Mikel Arteta Claims Thomas Partey 'Held Midfield by Himself' in Strong First Arsenal Start

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has praised the performance of Thomas Partey following his full Gunners debut against Rapid Vienna in the Europa League on Thursday night, impressed that the £45m signing ‘held the midfield by himself’ in the second half.

Having gone behind early in the second half in the Austrian capital, Arsenal were then able to turn things around and win 2-1 thanks to goals from David Luiz and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Partey’s input was a major factor in why the comeback was possible.

Arsenal won 2-1 in Vienna with a second half comeback | Chris Hofer/Getty Images

“He looked really solid and really comfortable,” Arteta reflected, via Arsenal.com.

“I think he held the midfield by himself in the second half when we were a little more open and started to take more chances and attacking certain spaces with some players. But I think he was fantastic tonight and there is much more to come from him.”

However, Arteta was also adamant that Partey needs more from his teammates as this new-look Arsenal continues to develop because he will particularly be under pressure due to his price tag.

“He needs his team-mates around him. It's not about him,” the Spaniard explained.

Partey gave Arsenal shape in midfield that made the comback possible | Chris Hofer/Getty Images

“We know that with the price that we paid for him and the profile of the player that he is, that he's going to have a lot of people looking at him every single game.

“But this is about the structure we have as a team and the flow, the unity and the cohesion that we need in our team and he is one piece of that and hopefully he's a big piece.”

Level on points with Norwegian side Molde at the top of Europa League Group B, Arsenal must now turn their attention back to the Premier League and Sunday’s difficult clash with Leicester. They will be back in Europe again next week when Dundalk make trip to London from Ireland.

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Source : 90min