Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has expressed doubts over the fitness of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Thomas Partey ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash at Liverpool.
The Gunners have been the in-form team since the September international break. They are currently two points behind the Reds, who are occupying the final Champions League spot.
Their recent league record at Anfield has been dreadful with five successive defeats, but Arteta will be hoping that his players can spring up a surprise against Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Ahead of the game, both Aubameyang and Partey have been involved in first-team training, but Arteta refused to confirm their availability for the Merseyside trip.
The Spaniard said that Aubameyang’s return from international duty was not pre-planned. Partey has recovered from a thigh injury, but both will be assessed before the match.
Arteta told in his press conference via Arsenal.com: “No it wasn’t pre-planned [for Auba to fly home early], we have to assess him and see how he is and make a decision.
“Same again [for Partey], he could not play for the national team, he really tried to do that because they had a massive game and he really pushed for that one, but he wasn’t close enough to do that.”
“Again, it’s something we have to assess today.”
The Gunners can return to the top four for the first time in 14 months if they can beat the Reds. However, the task will be tedious with their poor showing at Anfield since 2012.
In league terms, they have picked up only two points from the previous eight visits to the stadium. They last tasted success in September 2012, registering a 2-0 triumph.
Arteta played a key role in central midfielder back then, and it remains to be seen whether the Gunners can prove their top four credentials tomorrow by beating the Reds.
Judging by Aubameyang and Partey’s presence in full training, they should at least make the matchday squad. Ideally, the club need both of them in the starting line-up.
Hopefully, there are given the all-clear to start. Partey has looked the player of old this term, and the Ghanaian could be instrumental in the club winning the midfield battle.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com and 11v11.com
Read: Mark Lawrenson states his prediction for Liverpool vs Arsenal.
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