Edu must eye £17.2m plan to fill Thomas Partey’s shoes against Liverpool after AFCON departure – Tom Canton

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Thomas Partey had his best performance in an Arsenal shirt since arguably the 1-0 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford in 2020. The Ghanaian was everything that made him so coveted at Atletico Madrid, but it wasn’t enough to help Arsenal earn anything against Manchester City.

The frustration is further compounded by the fact that Partey’s most influential performance and the pinnacle of his Arsenal season is to be interrupted by his temporary leave for the African Cup of Nations.

We wish him the best and hope for his safe return injury-free. He has shown what a crucial member of the team he can be.

In his stead, Arsenal’s decision-makers Mikel Arteta and Edu have got some important choices to make which could have a defining impact on the season.

With the January window open, Arsenal can jump into the market and secure reinforcement to the midfield. With links to Bruno Guimaraes surfacing lately, the hope will be that the club does intend to invest this winter.

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Despite this, Edu had already planned for Partey’s absence and the Arsenal faithful have seen the success of the preparation from the Brazilian in action.

Signed in the summer from Anderlecht, Sambi Lokonga quickly became a fan favourite for his performances in the absence of Granit Xhaka due to injury.

However, the Swiss’ return has seen the now 22-year-old fall out of favour with Mikel Arteta’s starting line-up. He hasn’t started a match since the 2-0 win over Newcastle.

Many have felt the Belgian has been harshly treated with just nine minutes of Premier League football to speak of since the win over the Magpies.

Lokonga’s influence on the field has been noticeable for Arsenal but with Partey now gone, and Xhaka likely to maintain his left central midfield role, the summer signing will have to adapt to a role on the right of central midfield.

Lokonga has played plenty of minutes in this role during his time in Belgium and so it shouldn’t be an issue. However, the expectation has now grown after Partey’s commanding display against City.

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The Belgian’s best game came against Aston Villa. He was involved in three of the top five passing combinations during the match. Notably helping Nuno Tavares and Emile Smith-Rowe on the left flank.

He will now combine with the mercurial Bukayo Saka and Takehiro Tomiyasu who have taken Arsenal’s right-hand side to the next level.

The pressure will be on the young player but he has the quality to succeed and it will be exciting to see him rise to the challenge.

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Source by Football London

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