Mikel Arteta makes huge Thomas Partey decision amid two Arsenal changes vs Chelsea

Thomas Partey of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Arsenal FC at Molineux on April 20, 2024 in Wolverhampton, England.
Thomas Partey starts for Arsenal against Chelsea -Credit:(Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Thomas Partey starts just his second game since August as Arsenal take on Chelsea at Emirates Stadium. The Ghanaian has been missing for much of the season due to a spate of muscle injuries.

He made his full comeback against Luton Town in a 2-0 victory earlier this month. Since then he has been limited to cameos off the bench, however.

His return to the starting XI means that Kai Havertz moves up the pitch into the centre-forward position, with Declan Rice pushing into the left eight role. Gabriel Jesus is the unfortunate one to miss out.

The Ghanaian is one of two changes that Mikel Arteta makes to his starting XI for the midweek London derby. Takehiro Tomiyasu is fit to start after missing out on the squad entirely as a precaution after picking up a knock in the build up to the 2-0 win over Wolves on Saturday.

The Japan international has been struggling with calf problems since December, but made his return to the team against Bayern Munich last week. He has been chosen ahead of Oleksandr Zinchenko and Jakub Kiwior.

Elsewhere there is no space for Gabriel Martinelli in the starting XI. The Brazilian is the left out once again for Leandro Trossard despite Chelsea's struggles at right back where Alfie Gilchrist makes his first Premier League start.

Cole Palmer also misses out on the evening entirely due to illness. The England international has been responsible for over half of Chelsea's goals in the Premier League this season.

Arsenal XI: Raya; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Tomiyasu; Partey, Rice, Odegaard; Saka, Trossard, Havertz.

Subs: Ramsdale, Zinchenko, Kiwior, Jorginho, Vieira, Smith Rowe, Martinelli, Jesus, Nketiah.