Arsenal boss Arteta responds to rumours of a rift between two key stars; gives Partey fitness update

Joe Williams
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta pumps his fists

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta insists Gabriel Magalhaes and William Saliba have a “happy marriage” amid speculation of a rift between the Gunners pair.

The north London club are having a brilliant season in the Premier League with their match against Everton on Wednesday an opportunity for them to go five points clear of second-placed Manchester City at the top.

But it is never all smooth sailing at a big football club with rumours of a rift between Gabriel and Saliba after they were spotted arguing during their 1-0 win over Leicester City on Saturday.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference on Tuesday, Arteta responded to speculation over the pair’s relationship, he said: “They are a happy marriage, they love playing with each other.

“But they are very demanding with each other – which is good. Everything is fine.”

Thomas Partey came off the bench for six minutes on Saturday as he nears a return to the starting XI after a few weeks on the sidelines.

On Partey, Arteta added: “He hasn’t trained much, he’s only had a session. He will train today. He was out for a few weeks and he needs to get the rhythm.”

Arteta has hinted at rotation over the next few weeks as Arsenal compete for the Premier League and Europa League and ahead of the match against Everton he said: “We assess that [availability] situation every single day – the fact we have options right now, that we have players coming back from injury is going to be crucial because players cannot maintain the same level for 10 months, it is just impossible.

“We need to change and be more unpredictable and we have those options now.

On facing a Sean Dyche team, Arteta continued: “With every manager it is the same, we have to look at certain matches and try to get the right tactics to beat them but as well the same mentality and expectation from what we demand of the game.”

Arsenal recently lost 1-0 to Everton at Goodison Park in Dyche’s first match in charge and Arteta is hoping his side play better tomorrow.

The Gunners boss said: “It is a case of doing things better than we played them a few weeks ago and earning the right to win the game. Hopefully tomorrow we will play much better than we did that day.”

On potentially reaching 60 points with victory, after only 25 games: “That means nothing because there are still another 14 games to play.”

READ MORE: Big Midweek: Arsenal v Everton, Liverpool, Erik ten Hag, the Guernsey Grealish, Copa Clasico