“You can see his quality, you can see the presence and the special qualities he brings to the team when he’s on the pitch. “ This was Mikel Arteta’s point of view on the contribution of Thomas Partey (27) to his Arsenal team two months ago. If it is difficult to contradict the Spanish technician on these words, it is not difficult to see that the Ghanaian international (28 caps, 9 goals) is not having an ideal first year in England. However, when the Gunners formalized, on October 6, the recruitment of the solid midfielder of 1.85m from Atlético de Madrid for € 50m, it was a phew of relief that was observed among the supporters. from the London club. The arrival of a confirmed and experienced player for a rather reasonable price in today’s market could only do good for a team which was desperately looking for a true sentry.
We saw it, Thomas 😉
– Arsenal (@Arsenal) November 2, 2020
Everything started well for Thomas Partey. “He looked really solid, really comfortable, and I think he held the midfielder on his own in the second half when we were a little more open and took more risks, attacking spaces with some players.”, confided Mikel Arteta after the Ghanaian’s first match, in the Europa League, on the lawn of Rapid Vienna (2-1, November 22). Words that perfectly sum up why the native Odumase Krobo was recruited by Arsenal, with whom his best performance is probably the recital offered at Old Trafford in his 1-0 victory against Manchester United (November 1). “From the start he proved himself to be a talented midfielder. More importantly, he was very proactive, especially in his passes, which became more evident after the New Years as he was constantly looking to find the attackers ”, explains Art de Roché, journalist following the Arsenal team for The Athletic.
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Three injuries as the first natural brake
His substantial salary (€ 973,000 per month, or nearly € 12 million per year) also reflects the expectations placed on him, this solid and technically comfortable player who is supposed to play a key role in the midfield of the Gunners, with whom he still missed the start of the season after the upheaval in competitions linked to Covid-19. “Regarding the pace, he has struggled a bit in recent weeks because he has not had enough training or preparation, the championship being very demanding”, underlined the Spanish coach of Arsenal last March. Thomas Partey was quickly thrown in the bath of English football, with the so particular reputation, and this component undoubtedly played on the performance of the ex-player of Colchoneros. But above all, the middle of the Black Stars experienced several physical problems for its first year in England (16 games missed in all competitions). A new element that he had to face, he who had only experienced one injury during his career in Spain (5 games missed in 2015-2016 due to a muscle injury).
Art de Roché also insists on his hasty return against Tottenham (December 12, 0-2) which caused his relapse. “Because of injuries, it was more difficult for Thomas Partey to find a real rhythm in the game. Arsenal suffered in the midfield without Partey and his relapse against Tottenham in December slowed his progress”, analyzes the English journalist, before continuing. “If he managed to come back afterwards, he failed to influence the biggest games of the season, which obviously made him more desperate, frustrated. This was felt in his more frequent distant attempts, which will unfortunately be remembered when people recall this year’s disappointments. In recent weeks he has also struggled more, he has failed to control the games. Part of this is due to the lack of balance in the midfield, leaving him with too much to do, but there are also situations in which he has become nervous. “
Disappointing performances during major meetings but a real influence on the game of the Gunners
It’s a fact: Thomas Partey (3 assists in 33 games in all competitions) was generally unable to make the difference in major games, showing himself far from the level expected by Arsenal fans, his coach or even its leaders. Evidenced by his performances in the semi-finals of the Europa League against Villarreal (1-2, 0-0), the most important moment of the 2020-2021 season for the Gunners who will probably not see Europe next season (a first in 25 years) after their elimination against the Yellow Submarine. During this double confrontation, Thomas Partey indeed often seemed disillusioned, committing glaring errors and being guilty of avoidable losses of balls by sometimes wanting to carry the ball too much, which is not necessarily in his habit. Nonetheless, this see-saw season is not without cause for hope for the future. Thomas Partey has already proven his worth with a Liga cador but also in the Champions League during meetings at the highest level.
The Gunners’ investment for the Ghanaian midfielder can still be profitable for the main concerned to assert itself as the player it needed for this Arsenal team to get back on a more solid footing. “He has proven on several occasions this season that he is unique in the Arsenal midfielder. When precise, his passes set the tempo for Mikel Arteta’s team. Too often this season Arsenal’s play has been slow and predictable, but when Partey is in good shape he does well. Personally, I think his first season’s problem is more about confidence, as well as being in good shape. ‘to what is going on around him. Having support so as not to be overworked in midfield will be crucial next season. One of his best performances this season has been at Old Trafford against Manchester United, where he has proven he can thrive in England both in terms of technical and physical abilities – although he is not. as defensive as most people can imagine ”, continues Art de Roché.
To finish well for a better start?
As the end of the season approaches, Arsenal’s summer transfer window could be an important part of the continuation of Thomas Partey’s career in the Premier League. “He would need a world class player by his side. Whatever happens this summer, Arsenal will need to sign another midfielder, if not two. The departures of Dani Ceballos and Martin Odegaard at Real Madrid (end of loan) will reopen the void left by the departure of Aaron Ramsey in 2019 (to Juventus). Granit Xhaka has become one of Arteta’s most trusted midfielders, which means he’s likely to continue to be associated with Partey next season. Now the job of Arteta and Edu (CTO) is to decide what their preferred system is and what kind of medium they need. Emile Smith Rowe is a natural No.10, but can evolve as a No.8. But more options will be needed to give him rest throughout an entire season ”, concluded Art de Roché.
That’s good, Mikel Arteta recently promised the most decisive transfer window in recent years at the Emirates Stadium. Without the European Cup to play, Arsenal, current 9th in the Premier League, could have difficulty convincing players bringing real added value to the workforce of the disciple of Pep Guardiola. A victory against Chelsea, this Wednesday (9.15 p.m.), would in any case keep a tiny hope of validating a ticket for Europe next season. For this, the North London Gunners will certainly need a great Thomas Partey at Stamford Bridge to win the midfield battle against the men of Thomas Tuchel, finalists in the Champions League. With three days remaining, it is also the last “big game” of the year for Arsenal. The opportunity for Thomas Partey to end this 2020-2021 financial year well in order to start again on the hats of wheels the following season and to come back stronger than ever to finally establish himself as the real boss of the Gunners.