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Arsenal’s options to fill centre-midfield void after Granit Xhaka ruled out with injury

Arsenal are beginning to turn their fortunes around after their recent 3-1 win over Tottenham in the north London derby at the Emirates on Sunday.

Mikel Arteta’s side have now won four on the bounce and will be looking to continue their rich vein of form when they travel to Brighton on Saturday.

GranitXhaka, the Swiss midfielder, will miss three months due to a knee injury he sustained at the weekend.

Arteta might be without the former club captain for at least three months, even though Xhaka has not had to have surgery.

Many players will be competing for a place on the first-team.

Here, Daily Star Sport looks at Arteta’s centre-midfield options to fill the void left by Xhaka.

Thomas Partey



Thomas Partey will be expected to command Arsenal's midfield in Granit Xhaka's absence
Thomas Partey will be expected to command Arsenal’s midfield in Granit Xhaka’s absence

The Ghana international is the most obvious choice to fill the gap left by Xhaka.

Partey has started in three of Arsenal’s Premier League fixtures so far – including in Sunday’s win over Tottenham – and the Ghana international is expected to continue his run in the starting line-up.

Partey is the Emirates’ best defensive midfielder, although he hasn’t reached the same heights as Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid.

Albert Sambi Lokonga

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Albert Sambi Lokonga could start alongside Partey
Albert Sambi Lokonga could start alongside Partey

The Belgian youngster has featured in all five league games for Arsenal this season – more than anybody else in this list – and he could now be pushing for a first-team place.

Lokonga started in Arsenal’s first three league matches, but has since dropped to the bench for the recent games against Burnley and Spurs.

Now, the 21-year old has a chance of showing that he is worthy to be in the first team on a regular basis. Partey could play in defensive midfield for Lokonga in his absence.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles



Ainsley Maitland-Niles will be pushing for a place in the starting 11
Ainsley Maitland-Niles will be pushing for a place in the starting 11


Arsenal's options to fill centre-midfield void after Granit Xhaka ruled out with injury

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Maitland-Niles reportedly almost left the club in the summer in favour of a loan move to Everton – which included an option to buy – but the Gunners blocked the move.

The midfielder then held crunch talks with Arteta where he was told he was part of the team’s plans this season.

Although Maitland-Niles has appeared in four of Arsenal’s league fixtures this season, he has started in just one of them.

The injury to Xhaka means that the 24-year old could rise in the pecking order, and could compete with Lokonga for the second defensive midfield position.

Mohamed Elneny



Mohamed Elneny has made just one league appearance this season
Mohamed Elneny has made just one league appearance this season

Elneny is another player who was close to leaving the Emirates this summer, with Galatasaray rumoured to be interested in the midfielder.

Arteta felt Elneny, just like Maitland-Niles.

The Egyptian has made just one league appearance so far, in the 5-0 defeat against champions Manchester City, and although he is an option for Arteta, it’s unlikely he’ll stand much of a chance.

He played 90 minutes in the 6-0 EFL Cup win at West Brom in August, but Elneny’s days at Arsenal look like they are numbered.

Arsenal's options to fill centre-midfield void after Granit Xhaka ruled out with injury
Anurag Reddy
I'm a 29-year-old travel enthusiast, travel and nature photographer, Computer Science graduate, and Mass Communication student. I have seen different shades of life through traveling and lived different lives through reading. With every word I write, I travel within, and I understand myself better. Writing helps me discover myself, and that paved roads for me to choose writing as a profession.
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