Arsenal will soon see best of Partey, says Arteta

The Arsenal manager backs the Ghanian midfielder to put his injury woes behind him and hit top gear.

Arsenal’s Thomas Partey warms up before a Europa League contest on March 11.   -  REUTERS

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said Thomas Partey was not rushed back from a thigh problem this season as he backed the Ghanian midfielder to put his injury woes behind him and hit top gear.

Partey joined Arsenal on transfer deadline day for EUR 50 million (USD 59.76 million) but injuries have limited him to just 16 appearances this season. Partey injured his thigh in November but returned for the 2-0 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur in December, a game in which he pulled up shortly before halftime with a recurrence of the problem. He was sidelined until January.

“He ticked every box to be able to play,” Arteta said. “After every injury there is a risk for a period, whether it is five days, a week... three weeks depending on the load that the player is exposed to. But it was a really specific action where he just overstretched the area going to the floor and got his foot trapped,” Arteta added.

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“Before the game you cannot know that would have been the way. It would be easy to say: ‘Yes, we made a mistake’ - but who would have known if he had played the next game or if he had come off the bench and played 30 minutes instead?”

Partey has so far struggled to adapt to the demands of the Premier League, but Arteta said he was confident Arsenal fans would soon see the best of the 27-year-old. “Rhythm-wise he has struggled a little bit because he hasn’t had enough training preparation,” he said. “But you can see his presence and the special qualities he provides to the team when he is on the pitch.

“I think it is just a fact of playing more games, getting some chemistry and understanding with his team-mates and getting as fit as he possibly can.”

Arsenal, 10th in the Premier League on 38 points from 27 games, takes on Tottenham on Sunday.