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Thursday, 22 October 2020 19:27

Thomas Partey stars as Arsenal fight back to beat Rapid Vienna in Europa League

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Ghana midfielder Thomas Partey excelled on Europa League debut for Arsenal on Thursday evening.


The hosts had taken the lead early in the second half when they capitalised on an error by Bernd Leno - who was poor throughout - with the goalkeeper's attempted pass intercepted by Taxiarchis Fountas, who then fired home from a tight angle.

Another error by Leno almost gifted the Austrians a second when he hit a clearance straight at Fountas but he was able to recover and parry the striker's effort.
Arsenal, who gave a full debut to £45m summer signing Thomas Partey, lacked quality in the final third as they struggled to open up the hosts but found their bite when Aubameyang came off the bench.
David Luiz put Arsenal level when he headed in Nicolas Pepe's free-kick and Aubameyang secured the win when he tapped in from Mohamed Elneny's excellent assist.
Leno still looked nervous dealing with passes back to him and another poor clearance hit Luiz and deflected to Fountas, but this time Rapid Vienna's top scorer could not capitalise.
But that was the only scare in the closing stages as Arsenal kicked off their European campaign with an away win
For a long time in this game, the performance of Partey was the only highlight.
The deadline day signing had made a cameo appearance in the 1-0 defeat at Manchester City last Saturday but this was the former Atletico Madrid midfielder's first chance to really show what he can do, and his performance was superb.
The Ghana international oozed class and made everything he did look effortless, breaking up play with well-timed tackles, getting the ball forward with calm and accurate passes and being alert to any danger posed by the hosts.
Partey made a particularly crucial intervention in the first half when he prodded the ball from under the feet of Fountas as the Rapid Vienna forward was about to shoot.
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