Mikel Arteta says something has clicked for Thomas Partey since the midfielder rated his early season performances as only worthy of a four out of 10.
Aside from his red card blip in the Carabao Cup semi-final against Liverpool, the Ghana international has been in impressive form since the tail-end of last year and was recently nominated for the club’s player of the month award.
Partey referenced the fact he too often lost focus in matches when he spoke to Sky Sports in December and the boss believes that going public with his disappointment has proved to be a turning point.
“I think when you are honest with yourself, it’s a great starting point,” said Arteta ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Watford.
“When you assess yourself in the way Thomas did, publically, it’s a really rare thing to do.
“He did it because he believed that was the case and he wants to give much more to the team and the club and probably something clicked again.
“Probably the fact he’s been injury-free is a massive thing in there. As well, he’s probably more fit as well because he’s doing things better.”
Asked if he’s noticed a difference in the player, Arteta’s answer was a simple, “Yes.”
Much to the manager’s amusement, he was also quizzed on Partey’s shooting. Like one of his predecessors, John Jensen, the Ghana international has developed a reputation for being hugely erratic when taking aim at goal leading supporters to jokingly scream, “shoot” anytime he has the ball near the penalty area.
“He is practising,” said Arteta. “Some of the goals he scores in training, you’d be amazed.
“You won’t believe me probably so you’ll have to see one of those soon getting into the net.”
Partey has only scored once for the Gunners since joining from Atletico Madrid in October 2021; a ‘header’ that came off his shoulder to give Arsenal the lead against Aston Villa in October.