EPL

Partey improves team-mates – Arteta excited to have Arsenal midfielder back from injury

By Sports Desk January 13, 2021

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta lauded Thomas Partey and his impact as the star midfielder prepares to return for the Gunners.

Partey has been restricted to just six matches for Arsenal since arriving from LaLiga side Atletico Madrid in a £45million deal three months ago.

Only one of those appearances has come in the last two months, having aggravated a thigh injury in Arsenal's 2-0 loss to London rivals Tottenham in December.

However, Partey is back in contention for Thursday's Premier League clash with Crystal Palace and Arteta is excited to be able to call upon one of his key men once again.

"I think he's got a different presence - he brings something different to the team," Arteta said. "It's not just about his talent, it's not just about his physicality, it's who he is as a person. 

"He makes players better around him and that's a big, big quality.

"It's incredible that we are in January, we signed him in October and we have only played him [a handful of times]."

Partey has completed 2.6 dribbles per 90 minutes in his five Premier League outings and attempted 3.25 tackles per game, which no other Arsenal player can match.

And though the north London side have won only one of those five matches, compared to six victories in 12 league games without him, Arteta admitted Arsenal have missed the midfielder's presence.

"We haven't really seen the impact he could have on the team. Obviously we have missed him. I think it's going to be a big bonus if we can keep him fit," he said.

"When you are injured you feel first of all the responsibility when the club has made the effort we made to sign him.

"He was so willing for months to be joining us. He really wants to be a part of it and knows how much he can help. 

"Then he had to deal with the injuries, with the lockdown and moving into a new place, and that's been tough for him.

"That's why sometimes he was rushing and wanted to do everything straight away, because he's so willing to come back, he doesn't want to be alone at home. 

"He's in a really good place, he's settled really well in the dressing room, around the staff. He's a special character and hopefully we can see him on the pitch finally."

Related items

  • Zion needs to 'get in shape' to reach potential, warns Karl Malone Zion needs to 'get in shape' to reach potential, warns Karl Malone

    Zion Williamson needs to "get in shape" if he is to fulfil his potential in the NBA, according to Hall of Famer Karl Malone.

    New Orleans selected Williamson with the first overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft but a meniscus tear in preseason and a season shortened by the coronavirus pandemic meant he played just 24 games in his rookie campaign.

    The Duke product is up to 36 games – still less than half the standard season – but former power forward Malone, a two-time MVP who had All-NBA First Team honours on 11 occasions, thinks he need to improve his physique if he is to maximise his abilities.

    Williamson is listed at six foot, seven inches and 284 pounds, with Malone pointing to Glen 'Big Baby' Davis as an example of someone who did not live up to their billing due to their size – Davis was 6ft 9in and played at 289 pounds.

    "I love Zion Williamson. Zion needs to get into shape. If he doesn't get in shape, we might not ever know his full potential," Malone said on The Players' Tribune's Knuckleheads podcast.

    "There's a young man that played at LSU, 'Big Baby' Davis. Big Baby made a comment about eight months ago, he did an ESPN show … he came on that show and he said, 'Look guys, I'm about to get into trouble now with what I'm about to say. I know everybody loves Zion and I love him too. But Zion has the same body type that I had.'

    "He was talking about himself. And he said if he doesn't get into shape, we'll never know his full potential. And he did get heat from that."

    Williamson had 32 points with five rebounds and three assists as the Pelicans suffered a 118-102 defeat to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday, New Orleans losing for the sixth time in seven games to slip to 5-8 for the season.

    This season the 20-year-old is averaging 23.4 points and 8.0 rebounds in 32.6 minutes per game. That ranks him 44th in minutes per game, with his usage percentage of 29.1 enough for 39th in the league.

    However, he leads in the league in contested three-points shots per game at 5.9.

    Malone added: "I'm still waiting on him to play the whole damn season… and he needs to be averaging 40 minutes per game. Look here, you're a 21, 22-year-old kid. Your a** shouldn't get tired."

  • Man United out to equal record set by treble-winning side in Fulham trip Man United out to equal record set by treble-winning side in Fulham trip

    Manchester United's 0-0 draw away to Liverpool on Sunday left Ole Gunnar Solskjaer "disappointed", the Norwegian adamant they did enough to end the Reds' remarkable long-standing unbeaten home run.

    But there were two silver linings; firstly, United remained top of the Premier League, and secondly, the point preserved their own exceptional streak without a defeat.

    It ensured United's run without a loss away from home in the Premier League would surpass a full year, having last suffered a domestic defeat on the road at Anfield on January 19, 2020.

    Liverpool's win on that occasion took them 30 points clear of United in the table, but the obvious gulf between the two last season has not carried into 2020-21.

    United are away from home again on Wednesday as they go to Fulham, and avoiding defeat again will see them equal a club record.

    EMULATING THE TREBLE WINNERS

    The last United team to go 17 away games unbeaten in the Premier League was Alex Ferguson's famous treble-winning side in 1998-99.

    United's run started on December 5 and lasted until the following September, therefore playing a major role in the Red Devils securing the Premier League title ahead of Arsenal, pipping Arsene Wenger's men to the crown by a point.

    They scored 34 goals and claimed nine wins in those 17 games and conceded 16.

    Should United avoid defeat to Fulham, statistically they appear set to improve of the 1998-99 team's run, as the current crop have already scored 36, conceded just 13 and won 12.

    But even if they ultimately fall at the final hurdle at Craven Cottage, they are safe in the knowledge that no other post-Ferguson United side registers in the top seven for the club's all-time top-flight unbeaten away runs.

    Whether or not this run would have occurred if fans were in the stadiums is another matter, but it's unquestionable that progress is being made at Old Trafford - or, you know, away from Old Trafford...

    RESILIENT REDS

    A key factor in United's impressive run has been the character and resilience shown by them.

    They have rescued 18 points from losing positions on the road in 2020-21, which is already a record for a single Premier League season, bettering the 17 accumulating by Aston Villa (1993-94) and Newcastle United (2001-02). The previous best posted by United was 16 in 2002-03.

    Certainly the pick of United's away comebacks this season was the 3-2 win at Southampton on November 29, as they fell 2-0 down before Edinson Cavani inspired a brilliant turnaround with two goals and an assist off the bench.

    A WAYS TO GO

    As laudable as United's current away form is, they are still some way off matching the Premier League's all-time record, however.

    Arsenal's 'Invincibles' hold that honour, having gone 27 matches unbeaten away from home in the top flight.

    That stretched from April 2003 to September 2004, spanning well over a full season as they comfortably beat the 23-game record they themselves set between August 2001 and September 2002.

    The closest any team has got to either streak is Liverpool, who between January 2019 and February 2020 went 21 away games without defeat before they suffered a shock 3-0 loss at Watford.

  • Rumour Has It: Pochettino wants Kane reunion at PSG, Alaba waiting for Barca? Rumour Has It: Pochettino wants Kane reunion at PSG, Alaba waiting for Barca?

    Could Harry Kane land in Paris?

    With Kylian Mbappe tipped to join Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly eyeing replacements.

    Mauricio Pochettino has a familiar face in mind…

     

    TOP STORY – POCH WANTS KANE IF MBAPPE LEAVES

    Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino wants to sign Tottenham striker Harry Kane, according to El Chiringuito de Jugones.

    That is if PSG star Kylian Mbappe leaves the Ligue 1 champions for LaLiga holders Real Madrid.

    Pochettino coached Kane for five years at Tottenham before he was sacked by Spurs in November 2019.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - Sky Sport Germany claims Bayern Munich star David Alaba will not decide on his future until he has spoken to Barcelona. Marca reported that Madrid had struck a deal to sign Alaba on a free transfer at the end of the season. However, Alaba is reportedly holding out for Barca as the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United and PSG try to lure the Austria international.

    Martin Odegaard has asked to leave Madrid on loan due to his lack of game time, reports Marca and Diario AS.

    Romelu Lukaku has no intention of leaving Inter for City, says Express Sport. Lukaku spent two years at United before moving to Italy in 2019. Pep Guardiola's City have also been linked with Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland amid doubts over Sergio Aguero's future.

    - Mundo Deportivo claims Manchester City defender Eric Garcia could join Barca this month or at the end of the season.

    Milan are eyeing Barca's Junior Firpo on loan, while Serie A rivals Napoli are also interested, according to Calciomercato.

    - Eurosport reports Tottenham are looking to prise Danny Ings away from Southampton. Ings is reportedly stalling on a new contract as he eyes a Champions League club.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.