Rio Ferdinand has claimed on his YouTube channel that Thomas Partey did not deserve a shoutout following Arsenal’s win over Tottenham in the North London derby, while Jermaine Jenas insisted that the Gunners can’t rely on the midfielder.
Partey was the surprise opening goalscorer at the Emirates on Saturday. The Ghanaian produced a brilliant strike on the edge of the box to give Mikel Arteta’s men the lead they deserved.
Partey’s importance to Arsenal has been clear for some time. But he has been particularly outstanding when he has featured this season. His presence in the side has also helped bring the best out of Granit Xhaka.
Arsenal can’t rely on Thomas Partey
Nevertheless, when it was put to Ferdinand that Partey’s performance deserved acknowledgement, he insisted that he was outshone by William Saliba. Meanwhile, Jenas suggested that Arsenal are too vulnerable in that area of the field when it comes to depth.
“How’s he even getting a shoutout? Why? He wasn’t your best player. He might not play three out of the next five. Saliba was your best player,” Ferdinand told his YouTube channel.
“If I was Edu, that’s the first position I’m going for in January or the summer because you can’t rely on him. He’s very important and you see a difference when he’s in there,” Jenas added.
It is fair to say that the 29-year-old has not played anywhere near enough since his arrival. In his first season, he managed just 18 starts in the Premier League. And last year, it was 23.
Already this term he has missed games. It is probably not a huge surprise that they have not kept a clean sheet when Partey has not played. They struggled to see off Fulham and Aston Villa, and they were beaten at Manchester United.
That is not all down to Partey missing out. But it does highlight that his involvement does give Arteta’s squad so much balance.
He was excellent in the North London derby, despite Ferdinand being more impressed by Saliba. And if he stays fit and available, Arsenal’s chances of putting together a genuine title challenge improve significantly.