IT’S a big statement to make – but after a 15-year wait Arsenal again look to have a player in the mould of Patrick Vieira.
On his full away debut for the Gunners, £45m Thomas Partey was superb.
The defensive midfielder is the type of player the North Londoners have been crying out for.
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He gives them that extra grit in midfield.
Not just that, but the Ghanaian is really good on the ball as well. They have missed that Vieira type.
Partey is very disciplined, but he is not just someone who sits and protects.
He makes things happen as well, when he gets the ball he can get them on the front foot.
What I like about his signing from Atletico Madrid is Arsenal just went and got it done.
We have seen over the years them supposedly try to get top players, especially with all that hype over Luis Suarez.
With Partey they took it to LaLiga and met the get-out clause and that was that. He gives that solidity they have been lacking for so long.
Arsenal’s defence over the years has taken a lot of criticism.
But at times they haven’t had that defensive focal point in midfield and centre-backs have been dragged all over the place and too high up the pitch.
In tandem with Mohamed Elneny – who was also outstanding at Old Trafford – Partey made sure the centre-backs could concentrate on defending.
United were poor, but you have to hand it to Arsenal and Mikel Arteta for getting it so right with their 3-4-3 formation.
Their shape out of possession was excellent.
With Partey and Elneny ready to sit and protect in midfield, it meant there was no space in behind because the centre-backs didn’t get dragged up too high to leave gaps.
If Marcus Greenwood or Marcus Rashford dropped off, they were able to hand them to Partey or Elneny – and they did such a great job in shutting down the threat of the pair.
And one of the big things Arteta has instilled is an unbelievable work ethic and Partey has bought into that immediately.
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