Arsenal star Thomas Partey was included in Mikel Arteta's starting XI to face Crystal Palace on Monday evening after dropping a huge hint hours earlier.

The Ghanaian midfielder, 28, was a fitness worry for the fixture after a busy international break but his Instagram story suggests his involvement was never in doubt.

Partey posted a teaser image to his Instagram account on Monday morning, hinting he had no injury concerns ahead of the game.

The former Atletico Madrid star's story would have delighted Arsenal fans but may have been picked up by Palace boss Patrick Vieira, allowing him to plan for his team's trip to the Emirates.

It may be something Arteta will want to clamp down should Partey decide to drop similar hints going forward.

Partey was a doubt for the game after he started and finished both of Ghana's World Cup qualifiers against Zimbabwe during the international break.

He played a pivotal role in helping his nation pick up six points - scoring in both fixtures - and Arteta remained quiet about his chances of playing against Palace.

Thomas Partey started for Arsenal against Crystal Palace (


Action Images via Reuters)

Speaking on Thursday, Arteta said: "Well, let's see. We haven't had the players here yet.

"Some of them because they're still travelling and they've not been assessed by the medical staff, but hopefully. He finished both games really well.

"He played well and scored a couple of goals like many other players did in this international break, and hopefully, everybody is in the right condition on Monday to help us win the game."

But Partey started for the Gunners against Palace - alongside Aaron Ramsdale, Kieran Tierney and Emile Smith Rowe.

Partey has been crucial to Arsenal's recent revival, helping them pick up ten points against Norwich, Burnley, Tottenham and Brighton in the Premier League.

The Gunners ace, who joined the club in October 2020, missed the team's opening three league games with an ankle injury and fans are worried he could suffer further ailments.

Partey managed just 24 Premier League appearances last term but is usually an ever-present figure, playing 100 La Liga games for Atletico during the three previous campaigns before his transfer.

Speaking about the player's role in the team before their 3-1 victory against Tottenham in September, Arteta said: "He's really important because he is the anchor.

"He is the one that needs to read what is happening and make the rest better. That's his biggest job, to get the right balance in the team and get the right fluidity in the team so we can attack."

Arteta is likely to be without the Ghana international and Egyptian star Mohamed Elneny in January as they are set to be involved in the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations.

The Arsenal boss has insisted he will find replacements for the two players but hasn't specified whether those will be reserves or new signings.

Arteta said : "Let’s see where we are at that point, which players we have available and which players definitely have to be there and for how long, because there are some question marks there as well.

"We will find a solution. If they have to leave, they have to leave. We’ll have to find the right replacements for them."

Arsenal XI to face Crystal Palace: Aaron Ramsdale, Ben White, Gabriel Magalhaes, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Kieran Tierney, Thomas Partey, Martin Odegaard, Emile Smith Rowe, Nicolas Pepe, Bukayo Saka, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

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