Mikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s full Arsenal debut after Rapid Vienna win

Thomas Partey impressed in Arsenal's 2-1 victory over Rapid Vienna
Thomas Partey impressed in Arsenal’s 2-1 victory over Rapid Vienna (Reuters)

Mikel Arteta has praised Thomas Partey after the midfielder impressed during his full debut in Arsenal’s 2-1 win against Rapid Vienna on Thursday evening.

The Gunners kicked off their Europa League campaign with a victory in Austria but they were forced to come from behind to secure three points.

A mistake from Bernd Leno led to Taxiarchis Fountas scoring the opener for Rapid Vienna, but goals from David Luiz and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who was brought on as a substitute in the second half, completed Arsenal’s comeback.

Partey, meanwhile, delivered an accomplished performance alongside Mohamed Elneny at the heart of Arsenal’s midfield.

And Arteta hailed Arsenal’s new £45 million signing after the match.

‘He looked really solid and really comfortable,’ said Arteta.

Thomas Partey looked solid in Arsenal's midfield as the Gunners beat Rapid Vienna
Thomas Partey looked solid in Arsenal’s midfield as the Gunners beat Rapid Vienna (Getty)

‘I think he held the midfield by himself in the second half as well when we were a little bit more open and we started to take more chances attacking certain spaces with some players.

‘But I think he was fantastic tonight and there is much more to come from him.

Asked if Arsenal need to manage the expectations around Partey, Arteta replied: ‘Yes, of course.

‘But he needs his teammates around him, it’s not [just] about him.

‘Obviously, we know with the price we paid for him and the profile of player that he is we know he’s going to have a lot of people looking at him every single game.

‘But it’s about the structure we have as a team. The flow, the unity and cohesion we need in our team and he’s one piece of that, and hopefully he’s a big piece.’

Speaking at half time, former Arsenal defender Martin Keown praised Partey for his display.

‘I think you know when you see a player immediately add that touch of class, who wants to play and makes things happen,’ Keown told BT Sport.

‘He’s so silky smooth, he’s oozed class and been everywhere.’

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