Thomas Partey is expected to play some part in Arsenal’s Premier League clash with Crystal Palace at the Emirates Stadium after recovering from a thigh injury.
The 27-year-old moved to north London in a deal worth £45m in October, but has struggled with various injury niggles; limiting him to just six appearances in all competitions.
After overcoming an initial problem in December that left him out for a month, Partey was re-injured himself against Tottenham – limping over to the side of the pitch as Arsenal conceded a second goal -and has been out of action ever since.
But Partey has now returned to full training and is in contention to start against Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Thursday evening. Speaking before the game (quoted by MailOnline Sport), head coach Mikel Arteta enthused about his the Ghanaian’s presence and personality.
“He brings something different to the team. It’s not just about his talent. It’s not just about his physicality. It’s who he is as a person,” Arteta said.
“He makes players better around him and that’s a big, big quality,” He added, before admitting his frustration at not being able to use Partey: “It’s incredible that we are in January, we signed him in (October) and we only played him twice (at home).
“We haven’t really seen the impact we believe he could have on the team. Obviously we have missed him. It’s going to be a big bonus if we can keep him fit”.
The 25-year-old made his debut as a late substitute for Granit Xhaka in a defeat to Manchester City, and gave a solid account of himself when Arsenal beat Manchester United 1-0 at Old Trafford in November.
The injuries kicked in thereafter, however, and have coincided with his new side’s plummet down the Premier League table. His return is timely, though; Arsenal can make it four wins from four with victory against Palace and move level on points with Southampton, Chelsea and Aston Villa, breaching into the top half in the process.