Arteta: Partey ready for ‘right step’ to Arsenal starting XI after Crystal Palace return

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Thomas Partey
Thomas Partey

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has confirmed Thomas Partey is working towards starting a match after he made his return to action against Crystal Palace.

On Thursday, Partey was introduced for his first competitive match since he suffered a thigh injury during a Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur on December 7.

The Ghana international replaced Dani Ceballos in the 69th minute as the Gunners settled for a share of the spoils with Crystal Palace at the Emirates Stadium.

The outing was Partey’s sixth Premier League appearance this campaign, which includes four league starts since his signing from Atletico Madrid in October.

When asked whether the 27-year-old is ready for a starting role in Arsenal’s next fixture against Newcastle United on Monday, Arteta told the club website; “Well he’s made the right step. Obviously he hasn’t played much football in the last four months.

“He had an injury in exactly the same place he had before when he got injured against Spurs. Now we have the reassurance that he can compete. He did it for 25, 30 minutes. He did it well, he didn’t feel anything so now we’re going to be looking for the next step.”

Thursday’s goalless draw was Arsenal fourth straight clean sheet in all competitions and Arteta believes the fine momentum will inspire his team to win games.

He continued: “It’s very positive because that’s the foundation to win any game, and gives you a great opportunity to go on and win every single game. [Against Crystal Palace] we lacked that quality in the final third, that are needed against teams like Palace.

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“Roy is a manager who gets teams really organised, they have been so successful against big teams over the years because they are a real threat as well in transition and on set pieces. We lacked that against them.”

Arsenal are 11th in the Premier League table with 24 points from 18 matches – eight points adrift of the European spots.

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