Arsenal could have the opportunity to go joint-top of the Premier League on Saturday, as they face the daunting trip to the Etihad to play Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
The Gunners have had a confident start to the season, losing one of their opening four league games, however Mikel Arteta’s side will need to put in a near perfect performance if they are going to come away with anything in tomorrow’s clash.
On the other hand, the Citizens, who sit 14th in the league with a game extra to play, have had a surprisingly slow start to the season, dropping points to Leeds and falling victim to a 5-2 hammering at home to Leicester City, so Guardiola’s side will be eager to get their season back on track.
Mikel Arteta has an even record against Guardiola in management, after losing 3-0 in his first encounter at the Etihad and winning 2-0 in last season’s FA Cup semi-final, so the Spaniard will be hoping his players can replicate a similar performance of the latter tomorrow.
A player that could help towards achieving that is Arsenal’s new signing Thomas Partey, and when Arteta was questioned in his press conference about the Ghanaian’s availability, he said that the next few days will be crucial.
Arteta said: “Today he will have his first training session, so everything has to come really quickly for him. We knew that before we signed him that he is fit, he is very willing to start playing and we will see how he goes in the next few days.”
Partey was brought to Arsenal on a frantic transfer deadline day, after the Gunners paid his £45m release clause, however Arteta will be left with a big decision to make, whether he should ease Partey in, or throw him straight into the deep end.
The Ghanaian midfielder certainly has the attributes to adapt quickly to Premier League football, with the 27-year-old having immense physical and mental strength, whilst also being excellent on the ball, completing 89% of his dribbles in LaLiga last season, the highest in Europe out of every player who attempted 50 or more.
Thomas Partey brings a lot of qualities that the Arsenal midfield have found themselves lacking at times, such as athleticism, directness and discipline, however is Arteta willing to take the risk of playing someone who has only undergone two training sessions at the club?
Manchester City at the Etihad is far from the ideal game to make your debut in, however given the quality Partey possesses, along with his superb performances against Liverpool in the Champions League last season to back it up, signs would suggest the Ghanaian would cope if given the start on Saturday.
*all stats provided by Squawka.