Europa League

Thomas Partey 'fantastic' on first Arsenal start, says Arteta

The Gunners scored twice in the last 20 minutes as they recovered to defeat Rapid Wien 2-1 in the Europa League

8:57pm on Thursday 22nd October 2020
By
Chris Myson

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta thinks there is much more to come from Thomas Partey after praising the midfielder's "fantastic" first start for the club against Rapid Wien.

The Gunners came from behind to earn a 2-1 Europa League victory in Austria on Thursday to open their Group B campaign.

It was far from plain sailing, as a quiet first half was followed up by a mistake from goalkeeper Bernd Leno which allowed Taxiarchis Fountas to give the hosts a 51st-minute lead.

But David Luiz's header levelled the contest before Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang tapped in the winner with 16 minutes remaining.

READ MORE:

Arsenal: Squad, FC Ratings, Matches, Formations

2020/21 Europa League: Groups, Matches, Team Stats, Player Stats

Arteta was quick to praise Partey following the victory, with the Gunners' £45 million signing from Atletico Madrid playing the full 90 minutes and earning a 7.2 FC Rating on his first Arsenal start.

"Partey looked really solid and really comfortable," Arteta said of the Ghana international, who had made his debut as a late substitute in the weekend defeat at Manchester City.

"He held midfield by himself in the second half when we were more open. He was fantastic tonight and there is much more to come.

"We know with the price we paid for him he is going to have a lot of people looking to him."

Thomas Partey
M, DM (C) - Arsenal - 27 yrs
90'
7.2
Oct 22, 2020
90Minutes played
102Touches
92Passes
83Passes completed
23Final third passes
8Ball recovered
2Tackles won
1Yellow cards

After Leno passed the ball to Rapid's Ercan Kara from inside his own six-yard box in the build-up to the first goal, Arteta acknowledged there is a balance that needs to be struck when it comes to his aim of playing the ball out from the back.

"It's part of our game," he said. "We need to understand when we can do that and when we should kick the ball into the stands.

"They will understand better and better the type of balls we have to play in those areas and to who in relation to the pressure that is coming.

"We knew it was going to be a difficult match. We made it harder in the beginning with the goal we conceded.

"But I really like the reaction and the second goal was fantastic."

A home Premier League game against Leicester City is next for Arsenal on Sunday, before they continue their continental campaign against Irish side Dundalk at the Emirates Stadium next week.

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