When it comes to near enough everything other than shooting, Thomas Partey is adored. Whether that is as an Arsenal player or as a person, his quality and character are endearing.
Which is why it’s such shame supporters haven’t been able to see footballing side of matters enough. Riddled with injuries since his £45m from Atletico Madrid, Partey completed a measly ten 90 minute outings in the Premier League last season.
Starting pre-season looking sharp, fit and powerful, to have suffered the setback against Chelsea in the Mind Series felt like another hammer blow. It would only be a few games missed, but combined with every other injury suffered it felt like a continuation of a never ending saga.
Back from that ankle injury and looking like the Partey of pre-season, the Ghanaian is even getting in on the scoresheet having scored back-to-back goals for his country in their World Cup qualifiers.
Thomas Partey taking key steps to ensure full fitness for Arsenal following a string of injuries as Mikel Arteta’s side bid for successful season
And it’s hoped this spell of fitness can actually last. It’s even more imperative he avoids the treatment room with Granit Xhaka out until 2022, and ESPN have revealed Partey is taking all the steps he can to reach peak physical shape.
With every injury suffered – a thigh problem in November, hip injury in December and January and hamstring strain in February – he has responded by undertaking extra gym work on top of the club advised training programme. A lot of the emphasis on these sessions been on leg work in an effort to strengthen his muscles and avoid repeat injuries.
These additional hard yards are supplemented by a change in diet, too. He hasn’t gone full Chris Smalling and become a man of the earth, but he has cut down on his junk food intake. Usually with an ‘allowance’, as such, on such food stuffs, it appears every little helps. His favourite? Indomie instant noodles. He loves them. If you can call it junk food.
You have to commend the dedication, especially for someone who joined believing Arsenal were a club on the up and are instead nowhere near Champions League football, while his former side secured La Liga glory last term.
Striking up close friendships with Eddie Nketiah, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard, Partey is also feeling much more settled in London having initially struggled to adapt following the move from Madrid. All of the above will have played its part in the sharper, fitter and more effective Partey seen this season – Brighton aside, that is.
While there have never been any qualms over Partey’s professionalism, knowing he is going above and beyond his recovery regimes and cutting out junk food is nevertheless music to the ears of a fanbase who are utterly dependent on his fitness and form to see their side have a successful season.
Now just to find the back of the net for his club, right?