It’s true. Thomas Partey’s injury is all my fault. I caused it. No, I wasn’t training with the Ghana national team. That’s not what I mean. I’m referring to my own match preview from Friday in which i took the piss out of Man U for their spate of injuries. “Droppin’ like flies,” I joked. Well, here we are now with the Black Stars announcing Partey’s injury, which will “could be on the sidelines for a while”. Clearly, this is karma for my loose lips.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that he suffered a grade three groin tear. If true, Partey will be out for more than “a while”. That’s probably three to four months, and he’s no likely to be 100% physically or mentally for some time after that. The good news is that this brings to an end Arteta’s experiment of playing Partey as an inverted RB. It could very well be that the inverted RB position itself is cursed. First, we lose Timber. Now, we lose Partey. At least with Zinchenko back, he can resume his role as the inverted LB— a role he is familiar with and one that doesn’t disrupt chemistry elsewhere.
As I discussed in that ill-fated match preview, I hope that Arteta stops with the infernal tinkering. This injury may just force him to. With the transfer window closed, there should be no more intrigue over Magalhães’s status. Please, Mikel, restore him to the XI. We need that left-footed centre-back alongside Saliba. Get back to playing white as RB; remember the chemistry and interplay he has with Saka? Good times. Ahead of this back four, we should be okay with Havertz and Rice. The rest of the pieces fall into place.
This injury situation is getting dire. We’re not even four matches in, and we’ve lost Jesus, Zinchenko, Tomiyasu, Timber, and now Partey to injuries of various severities. We’re an injury away from having to play Cedric, whom we could not palm off on some other club. In retrospect, selling Tierney and Holding now feels hasty, to put it mildly. Let’s hope we’re just getting some bad juju out of our systems in the early going so that each player’s return can feel like a new signing.
I’m holding out for news that the Black Stars’ medical team’s assessment is itself hasty. We might get better news after a few days and Partey’s been assessed a second time. Stranger things have happened…haven’t they? Please tell me that stranger things have happened…