Neville identifies most important Arsenal player after changing his mind from earlier in the season

Date published: Tuesday 24th January 2023 10:05 - Ben Stewart

Martin Odegaard of Arsenal with Thomas Partey of Arsenal during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London.

Gary Neville has identified Arsenal’s most important player this season as Thomas Partey after a series of high-quality performances.

The 29-year-old has been a consistent performer for Arsenal all season and he is now getting recognition from several pundits.

The Gunners are yet to lose a match this season when Partey has started. Arsenal’s only loss of the season came against Manchester United in September when the midfielder was unavailable.

Since arriving at Arsenal in 2020, Partey has been a consistent performer although he has struggled with a series of injuries.

This season he has left the treatment table behind as he has started in 16 of Arsenal’s league matches so far and he has looked sharper than ever.

Neville has admitted to changing his mind when it comes to Arsenal’s most important player as he now believes Partey is vital to the way Mikel Arteta’s side play.

The pundit told Sky Sports: “We asked that question earlier on in terms of which player if you took them out the Arsenal team would do the most damage if they lost them and you probably would have said Jesus a few weeks ago but Nketiah has been unbelievable.

“If I looked at them now, I think I would say Partey, having watched them in the three games since Christmas.

“Honestly, in these three games I’ve seen live since Christmas I just think he’s holding a lot together in terms of the glue between the back four and Odegaard and the strikers.”

Partey has scored two goals this season, but it is his defensive work which makes him vital to his side. He has averaged 2.3 tackles and 1.6 clearances for Arsenal this season.

Despite lauding Partey’s role in this Arsenal setup, Neville still believes that Arsenal will fall short to Manchester City in the title race.

He added: “We’re so far out – 19 games to go – to be getting asked about this. I don’t Man City have started yet – they have been messing around. Pep Guardiola has been rotating. When they start to purr, I think they’ll motor on and put pressure on Arsenal. The run-in doesn’t start until April.

“I said Manchester United would finish above Arsenal, and I’m sticking with it. You can be wrong with predictions! Newcastle have been incredible, but it was be a unbelievable if they could sustain it until the end of the season.”

Arsenal face Everton and Brentford next in the Premier League, before a mouth-watering clash with Man City takes place in February.

READ MORE: Mikel Arteta, Erik ten Hag and…Rotherham United prove football fans must ‘trust the process’

More Related Articles