Many members of the Arsenal faithful would have had high hopes that Partey could recreate the kind of performance he delivered at Old Trafford last season.
The 28-year-old was borderline unplayable as he put on a man of the match display, thwarting every United attack that came his way – last night, however, he was starting them.
Wasteful in possession while ill-disciplined defensively, put reputations and price-tags aside and one may have guessed Mohamed El Neny was the more highly-rated of the two on Thursday night’s showing alone.
Partey himself has previously conceded he has a habit of putting in individual showings similar to the most recent trip to Old Trafford.
Back in 2018, while still an Atletico Madrid player coincidentally preparing for a Europa League final he only reached after dumping out an Arsene Wenger -led Arsenal, Partey admitted “I need to be more focused in some games, I know that.”
That lack of concentration was on display for all to see during the defeat by United as Arsenal seemed to panic after taking the lead.
Partey’s touch let him down on more than one occasion and even presented Cristiano Ronaldo with one of the game’s first chances after Fred had capitalised on his error.
Given the relative youth and inexperience of the eleven Arsenal stars tasked with securing a second league win at Old Trafford in 15 years, they needed the seasoned-veterans around them to provide a cool head.
The kind of talent Partey would showcase in the Spanish capital is a far cry from what the Emirates has seen on a consistent basis, as former manager Diego Simeone’s comments from last year would suggest.
“Thomas is the one who best understands this position and the transition from defence to attack, shooting, scoring, providing assists and playing passes between the lines,” Simeone said last summer.
“When he’s at his best level consistently, he’s so good that all the best teams in Europe are looking at him.”
There has undeniably been flashes of Partey’s brilliance, his ability to break lines with one perfectly weighted pass has been an asset to the Gunners on a number of occasions.
However, those moments – the kind that Arsenal paid £45m for in September of 2020, have been all too fleeting in the Premier League.