Thomas Partey made his first start of the season on Saturday, helping Arsenal beat Burnleyy, but with Tottenham to come on Sunday, he was still in the XI for the cup tie with AFC Wimbledon
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Thomas Partey expressed his desire to start Arsenal’s Carabao Cup clash with AFC Wimbledon, according to reports.
The Ghana international has endured a frustrating start to the season, missing the first months with an ankle injury he picked up in pre-season.
He made his first appearance of the new campaign against Norwich City, coming off the bench during the win over Norwich City.
Seven days later, Mikel Arteta opted to start Partey in the centre of Arsenal ’s midfield as they made it back-to-back 1-0 wins in the Premier League, beating Burnley at Turf Moor.
However, he was withdrawn in the closing stages against the Clarets due to cramp, as he slowly builds up his match fitness.
It was therefore a huge surprise to see the former Atletico Madrid man in the starting XI for the cup game against the Dons.
Many expected him to sit out in midweek, with one eye on the North London derby with Tottenham on Sunday.
The decision to start him was met with condemnation on social media, but Football.London claim it was only made after Partey himself asked to be involved.
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After such a stop-start period, he is desperate to fine-tune his fitness, particularly with that huge clash against Spurs on the horizon.
Arteta was full of praise for his showing at Turf Moor, deploying him in a deeper lying midfield role, anchoring an otherwise youthful side.
“He’s really important because he is the anchor,” Arteta said. “He is the one that needs to read what is happening and make the rest better.
“That’s his biggest job, to get the right balance in the team and get the right fluidity in the team so we can attack.
“How he managed the transitions was top, he has the pressing and the charisma and then he struggled at the end. He could not finish the game because he was cramping. But that will come up.
“He missed a long time but now he’s back again and he needs some more fitness back.”
And Partey got another 60 minutes in the bank ahead of Spurs and was taken off exactly on the hour mark, a clear sign of a plan between manager and player.
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