Arsenal’s top four hopes receive boost with Thomas Partey comeback ahead of schedule

Mikel Arteta reflects on Arsenal's win over Man Utd

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Arsenal’s hopes of clinching a top-four finish have been given a major boost with the news that Thomas Partey could be back sooner than expected after picking up a thigh injury earlier this month. The 28-year-old midfielder was injured in the 3-0 defeat against Crystal Palace at the start of April, but was running in a social media clip on Monday.

After making a slow start to life at the Emirates after his £45million move from Atletico Madrid back in 2020, Partey has adapted to the demands of the Premier League and evolved into a key player for the Gunners this term.

It was originally feared that the Ghanian enforcer was set to miss the remainder of the season after injuring the same thigh that kept him sidelined for a prolonged period last year. However, Partey shared a video on his social media account of him running on a treadmill on Monday; highlighting that he could be closing in on an unexpected return to action.

Partey’s fitness boost would cap a pretty positive week for Mikel Arteta’s side, who have shown commendable character to claw their way back into pole position for the final Champions League spot. The Londoners had lost three games on the bounce before they bagged huge wins over Chelsea and Manchester United last week to leapfrog Tottenham in the table.

The Gunners now have the initiative in the top-four race after Spurs were held by Brentford on Saturday afternoon. Arteta’s side now hold a two-point cushion over their north London rivals heading into the final five fixtures of the campaign.

One of the players who has stepped up for Arsenal in Partey’s absence has been Mohamed Elneny. The Egyptian midfielder had been a peripheral figure prior to Partey’s injury, but Elneny played a major part in the back-to-back wins that the Gunners so desperately needed.

And the 29-year-old may have handed himself a career lifeline after his impressive week. Elneny is due to be a free agent in the summer – however, the midfielder hasn’t given up hope that the Londoners offer him the chance to extend his six-year stay at the club.

Speaking after the win over Manchester United, Elneny said: “I gave everything in training to be in the starting XI every game – I got my chance at Chelsea, I think I did well and, most important, we won the last two games. It’s been a long wait for me, but you have to believe and 100 per cent I want to get Arsenal into the top four.

“This is my club for the last six years. They are my family and I will give everything to them until the last minute. I always love a challenge – I don’t decide who plays, but I keep going in training to show how good I am and to make him (manager Mikel Arteta) play me.

“And if Arsenal say, ‘We want you’ I don’t think about leaving. It’s my family for six years, I love this club. The contract and stuff, I’m just waiting for the club to decide what they want.”

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