Arsenal were mere bystanders as they watched their Premier League title hopes crumble last night, whilst Manchester City ran riot at the Etihad.
In what had turned into a must-win game for Mikel Arteta’s side, given they had drawn their last three games prior, the Gunners were tactically, physically and technically outclassed by a Pep Guardiola outfit who will be quietly confident of now securing their treble.
Few from the visiting side managed to get in the game at all, and despite enjoying 48% of the ball, it never really felt like they were in control. Despite the dominance of the hosts, their goals largely came from capitalising on mistakes. When going toe-to-toe with arguably one of the greatest teams in history, anything less than perfection is not enough.
Simple errors and lapses in concentration afforded sloppy goals, and in the end, the 4-1 scoreline was fair – if somewhat sympathetic to Arsenal.
Their lack of composure and constructed attacks can be attributed to the poor displays of their midfielders, who were run ragged by the magisterial Kevin De Bruyne. The Belgian ran the show, only further cementing his legacy as one of the league’s best-ever midfielders.
However, Thomas Partey was culpable on more than one occasion of allowing the 31-year-old to ghost past him. As the key defensive stopper in their engine room, this was unforgivable.
How did Thomas Partey play vs Manchester City?
Journalist Charles Watts sought to detail the key events throughout what turned into an abysmal night for the north London outfit, and on more than one occasion highlighted the deficiencies of the Ghana international.
For City’s opener, he wrote: “Horrendous tracking of De Bruyne by Partey for the goal. It’s a great finish, but Ramsdale really shouldn’t be getting beaten by that.”
He then berated the 29-year-old again, claiming: “De Bruyne is just finding so much space. He’s just running off the back of Partey every time. Arsenal can’t pick him up.”
The statistics more than supported this lack of defensive solidity, as the midfielder would record just two tackles all game, being dribbled past once. His 95% pass accuracy suggests an economical display, but just one key pass is indicative of backward and sideways recycling of the play, as per Sofascore.
A lack of cutting-edge made the difference in a game they had to win, and Watts was left furious, branding Partey “awful” after the match.
Not only this, but his 57 touches were down dramatically from his average this season of 75.6 per game, highlighting the lack of influence the former Atletico Madrid man exerted.
Having been lauded in the past as a “machine” by journalist Simon Collings, the £200k-per-week enforcer seemingly ran out of steam when it mattered most.
Now just two points ahead of City having played two more games, the title truly is in their hands now. With Guardiola’s side having also won their last seven league games on the run, this coveted piece of silverware is now essentially a foregone conclusion. This is not solely because of Partey’s underperformance last night, but it certainly did not help.
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