Ghana’s swashbuckling midfielder, Thomas Partey, was in shimmering form for his English club at the weekend – spearheading a vintage 3-1 win for the Gunners against Tottenham Hotspur in the North London derby on Saturday.
In a performance that could easily be described as virtuoso, the Black Stars’ strong centre-man streamed a sweet range of gorgeous tailor-measured passes that drew lots of applause from the insatiable Arsenal home crowd, capping it with a magnificent goal.
Saturday’s feisty win saw Arsenal open up a four-goal lead off the pack in the English league, even if temporarily.
Dominant from the get-go, Partey unleashed a right-footed corker into the top corner after being fed by Ben White outside the box in the 20th minute. The venom behind the goal was lethal and left Spurs’ goalie Hugo Lloris with no chance.
The derby game may have been watched by hundreds of Ghanaians for two reasons: One, the betPawa Ghana Premier League was on temporary hold, and two, perhaps, to assess Partey’s quick-silver recovery from a supposed injury at the Ghana camp.
On September 23, last month, the Ghana midfielder had to be withdrawn from Ghana’s starting 11 against Brazil after picking up an injury during a warm-up. The Black Stars’ medical team said the player had complained of discomfort during the warm-up and was pulled from the starting line-up “merely on precautionary grounds.”
Willy-nilly, Partey was replaced by Baba Iddrisu, who plays for Spanish Laliga side RCD Mallorca.
Having already missed a few games of the season with a thigh injury – Ghana’s medical team thought they should play it safe on the midfielder.
With his absence against Brazil, the Stars’ midfield was clearly on short of stability – and suffered deficiently in the 3-0 loss.
Interestingly, Partey landed in London even before many Ghanaians thought he could be available for Ghana’s next friendly against Nicaragua which the Stars won 1-0 (September 27).
Doubtless, Partey’s involvement in Arsenal’s game on Saturday is set to raise eyebrows as his overall contribution in the derby was phenomenal. With a 94.6 per cent passing accuracy; 65 touches, four great passes, 55 passes in total, two shots, and one strike on target, Partey’s form should excite Ghana coach Otto Addo as he plans for the Qatar World Cup tournament next month.
BY JOHN VIGAH