Once upon a time, Arsenal were a mess in midfield with none of their players having the vision and range to find attackers from deep areas.
The Gunners’ classical goals this season have had a similar pattern, though. Quick passing from the back, a long ball to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and bang! A curler from the Gabonese striker into the top corner.
But once teams found a way to neutralise this pattern of play, the goals dried up from Aubameyang. In recent games, Mikel Arteta has had to find different ways of breaking down oppositions.
In Thomas Partey, they have found the exact weapon for such tasks. The Ghanaian made his debut last Sunday against Manchester City but had little time to influence the game.
Thomas Partey makes stellar debut
On his full debut against Rapid Vienna in the Europa League, though, he gave Arsenal fans a glimpse of what the future holds.
The 27-year-old was not among the goals but his assured performance in midfield ensured he was voted man of the match. His link-up play, tackling and passing were all on point.
It’s been a while since Arsenal had a player of such quality. Thomas Partey, despite playing from deep, has the ability to play the passes a number 10 usually provides. He’s that good.
Against Rapid Vienna, he completed the most passes in the opposition half (50), had the most tackles (5), recorded the most aerials won (4), and also recovered the ball more times than any other player (8).
“Thomas Partey had one of the best debuts I’ve ever seen,” former Manchester United midfielder Own Hargreaves effused.
“This guy makes it look so easy. Everybody is looking to him. He runs the whole game, you can tell he’s been playing in the Champions League - it’s too easy for him.”
The Gunners manager told fans to “expect more” from the midfielder after his masterclass on Thursday.
Indeed, Arsenal fans will enjoy watching Thomas Partey. His game suits the club’s system and the new few weeks should be entertaining at the Emirates.Published 23 Oct 2020, 16:54 IST