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Sports News of Sunday, 26 September 2021


A fit Thomas Partey could propel Arsenal to success this season

Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey

Arsenal's win over Burnley was far from overwhelming, but they were strong at the back, with Gabriel Magalhaes and Ben White forming a combination in central defense. Martin Odegaard and Emile Smith Rowe were also successful in providing Arsenal with a platform from which to launch assaults.

They had width on the wings thanks to Nicolas Pepe and Bukayo Saka, and they posed a danger in the penalty box with to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Even Aaron Ramsdale, whose purchase from Sheffield United was largely panned at the time, impressed after apparently taking over as the Gunners' number one goalkeeper from Bernd Leno.

The performance of Thomas Partey, who made his first Premier League appearance of the season, was perhaps the most encouraging. The Ghanaian connected everything in the center of the pitch, protecting Arsenal's back four but also propelling the Gunners forward from a deep position.

Arsenal does not have someone who can play Thomas' role as well as the player himself. Arteta has additional midfield alternatives in Albert Sambi Lokonga and Granit Xhaka, as well as Odegaard and Smith Rowe, but Thomas is one of the finest central anchors in Europe right now.

“He’s really important because he is the anchor. He is the one that needs to read what is happening and make the rest better. That’s his biggest job, to get the right balance in the team and get the right fluidity in the team so we can attack,” Arteta explained after the away victory over Burnley.

“How he managed the transitions was top, he has the pressing and the charisma, and then he struggled at the end,” Arteta continued when asked to elaborate on the midfielder’s display at Turf Moor. “He could not finish the game because he was cramping. But that will come up. He missed a long time but now he’s back again and he needs some more fitness back.”