Football

Is Thomas Partey the unsung hero of the current Arsenal squad?

Thomas Partey has slowly but surely become a crucial member of the current Arsenal side. He has received plenty of criticism since joining the club, but is now a firm fan favourite at the Emirates.

The midfielder is enjoying one of his best seasons as a professional footballer. He came under fire early on in his Gunners career. Joining from Atletico Madrid for around £45m in October 2020, big things were expected of Partey. But a combination of injuries and time to settle in seemingly had a big impact on his displays on the pitch.

Those struggles are now firmly behind him. The 28-year-old has been a key player for Mikel Arteta this season. His performances on the right side of a defensive midfield duo have been crucial to the club’s success in recent months.

He has formed a formidable partnership with Granit Xhaka, who incidentally has also had his troubles in an Arsenal shirt. But both are now regular starters in defensive midfield. They have put in many top displays to drive the Gunners into the top four.

Is Thomas Partey Arsenal’s unsung hero?

Partey has quietly gone about his business this season. The midfielder has passed the ball expertly, and has constantly shut down opposition attacks with his tackling and overall reading of the game.

Liverpool’s Fabinho and Manchester City’s Rodri often gain much of the plaudits in terms of defensive midfielders in the Premier League. But Partey – just as crucial for Arsenal – has been hugely impressive in a similar role.

Partey does, of course, have Xhaka alongside him. It perhaps typifies this current Arsenal team, in that they boast a superb, tight-knit squad, as opposed to one or two major stars.

The likes of Aaron Ramsdale, Ben White, and Gabriel have kept things tight at the back. And youngsters Gabriel Martinelli, Emile Smith Rowe, and Bukayo Saka have ensured the goals have arrived in the final third. Martin Odegaard is another who has been of huge importance to this upturn in form.

That said, Partey’s efforts often go overlooked. Perhaps it is because of his defensive role, but he undoubtedly deserves huge credit for helping the club turn things around. The midfielder has even chipped in with a few crucial goals here and there.

Arteta the key behind Arsenal revival

Arsenal, perhaps unthinkably, have managed to turn things around this season. At the beginning of the campaign, they found themselves in an early relegation battle. They now sit fourth, and are currently on a six-game unbeaten run. Five of those have been victories.

The north London outfit are a point ahead of Manchester United in fifth. Importantly, they have three games in hand over the Manchester club. Moreover, Chelsea are just eight points ahead in third. And the Gunners have two games in hand over their London rivals.

Much of the credit must go to boss Arteta. The Spaniard has remained calm and collected in the dugout. He has carefully selected the right players and system to achieve his goal of reaching the top four.

About the author

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Peter Lynch

Sports Journalism graduate from the University of Stirling, huge Liverpool and Northern Ireland fan, currently working as a freelancer.

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