Sky pundit believes Arteta has to play Partey for Arsenal v Tottenham

Alan Smith has said on Sky Sports that Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal could struggle to win against Antonio Conte’s Tottenham Hotspur in the North London derby at the Emirates Stadium this weekend if Thomas Partey does not play.

Arsenal will take on Tottenham in the Premier League on Saturday.

Ghana international midfielder Partey suffered an injury while on international duty.

Arsenal manager Arteta, though, has said that the £45 million (Football.London) former Atletico Madrid midfielder is in contention to play in the North London derby between the Gunners and Spurs.

Sky Sports pundit Smith has noted how Arsenal struggled against Manchester United without Partey, and believes that Arteta needs to start the 29-year-old against Tottenham.

Alan Smith on Thomas Partey for Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur

Smith said, as transcribed by TheBootRoom: “Hopefully Tierney will be okay but Partey is a big concern, you know? He is so important to that Arsenal team, to that midfield.

“We saw without him against Manchester United, there were big holes in that midfield that allowed Fernandes to put those balls through. Don’t think that would have happened with Partey in the team.

Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

“You don’t want to be reliant on one player quite to this extent but he is so important. Mo Elneny is out for a period of time as well so they are short in midfield. They need Partey in there.

“That could tip the balance – whether he plays or not. With him in there, they’re so much more of a solid side, able to support that talented attack.”

Starting in North London derby

In our opinion, if Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey is fully fit, then manager Mikel Arteta should include him in the starting lineup against Tottenham Hotspur in the North London derby.

Partey did not actually play for Ghana over the international break, so he will be fresh.

So, in our view, if Partey has shaken off his knock and feels confident, then he should start for Arsenal against Tottenham.

In other news, ‘Huge problem’: Arsenal told if duo are injured then it ‘tips the scale’ in NLD

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