Mikel Arteta has admitted that Thomas Partey has struggled for form over the last few weeks due to injury problems, but has backed Arsenal fans to see the very best of the midfielder soon.
Partey joined Arsenal from Atletico Madrid in a £45m deadline day move, but he has already missed 16 matches in all competitions as a result of various thigh, hip and hamstring injuries.
The Ghanian international made his return to the Gunners starting XI for their recent draw with Burnley and kept his place for their Europa League victory over Olympiacos, and Arteta believes he is starting to find his groove.
“I think so," Arteta replied when asked if Partey is getting close to his best (via Goal.) "Rhythm-wise he has struggled a little bit in the last few weeks because he hasn’t had enough training sessions or enough preparation because the league is so demanding.
“But you can see his quality, you can see the presence and the special qualities he provides to the team when he is on the pitch. I think it is just a fact of playing more games, getting some chemistry and understanding with his team-mates and getting as fit as he possibly can.”
Partey's second injury layoff since his arrival in England came during December's north London derby when he was forced off before half time on his first game back following a thigh injury. However, Arteta has dismissed the suggestion that the 27-year-old was rushed back.
"After every injury there is a risk for a period, whether it is five days, a week, two weeks or three weeks depending on the load that the player is exposed to.
"But it was a really specific action where he just overstretched the area going to the floor and got his foot trapped and then he felt it again. Before the game you cannot know that would have been the way."