Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta has called on fit-again midfielder Thomas Partey to be the ‘boss’ in the team’s midfield as they look to recover from a disastrous start to the season.
Partey has yet to feature this campaign after injuring his ankle in a pre-season friendly defeat to Chelsea but has been passed fit ahead of Arsenal’s Premier League encounter against Norwich on Saturday.
His return to fitness is timely given Arsenal sit bottom of the Premier League table and with Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny absent and Albert Sambi Lokonga a fitness doubt.
That means Partey is likely to go straight into the Arsenal side to face fellow early strugglers Norwich on Saturday, with Arteta keen for him to drive the team forward.
“He has been missed for the last year or so because he missed almost six months of competition last year, which is a lot because he came very late as well in the transfer window,” Arteta replied when asked how big a role Partey can play this season.
“He is a player that has to be one of the leaders, he has to be the boss in midfield and one of the senior players that has to carry responsibility out of the young players and lead. We have been missing that big time.
“He is a player that has that winning culture, because he has won a lot in the game already, and to have these kind of players in the team is extremely important. So he has got a huge role to play in the team.”
He joined Arsenal last October after the club triggered his release clause from Atletico Madrid on transfer deadline day.
Partey has impressed when he has been able to enjoy a run in Arteta’s side but a couple of injury issues have prevented the 28-year-old from truly establishing himself at the Emirates Stadium.