Arsenal's bid for the Premier League championship has received a big boost as a result of Thomas Partey's Ghana team being eliminated from the World Cup on Friday following a 2-0 loss to Uruguay in their final group H match.
After Luis Suarez's contentious remarks regarding his handball that prevented the Black Stars from moving on to the semi finals in 2010, the game already had plenty of drama going into it, but the drama was turned up a notch early.
Asamoah Gyan missed the penalty that was given after Suarez's heroic save that evening in South Africa, and it appeared that Andre Ayew would have the perfect opportunity for vengeance when he stepped up to take a spot kick after Mohamed Kudus had been fouled in the box.
However, the former Swansea and West Ham forward failed to score, giving the Ghanaian spectators terrible flashbacks. Not much later, Giorgian de Arrascaeta scored from close range after Lawrence Ati-Zigi mishandled Suarez's low shot, making those feelings even worse.
At the halfway point, the two worked together once more, with de Arrascaeta volleying Suarez's flicked assist in to make it two. In reality, Ghana never really recovered from the missed penalty, and despite the fact that a draw would have been enough to advance them, they never seemed to have the ability to score the two goals required on the night.
The fact that South Korea's shocking victory over Portugal in the other Group H finale resulted in Uruguay's elimination gave them at least some solace in the fact that their rivals from 2010 also failed to advance past the group stage. Suarez broke down in tears at full time as a result, which the Ghanaian fans found amusing given his behaviour 12 years earlier.
It doesn't alter the reality that they were eliminated from the World Cup, though, so Partey will return to Arsenal soon. The rest of Mikel Arteta's team, who are not at the World Cup, are expected to travel to Dubai on Sunday, so it's possible that he will join them there for some warm-weather training. However, it's more probable that he will be given some time off right now.
Partey might take advantage of players departing the tournament sooner than planned by staying close to Qatar in Dubai, which was one of the reasons it was selected as the destination for this preseason trip. Arsenal will play friendlies against Lyon and AC Milan while in Abu Dhabi, but it's unclear if Partey will participate.
To launch an unlikely charge for the Premier League title, however, Arsenal may need a rested Partey more than ever. The 29-year-old is one of the Gunners' most crucial players at the base of the midfield as they currently lead Manchester City by five points in the Premier League.