Fit and firing Partey will only help Arsenal get to next level
When Arsenal signed Thomas Partey on deadline day last summer, everybody expected him to hit the ground running at the Emirates Stadium.
However, the midfielder suffered an injury in only his fourth Premier League appearance. It wasn’t until Manchester United visited the Emirates Stadium on January 30, 2021, that he played the full 90 minutes.
Many people were surprised by the time the Ghanaian was sidelined, especially after considering the fact that he missed just eight games for his former club Atletico Madrid in his five years.
During his absence, Arsenal took off to one of their worst starts in the Premier League since the 1974/75 campaign. And there is no denying that the midfield enforcer’s abilities were duly missed by the team who looked insipid while attacking and toothless while defending.
In an interview in March, five months after switching the Spanish capital for the English, Partey astonishingly claimed that he has only been fit for two games.
Quizzed on whether he has operated at 100 per cent in an Arsenal shirt, the Ghana international said: “Yes, I had a few games.“
“I think against [Manchester] United at their home and against Wolves [away] also I was able to show what I can do.
“Due to less games and less training, I think I have to keep working, keep trying to get back to that level again.”
The 27-year-old also stated that he found it hard at first to settle in a new team. “It was a difficult moment to get used to how the team play. It’s part of the game.”
Arteta echoed those comments as he discussed Partey ahead of Arsenal’s derby clash with Tottenham.
“Rhythm-wise he has struggled a little bit in the last few weeks because he has not had enough training sessions or enough preparation because the league is so demanding.”
The Spaniard added, “But you can see his quality, you can see the presence and the special qualities he provides to the team when he is on the pitch.”
“I think it is just a fact of playing more games, getting some chemistry and understanding with his team-mates and getting as fit as he possibly can.”
With a year of experience playing in the Premier League and a full month’s pre-season, Partey will again be expected to hit the ground running next season.
Last season’s Partey hardly resembled like the player who was so impressive at the heart of Atletico’s midfield for several years.
We are talking about one of the best number sixs in the game. And the wait to see the best of Partey might finally be over.