Thomas Partey’s arrival at Arsenal last summer was met with plenty of expectations from Gunners’ fans, but a few months down the line, the Ghanaian international has struggled to justify the hype around his transfer.
Arsenal coughed up £45 million on deadline day to sign Partey from Atletico Madrid, but the midfielder has never truly got going at the Emirates, a lot of that having to do with a series of muscle injuries.
He has shown flashes of brilliance on a few occasions, but the midfielder has not played anywhere near enough football to live up to that price tag.
So far, the 27-year-old has made 16 league appearances for Arsenal, and has created just one assist. He is yet to score a Premier League goal for the North London club.
However, recent evidence suggests that Partey may be starting to find his feet as an Arsenal player. He has featured in the last five league matches, starting the last four.
He was very good against West Ham United, especially in the second half, dictating play from deep as Arsenal fought back from 3-0 down to earn a 3-3 draw against the Hammers.
The result was less positive in their next league match against Liverpool, which the Gunners lost 3-0 at home, but Partey was a small ray of light in an otherwise dour team performance.
Partey may not have consistently hit the heights at Arsenal, but his abilities have never been in doubt.
As he showed during his time in Spain, he is one of the finest midfielders in the world. He is very intelligent on the ball, and complements that with a good passing range. Not only can he find a pass, he can also drive through midfield and has a good shot on him.
It has been a massively underwhelming season for Arsenal, who have been stuck in mid-table mediocrity for much of the campaign.
Having said that, the season is still salvageable. Given the distance between Arsenal and the top four, qualifying for next season’s UEFA Champions League via the league looks realistically impossible.
However, they can still sneak into Europe’s premier club competition by winning the Europa League this season.
Arsenal may not have had the best season, but they are definitely up there amongst the favourites for the Europa League. In fact, bookmakers have the Gunners as second favourites to win the competition, behind Premier League rivals, Manchester United.
So if you are a betting man, it may not be a bad idea to put some money on the Gunners. Great Europa League betting markets are available on top bookies like Betway.
Arsenal showed last season that they are capable of putting together a cup run when they won the FA Cup, and they will be looking to finish another campaign with a flourish by claiming the Europa League title.
Should Arsenal go on to win the Europa League, they will completely alter the narrative around their season. The season will dramatically go from being ordinary and listless to being pretty good.
Not only will they have a trophy to show for their troubles, they will also get the added bonus of Champions League qualification!
If that is going to happen, they will need big players like Partey to stay fit and firing between now and the end of the season.