Arsenal suffered a narrow defeat at the hands of Manchester City in the Premier League on Saturday, courtesy of a 23rd-minute goal by Raheem Sterling. Many were expecting to see Thomas Partey, Arsenal’s latest big-name signing, start against Pep Guardiola’s team, but the midfield powerhouse only came in off the bench for the final eight minutes of the Etihad contest, replacing Granit Xhaka, and managed to earn his first yellow card in England towards the very end.
Speaking after the game, manager Mikel Arteta said that a process needs to be respected with Thomas. He went on to explain that the newcomer had only been involved in one real training session and that several aspects of the way the team is supposed to play are yet to be made clear to him. Nonetheless, the boss believes the Ghana international looked good when he came on.
Thomas arrived on the Deadline Day of the international transfer window (October 5th) after Arsenal triggered his £45 million release clause to prize him away from Atletico Madrid. The club were reportedly trying to bring in Houssem Aouar from Olympique Lyon at the same time, but signing both would apparently have been a strain too big in the current financial climate.
Arsenal are set to face Rapid Vienna in the Europa League on Thursday, and Arteta confirmed that expects his team to react collectively to the defeat on Saturday. He said that this hectic schedule, where games are being played twice a week, is something they need to get used to. On the other hand, the Spaniard believes that the squad at his disposal is large enough for the challenges ahead and that every player on the list will get a chance to show what he’s made of in competitive action. He is very optimistic, and happy with the progress he has noted so far.
Arsenal can be backed at 11/20 to start their Europa League campaign with a win.