Thomas Partey has jumped to Granit Xhaka’s defence after the midfielder’s costly mistake in Arsenal’s 1-1 draw with Burnley and insists his team-mate is a ‘great player’ and ‘works hard for the club’.
Xhaka appeared to have turned a corner after nailing down a place in Mikel Arteta’s starting XI alongside Partey but the 28-year-old found himself on the receiving end of heavy criticism once again for the role in played in Arsenal dropping yet more points in the Premier League.
The Switzerland international – who was stripped of the captaincy back in 2019 – has since apologised to fans for his latest blunder will no doubt hope to redeem himself on Thursday night when the north London club take on Olympiakos for the first leg of their Europa League round of 16 tie.
‘I think he’s a great player. We all know he works hard for the club, he works hard for his team-mates when he’s on the pitch,’ Partey told reporters when asked how he’s found playing with Xhaka.
‘As we all know in football, you never know when you’re going to have a bad day and that’s part of it.
‘We have to keep raising each other, keep fighting for each other and that’s how we’re going to have a good game and win matches.
‘All the players know what we have to do when we play together. It doesn’t matter who we play with, we have to do our best and win games.’
Arteta was quick to defend Xhaka after the draw at Burnley and encouraged his players to continue playing out from the back but to know the ‘risks’ involved in certain areas.
‘It can happen in football,’ the Spaniard said.
‘We did it using Bernd [Leno] and trying to use the holding midfielder in that situation.
‘We scored a goal from Auba that started all the way from Bernd Leno and we conceded one chance and that chance comes from Bernd kicking the ball long and we could not control the second ball.
‘It’s the way I want to play and we just have to know the risk and the rules we have in certain areas and the type of balls that we have to play.’