‘Probably that day something clicked’: Mikel Arteta believes Thomas Partey’s good form was kickstarted by publicly rating his Arsenal career a four out of 10… as Gunners boss praises Ghana midfielder for improving fitness after injury-hit first season
- Thomas Partey only rated his Arsenal career a four out of 10 in December
- But he has had a number of impressive performances either side of AFCON
- Mikel Arteta admits he has noticed his improved performances and fitness
Mikel Arteta believes ‘something clicked’ for in-form midfielder Thomas Partey after he delivered a forthright assessment of his Arsenal career at the end of last year.
The 28-year-old told Sky Sports in December he had not adapted fully to the Premier League and said his performances for the Gunners should only be rated four out of 10.
But either side of an Africa Cup of Nations campaign with Ghana, the ex-Atletico Madrid midfielder – who suffered an injury-hit first season after his move from Spain – has delivered a string of impressive performances.
Mikel Arteta believes ‘something clicked’ for Thomas Partey after his frank assessment of his Arsenal career
The Ghana midfielder rated his Arsenal career a four out of 10 in December last year
He had the most ball recoveries of any player in the dramatic victory against Wolves and Gunners boss Arteta believes that frank public comment to close out 2021 and improved fitness has helped him become a leading figure in his side.
‘When you assess yourself the way Thomas did publicly it’s really rare.,’ Arteta said ahead of Arsenal’s visit to Watford on Sunday. ‘Probably that day something clicked.
‘He is in impressive form. The fact that he’s been injury free is massive, but he’s probably more fit as well because he’s doing things better.’
Asked if he had noticed Partey’s improvement since his interview, Arteta simply replied: ‘Yes.’
Mikel Arteta however admits he has noted the Ghanaian’s improved fitness
However, the Ghana international has scored just once in his Gunners career since his £45million move in October 2020, which he scored against Aston Villa earlier this season.
Gunners fans have become frustrated with his lack of accuracy when shooting from outside the box, but a chuckling Arteta added: ‘Some of the goals he scores in training, you would be amazed!
‘You won’t believe me probably, so we have to see one of those soon get into the net!’
Asked in December to give himself a mark out of 10, Partey responded: ‘Personally I would say five or six. But with the marks of the (fans) also, I would give myself four.
‘Because there are moments in a game when I can really hurt the other team but there are also moments where, because I’m not yet adapted to the Premier League, maybe I lose a bit of focus and that’s when everything goes down.’