Football

Arsenal boss Arteta hails the ‘big influence’ of Partey

Thomas Partey was injured during Arsenal’s woeful home defeat by Aston Villa / Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has heaped praised on midfielder Thomas Partey following his performance on his first start since injury.

The 27-year-old was sidelined for over a month with a hip issue and played a cameo role in the Gunners’ 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace off the bench last week.

Arteta threw their £45million summer signing into the fray from the off on Monday night against Newcastle and the former Atletico Madrid man put in an impressive display.

‘Really happy,’ Arteta said of Partey to Sky Sports. ‘He got better and better as the game went on.

‘He had a big influence. He gives us things that are different to any other player.

‘Still, we have to protect him as he has missed a lot of football in the past few months, but we are really happy with his performance.’

Partey played 67 minutes in Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Steve Bruce’s side and supplied the assist for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s opener in the 50th minute.

Arsenal struggled initially after Partey sustained the injury at the start of December but their Boxing Day victory over Chelsea has kick-started a six-game unbeaten run, taking them to within seven points of fourth-placed Liverpool.

As well as being delighted with Partey’s performance at the Emirates, boss Arteta expressed relief at star striker Aubameyang bouncing back from a tough spell in front of goal with a brace.

‘I am really pleased with his performance overall,’ Arteta added.

‘That’s what he (Aubameyang) has done through his career and mentally you have to be really strong in order to do that.

‘He has come out of a difficult period. We have been missing his goals a lot.

‘Today he has come back and scored two and contributed to the team to win and this is exactly what we need. So I am really pleased for him.’