Arsenal vs Manchester City: Will Mikel Arteta's new signing Thomas Partey be the Gunners' Kevin de Bruyne?
It has been a contrasting start for both Arsenal and Manchester City this season. The North Londoners are placed fourth on the points table while Pep Guardiola's men are at 14th with three different results in their three outings so far. For Mikel Arteta and Arsenal fans, October 17 will be a chance to see what their latest last-minute addition, Thomas Partey can do when they take on Manchester City at the City of Manchester Stadium. The question that's been asked is if he could be what Kevin de Bruyne is to the City.
De Bruyne has one goal from his three games so far this season and is actually a doubtful starter for the big Saturday clash. Should he be unavailable, it will be a blow for Guardiola as they will miss the presence of one of the most complete players in the world. De Bruyne's ability to double up as central or an attacking midfielder will be sorely missed as will his advanced playmaking skills. However, his absence might just be a blessing for Arsenal.
Much hype around Partey revolves around his rock-solid defense. He comes in place of Houssem Aouar who services Arsenal couldn't avail as they couldn't meet Lyon's asking price. They had their focus on Chelsea's Jorginho and Porto midfielder Danilo Pereira but opted to chase neither with the latter moving to PSG. Partey and De Bruyne have similar strengths— Athleticism, work-rate off the ball, crossing accuracy, wide range of precision passing, and powerful long-range shooting.
Ahead of their fixture against City, Partey said he was prepared to meet the challenges City would pose. According to ESPN, he also added he wasn't under any pressure. "I think there is no pressure on me," he said. "I like to challenge myself, I like new challenges as I said and it's all about learning fast, learning quickly how it goes and you just get used to it and everything works." Under Diego Simeone's watchful eyes, Partey has grown as one of Europe's elite midfielders, and that will be a boost for the Gunners.
And there was no doubt he was on a mission. Donning jersey no.18, he was eager to see Arsenal win the Premier League and that was the objective. "Yes. This is our new objective. That's the objective of the club, of me myself and I think that we have to get back to where we belong. I've seen that everyone has been excited and everyone is willing to win something and all the trophies that come their way. I think that's the goal and objective for everyone here and that's my goal also."
With news related to De Bruyne, the Belgian midfielder was substituted late into his team's 2-1 loss to England in the ongoing Nations League after pain and inflammation. A final assesment will be made before Saturday, however, he is still considered doubtful.
Arsenal vs Liverpool starts 12:30 PM ET on Saturday, October 17, 2020, and can be watched live on NBC.