst Arteta will be determined to remain upbeat, not feel sorry for himself and try and galvanise those who are available ahead of what is going to be an incredibly tough test against Leeds, Arsenal are bound to feel the effects of their absences, with the statistics providing a selection of mixed messages.
So far this season, in all competitions, Scotland international Tierney, who has scored one goal this term, has not featured in 12 of Arsenal’s matches, both through injury and being left on the substitutes bench.
Of the 12 games the former Celtic man has not featured in, Arsenal have won six, lost four and drawn two. Whilst those statistics do show that the Gunners have had a 50 per cent win rate when Tierney has not played this season, four of those wins have come in the Carabao Cup and Europa League combined.
In the six Premier League games he has missed, Arsenal have won just twice, highlighting his importance, not only in a defensive sense but when bombing forward from left-back to support the attackers.
Partey, on the other hand, has not featured in 15 of the Gunners’ matches since arriving at the club, with injury woes having plagued his time in north London so far. Of the 15 matches that he has missed, Arsenal have won nine of them, although five of those victories did come in the Europa League.
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In total, the defensive-midfielder has missed eight Premier League matches, only three of which the Gunners have won. They have lost three and drawn two of the remaining five when he has been absent in the league.
Between them, they have been absent on 27 occasions so far this term, which is, of course, a very high number. But with that in mind, Arsenal have been able to get to grips without them in the past this season.
However, with the Europa League poised to resume next week, Arteta needs as many options available to him as possible.