Arteta defends Partey decision, admits player lacks rhythm

35

The last time Arsenal faced Sp*rs, the game was gone by half-time and so too was Thomas Partey.

The Ghana international had been struggling with injury in the three weeks prior to the December trip to White Hart Lane and exacerbated the issue after starting in midfield. His timing couldn’t have been more unfortunate.

Limping to the sidelines just before half time, Partey left a gaping hole in our midfield that Son Heung-Min and Harry Kane exploited to make the score 2-0.

After the game, Mikel Arteta was heavily criticised for risking the 27-year-old who went on to miss a further four weeks of action.

Ahead of the second North London derby of the season, the boss insists that he did not rush the summer signing back from injury.

“He ticked every box to be able to play in that game,” Arteta explained. “After every injury there is a risk for a period, whether it is five days, a week, two weeks or 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 and then he felt it again, 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?”

Of the 23 Premier League games that Arsenal have played since Partey signed, the Ghanaian has started 10, made three appearances off the bench and sat out the rest. It’s been a frustrating start to life at the Emirates and even now, Arteta thinks the player, who he subbed off for tactical reasons in midweek in Athens, is still trying to find some rhythm.

“Rhythm-wise he has struggled a little bit in the last few weeks because he hasn’t had enough training sessions or enough preparation because the league is so demanding,” he said.

“But you can see his quality, you can see the 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.”

A first goal for the club on Sunday wouldn’t go amiss either.

guest
35 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mcheza

Escapism!!!

Mcheza

Tierney?

Onenil

When Partey is not at his best he is still useful. When he gets back up to speed he can be immense.

Tierney’s Tescopoints

Id like to see him make himself available to take whatever risky pass out Leno decides to make. Maybe he’d be a safer option than Granit or Dani.

Oberon

He does but you can’t have just one player doing that. It would be super obvious and you’d stick two players on him any time we played out.

NaanBread

Then one can do the old switcheroo. Pass to Xhaka/Ceballos when opposition finally decides to crowd Partey

Toni

It sounds like you have Partey and Mo confused.

Biggles

As the article says, a frustrating start for Partey. He’s clearly a very talented player so, hopefully, that run of injury problems are behind him and we will be able to see what he can do over a sustained period. The Sp*rs game will be tough as they are currently playing the kind of free-scoring football that I guess we aspire to, or should do anyway. We’ll therefore need everyone, including Partey, to be on top form. That also means no silly mistakes from anyone – which is a big ask, I know – so we can get the result… Read more »

No foot Norbert

I wouldn’t go that far but they have improved typically just before playing us.

Biggles

OK, let’s pretend it’s not Sp*rs we’re comparing ourselves with. “Team S” has five consecutive wins and seventeen goals (I think, but that could be wrong) prior to playing us. It seems reasonable that we’d want to emulate that run of form so we can get up the table. You could well go as far as saying that’s exactly what we’ll have to do in order to achieve that. A win against Sp*rs would be a small step in that direction.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

He looked sloppy and off the pace of the game, on Thursday. I also noticed his sprints are either slow, or he’s holding back.
Hopefully he’s eased backed in until he gets up to full fitness, and we see the real Thomas for a Europa run, and next season, after a rest and pre season.

Eric Blair

Begs the question, if it was a buy out clause why didn’t we pay it earlier and get him settled in with a proper pre-season? We might have avoided all these problems altogether.

jimbo

Because this club is a joke. They were dicking around all summer trying to haggle over his price and that of auoar. Shoud have just paid up and got them both in early. Both players wanted the move.

A P

Aouar didn’t want to move.

The only sp*rs i like is san antonio

Yeah tell that to willian too. How many more matches will arteta play him before he plays those who actually is in rhythm like pepe?

bob

Does literally every article require a William bashing? I’m not his fan either, but he is our player for now and it’s not a crime to use him, especially when he hasn’t been complete garbage for the past few games.

Who knows, if we stop making horrendous mistakes, then maybe we can afford to play a player who is less secure in possesion like Pepe.

Russ

Exactly Bob. And dare we say, look at the assist stats….

Woodyroy

Agree. He’s playing well right now. I like his turn of pace and expect goals to come soon.

A Different George

If he had played all season as he has the last three or so games (pretty good, very good, okay), few would be complaining about his inclusion (might still be unhappy with giving him such a long contract). I would still rather see Pepe than Willian, but it doesn’t seem ridiculous for Arteta to make the current Willian a first choice. I think Arteta believes that Willian as he is playing now is much closer to the way he has played his entire career, and that the awful crap player we saw earlier was the anomaly.

Johnny 2 Bad

Well said. He’s an easy option for those unhappy with the team and use him as a scapegoat. I’m actually really excited about the team. We just need to stop asking Leno to play it out like that. He’s clearly not comfortable doing so.

Matthinc

I think he’s been doing it pretty well all season, barring that awful pass for cebellos

Cobwebs

For this game I can really see the worry of starting Pepe – loses the ball and Kane/Son f*xk us on the break.

C.B.

Just because he doesn’t dance so well shouldn’t stop him from playing.

Mayor McCheese

After all, rhythm is a dancer, it’s a soul’s companion.

Flummoxed

And don’t forget that Groove is in the heart

Rich

Partey looks like a high risk, high reward player

He’ll get caught in deep areas, but he’ll also beat the press, and provide plenty of direct penetration

Other than the mistake last week, Xhaka’s played really well since Xmas, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Elneny start alongside Partey tomorrow

………..Leno
…….,Luiz Gabriel
Soares………Tierney
…..Partey Elneny
Saka Odegaard Smith-Rowe
…,,,Aubameyang

I’d go with Pepe, but I think we’ll see something like this

Aaron

I think we will see most of the team above with the exception of Bellerin and Xhaka being in it.

I personally like the 3 behind Aubameyang.

Pastor Simon

When is the Partey please?

Donkeson

Anyone else noticed how the manager defends the certain players(he loves) no matter what they do and on the other hand, comes out clean on the others(who the fans see as better players)?
Never heard him critical of Luiz, Willian, Xhaka… But when it comes to Saliba, Martinelli, now Partey he’s bold to talk their shortcomings. This is getting ridiculous.

Biggles

I think it depends on the context, the questions he’s asked etc. rather than a “naked” bias that you appear to be suggesting. It would be very dangerous for any manager to continually be critical of certain players, yet still pick them to play (so that, presumably, he can be critical of them yet again?).

Donkeson

I really hope so cos it’s not for a reason that we are where we are in the table and we the fans seem to be seeing different things from what he sees in the players. He sees Willian for example as better than Pepe, Luiz better than Saliba, Martinelli not worth even 5minutes, and then Partey was substituted for Ceballos in the same match we were watching… Even if it’s not “naked”, could be systemic. The preference of the older players to the young ones who have been our saving help this season… I bet you if not that… Read more »

The Beast

Anyone else notice how some supporters are so desperate to find scandal where there is none that they’ll claim a generic, throw away quote about a player who’s been plagued with injuries needing matches to find his rhythm is some how proof the manager despises that player? Despite the fact the manager almost hand picked said player as a priority in the transfer window?

Cranky Colin

Fab player….. love the potential here!!!!
On a funny note , ( actually not funny), with regards to him scoring….. he hasn’t a hope in hell, if he keeps blasting them over the crossbar.
My services are available to the Arsenal on how to keep a ball down, but I have received no requests for help yet😝

karl

Looks our best midfielder by a distance and that is great news if this is a fraction of what we will get!

Mac

Unrelated: the amount of playing time Martinelli is getting is criminal. I’m not saying he should start every game, but, as a bare minimum, the odd 10 minute cameo. There are times in the latter stages of games where we need fresh legs to press up top – he has these legs. Lest we forget he’s also very good at football. I feel some have forgotten how good this guy actually is. Confident, direct and exciting. Get him back out there