Thomas Partey announces himself as Martin Odegaard’s next challenger for key role at Arsenal

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If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again.

This mantra certainly applies to Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey after scoring in back-to-back games for Ghana in their World Cup qualification double-header against Zimbabwe.

Since arriving at the Emirates Stadium in a £45million deal from Atletico Madrid just over a year ago, the 28-year-old is yet to break his duck for the Gunners.

Although it’s certainly not for the lack of trying.

Partey rarely passes up a shooting opportunity, in particular from long range, and doesn’t seem to be affected by the fact that he often picks out row Z with his efforts when playing for Arsenal.

But for Ghana, it’s a little different.

In the home game against Zimbabwe, Partey netted a quite sublime goal as he won the ball deep in the opposition half, showed great composure and quick feet inside the penalty area to evade a couple of challenges before finding the back of the net with a crisp finish.

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And to prove his goalscoring mojo is in full swing, the midfielder repeated the trick four days later in the return game.

This time it was from a free-kick in a 1-0 win to keep Ghana on course to reach next year’s World Cup – although they still have work to do in order to reach the play-off round.

Questionable goalkeeping aside, Partey’s goal on Tuesday afternoon means he has finally completed his mission to be a worthy candidate when it comes to being Arsenal’s free-kick taker.

Despite not building up a reputation for being a free-kick specialist, Partey has shown he’s capable of doing so during a training session at London Colney last season and in a pre-season fixture against Hibernian a couple of months ago.

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In training, the midfielder scored with a stunning long-range effort, but against Hibs, his effort crashed against the bar.

With that said, it’s clear that Partey has been working on his free-kicks, so he would have been delighted to have finally seen one find the back of the net.

Now, as well as Partey, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has a number of players at his disposal who are all very capable of scoring direct from a free-kick.

Nicolas Pepe, Alexandre Lacazette, Granit Xhaka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are usually found over the ball when the Gunners are awarded a set-piece in a dangerous area.



Granit Xhaka scores direct from a free-kick in Arsenal's win over Chelsea (Image: Mark Leech/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)
Granit Xhaka scores direct from a free-kick in Arsenal’s win over Chelsea (Image: Mark Leech/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

And the quartet do have a decent record when it comes to taking advantage of these situations, having all found the back of the net with a free-kick at some point in the last three seasons.

Pepe netted two in one game against Vitoria in the 2019/20 campaign – the same season Aubameyang scored one against Aston Villa – and Lacazette’s stunning 30-yard effort against Napoli was one of two he netted in 2018/19.

Whereas Xhaka scored a brilliant free-kick against Chelsea on Boxing Day as Arsenal’s Premier League revival last season began with a 3-1 win at the Emirates Stadium.

Meanwhile, this season has seen Martin Odegaard score a brilliant free-kick against Burnley as the Gunners sealed their first away win of the new Premier League campaign at the third attempt.

As a result, the Norway international might have surged to the top of the list when it comes to pulling rank over free-kicks at Arsenal following his goal at Turf Moor.

However, Partey may have something to say about that after proving himself as a genuine contender for Arsenal free-kicks.

Source by Football London

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