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Sports News of Tuesday, 19 January 2021


'He is so good' - Xhaka hails Partey after his starring role on Arsenal return

Granit Xhaka has hailed Thomas Party’s influence on the Arsenal team after the Ghana international impressed on his return against Newcastle United.

Partey made his first start in over a month on Monday night and produced an excellent performance as Mikel Arteta’s side cruised to a 3-0 win.

The 27-year-old set up the opening goal of the night with a wonderful assist for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and had completed 55 of his 58 passes before he was replaced by Mohamed Elneny midway through the second half.

It was an eye-catching performance from the £45 million ($61m) summer signing from Atletico Madrid and Xhaka - who was equally as impressive alongside his central midfield partner - was full of praise for his team-mate.

“You can see he brings a lot of experience and a high level,” said the Switzerland international. “He wins a lot of duels and he is so good with the ball.

“It is so important to have one guy like him, because the experience that he brings is so important for this young team.

“He showed how important he is for us and we are so happy."

Xhaka was also quick to highlight the influence of Aubameyang, who scored twice in the second half to make it four goals in his last six appearances in all competitions.

It’s been a difficult season for the Arsenal captain, who has struggled to find the sort of form that has brought him 60 goals during his past two campaigns in north London.

But he is now showing signs of getting back to his best and Xhaka knows how key the striker is to Arsenal’s ambitions over the second half of the season.

“Everyone knows how important Auba is for us - not only on the pitch but off the pitch as well,” said the midfielder.

“Of course, every player has these moments where it is not going well for them. But he has kept going and training hard.

“He helped a lot [against Newcastle] and I am so happy for him. He scored and helped us.”

Arsenal have now won five of their last six games in all competitions and have kept five successive clean sheets in the process.

Monday night’s success left them seven points behind fourth-placed Liverpool and maintained the impressive momentum they have built up since Boxing Day.

After a difficult few months, Arteta’s side are starting to look like they have turned a corner, but Xhaka insists they can’t take anything for granted.

“We have to take it point by point,” he said. “It is so difficult at the moment in the Premier League, everyone can beat everyone.

“We have to continue like this, work hard and see what happens. We are in a good way. Let’s keep going like this.”

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