Arsenal handed injury boost paving the way for Arteta to unleash new partnership

The Gunners faithful will be overjoyed by the sight of Thomas Partey, who was pictured in full training for the first time since he sustained an ankle injury against Chelsea in pre-season

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Lokonga sends message to Arsenal fans after tough start to season

Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey has been pictured in full training with the rest of his Gunners teammates for the first time since he sustained an ankle injury during a pre-season friendly against Chelsea last month.

Both Arsenal staff and fans alike feared the worst when Partey was hauled off during the first-half of the friendly clash after a crunching late tackle from Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

The Ghanaian’s injury record since his arrival in north London makes for grim reading, especially when one considers the midfielder barely missed any fixtures through injury during his five-year stint at La Liga outfit Atletico Madrid.

Thomas Partey has returned to Arsenal training (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Partey was expected to be back in action after the recent international break as he looks to be named in the squad for the weekend’s Premier League match at home to Norwich – should he feature, it will be his first appearance of the season.

Despite his injury woes, Partey has shone at times in Arsenal shirt and is viewed as one of the most senior and experienced figures in the Gunners dressing room.

Partey’s return could present the chance for Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta to experiment with a new midfield partnership in the wake of Granit Xhaka’s suspension – the Swiss international serving a three-match ban for a straight red card received during the 5-0 drubbing at Manchester City.

Albert Sambi Lokonga is likely to start as the Gunners welcome the Canaries, the 21-year-old former Anderlecht has been somewhat of a bright light in an otherwise dismal start to the new season.

Lokonga received his first call-up to the Belgium national team as a result of his promising start to life at the Emirates but is likely to be thrust straight back into action at club level given the lack of depth Arsenal are currently operating with in midfield.

Arteta’s men currently sit rock bottom of the Premier League after three games played, three defeats, zero goals scored and a goal difference of minus nine.

Where will Arsenal finish this season? Have your say here.

Thomas Partey sustained the ankle ligament injury after a challenge from Chelsea’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

As a result, the clash against Norwich is already being billed as a relegation six-pointer by some of the more downbeat members of the Gunners faithful.

In turn, Arsenal will need to be able to call on the best midfielders available – with Xhaka out and the performances of Mohamed El Neny leaving a lot to be desired, Partey and Lokonga are undoubtedly the best pairing for the fixture if they are both options, depending on Partey’s race for full fitness.

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