Mikel Arteta challenges Thomas Partey to step up and be Arsenal’s midfield ‘boss’

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Thomas Partey has been challenged to become a leader at Arsenal by manager Mikel Arteta  (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Thomas Partey has been challenged to become a leader at Arsenal by manager Mikel Arteta (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta has called on Thomas Partey to step up and be “the boss” of Arsenal’s midfield as the club look to turn their miserable start to the season around.

Arsenal have lost their opening three Premier League games of the season, failing to score a goal in the process, and they sit bottom of the table ahead of tomorrow’s match at home to Norwich.

Arteta is desperate to get a win to ease some of the pressure on his shoulders, particularly from supporters, and he has been boosted by the return of Partey.

The midfielder has been out since the start of August after injuring his ankle in a pre-season friendly against Chelsea, but he is now fit and Arteta has called on him to be a leader.

“He has been missing for the last year or so, because he missed almost six months of competition last year, which is a lot, because he came very late as well in the transfer window,” said Arteta.

Mikel Arteta is under pressure after a poor start to the season at Arsenal (AFP via Getty Images)
Mikel Arteta is under pressure after a poor start to the season at Arsenal (AFP via Getty Images)

“He is a player that has to be one of the leaders, he has to be the boss in midfield and one of the senior players that has to carry responsibility out of the young players and lead. We have been missing that big time.

“He is a player that has that winning culture, because he has won a lot in the game already, and to have these kind of players in the team is extremely important. So he has got a huge role to play in the team.”

Arsenal can also welcome back centre-backs Ben White and Gabriel for tomorrow’s game, after the pair recovered from Covid-19 and a knee issue respectively.

Right-back Takehiro Tomiyasu, who arrived on deadline day from Bologna for an initial £16million, is also hoping to make his debut as his work permit was approved last night.

The Japan international was one of six summer signings, while Arsenal loaned, released or sold 10 first-team players and nine youngsters.

“We have a really united dressing room, a really united group of staff at the club,” said Arteta.

“It is now to start working altogether, with the difficult start that we had, try to put that aside and just focus on what is coming next - which is Norwich. That should be the only focus from now on.

“Now we have the tools that we believe are going to give us the best opportunity to compete in the way we want to compete and build what we want to build in this project and now we have to make it work.

“We have to build it together, we need to create relationships, chemistry, understanding. We have to adapt and we have to do that really quickly.”

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