After a seven-minute cameo in Arsenal’s 1-0 loss at Manchester City at the weekend, Thomas Partey was finally handed his full debut for the Gunners in the Europa League on Tuesday.
And what a debut it was.
Arsenal picked up a 2-1 win on the night, coming from behind to beat Rapid Vienna, with goals from David Luiz and substitute, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
While the Gunners’ recovery was creditable, the headlines will be dominated by Partey’s masterful performance in midfield.
Paired in midfield with Mohammed Elneny, Partey proceeded to boss the game, demonstrating not only his strength and tackling ability, but his sweet passing as well.
At the end of the first half, Partey had made 43 passes and completed 93% of them. He was successful with all two of his attempted long balls forward.
He had also made three tackles and one interception as Arsenal and Rapid went into the break level.
No other Arsenal player made more tackles or won more aerial duels than Partey in the first half.
An error by goalkeeper Bernd Leno threatened to put a blight on Partey’s impressive debut in the second half but Arsenal’s comeback ensured it didn’t.
The Ghanaian just continued from where he’d left off, making two more tackles and 49 more passes.
He finished with a passing accuracy of 90%. Partey also attempted three more long passes, finding his mark with two of them.
The Black Stars midfielder earned massive praise from Arsenal fans and even a few supporters of opposition clubs who were in awe of his ability.
Former Arsenal player, Martin Keown said Partey oozed class and added a touch of calmness to Arsenal’s midfield.
“I think when you see a player immediately add that touch of class, who wants to play and makes things happen. He’s so silky smooth, he’s oozed class and been everywhere,” he said.
Owen Hargreaves added that he was amazed by the technical quality Partey possessed.
“This guy makes it look so easy. He plays (number) 10 passes as a holding midfielder.”
Arsenal face Leicester City this weekend, and based off tonight’s showing, Partey is definitely in contention for his first Premier League start.