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Arsenal team news update: Arteta confirms major injury boost ahead of Benfica clash

Arsenal thomas partey 2020

Arsenal will be looking for a win to book their place in the last-16 of the Europa League when they take on Benfica on Thursday evening.

Ahead of the game, Mikel Arteta has been speaking to the media at his pre-match press conference video call this morning and he provided a  team news and injury update including the latest on the fitness of Thomas Partey and Rob Holding.

Partey has endured a frustrating injury-plagued first year in England following his move from Atletico Madrid last summer and his latest injury has kept him out of Arsenal’s last three matches in all competitions.

It was initially thought the second leg against Benfica may come too soon, however, the midfielder has resumed full training this week and Arteta says he is now ‘very close’ to returning to action. Partey will be checked at training today and as long as he comes through that test okay, he’ll be available for the Benfica clash tomorrow.

The news on Holding isn’t quite so positive though as the centre-back has been ruled out of the Europa League second leg after being forced off with a head injury during Arsenal’s Premier League defeat to Manchester City on Sunday.

Holding took a knock to the head in the second half and was replaced under the new concussion substitution rules so the club have to follow protocols which means the defender won’t be able to feature against Benfica.

Arteta is quoted by the Evening Standard as saying:

“Thomas is very close. He has got a final test today in training. If he is feeling good he can play the match.”

“Regarding Rob, he is not available. He had a concussion. We used that [substitution]. He is completely fine, but obviously now we need to follow the protocols and he won’t be able to travel.”

It would be a huge boost for Arsenal if Partey is passed fit as he’s been a key player for the team when fit. However, let’s hope the club don’t rush him back as the last thing Arteta needs is the Ghanaian international suffering another setback.

Arsenal head into the ‘home’ leg of their last-32 tie – which will be held in Athens, Greece, due to Covid restrictions – off the back of a 1-1 draw in the ‘away’ leg so Arteta will be looking to get the job done tomorrow night.

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