Former Arsenal defender Matthew Upson has warned manager Mikel Arteta that he must do everything in his power to keep midfielder Thomas Partey from injuring himself again if the Gunners are to maintain their title challenge this season.
Partey has already missed four games this season due to ongoing fitness issues, including Arsenal's lone defeat of the season so far at Old Trafford against Manchester United.
Prior to the international break, the Ghana international made his comeback from injury against Brentford, but he was forced to withdraw from Ghana's recent friendly against Brazil due to another setback.
The 29-year-old was fit enough to start Arsenal's Premier League derby against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, scoring a goal as Arteta's side won 3-1 at Emirates Stadium.
“He was man of the match for me,” Upson told Stadium Astro.
“I thought he was excellent, obviously in terms of the goal contribution, which is a big deal for a defensive midfield player.
“But just the simplicity. He is that rock in midfield, that anchor allowing Xhaka to go and pick up those positions, allowing [Martin] Odegaard to drift into those roles, knowing they have got the responsibility of someone like him sat behind them.
“Today he was excellent, involved in a lot of passing in the build-up, to me that is a man of the match performance from a midfield player.
“Definitely, it is a big thing they have to achieve. Whether that is to manage his minutes, adjust his training schedule, whatever they need to do I feel they have to keep him fit ready for occasions like today,” he added.