“Title charge over”, “Enough is enough”
Arsenal fans are admitting defeat in their top-of-the-table clash with Manchester City on Wednesday (February 15) after Thomas Partey was ruled out of the game. The Gunners host Pep Guardiola’s men at the Emirates in a game with massive title implications.
Mikel Arteta’s side are top of the Premier League but hold just a three-point lead over City. That explains the importance of the Wednesday night match between the two title rivals. It’s the first time the two sides meet in the league this season.
Arsenal fans are already throwing in the towel, with Partey missing out on the matchday squad altogether. The Ghanaian midfielder has been key for the Gunners this season, featuring 23 times, scoring two goals and helping his side keep 12 clean sheets. The north Londoners have lost just three times across competitions with him in the side.
Meanwhile, Aaron Ramsdale starts in goal, with Takehiro Tomiyasu, William Saliba, Gabriel Magalhaes and Oleksandr Zinchenko in defence. Arteta has chosen Jorginho as Partey’s replacement. The Gunners’ new signing accompanies Granit Xhaka and Martin Odegaard in midfield. A familiar front three of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Eddie Nketiah line up in attack.
Nervousness among the Emirates faithful is building, and Partey‘s absence has come as a massive blow. One fan reckons the Gunners’ chances of winning the title are over:
“Title charge over. (Sad face).”
Another opined that Partey should be sold due to his latest setback:
“Sell him. Enough is enough.”
Here’s how Twitter reacted to the former Atletico Madrid man missing the top-of-the-table battle with Manchester City due to a muscular injury:
Arsenal legend Tony Adams urged Arteta to drop Zinchenko against Manchester City
Zinchenko joined Arsenal from Manchester City last summer for £30 million. The Ukrainian has quickly become a hit among Gunners fans with his passion and consistent performances. He has made 18 appearances, providing an assist and helping his team keep seven clean sheets.
However, Adams advised Arteta to drop the former City man, as he has reservations over how Zinchenko could deal with Riyad Mahrez. Adams told The Sun:
“I would play Tomi at left–back instead of Oleksandr Zinchenko to take care of Mahrez because then Arsenal would have enough in midfield and up front exploit City’s weakness on the left of their defence and turn them over.”
Tomiyasu has instead been chosen at right-back, with Ben White on the bench. If Zinchenko were to have been benched, the English defender might have started.
The Gunners face a Manchester City side dealing with off-the-field drama amid charges for breaching the Premier League’s financial fair play rules. They suffered a 1-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur on February 5. However, they reacted with a convincing 3-1 win over Aston Villa last weekend, and Mahrez was in the thick of things.