Not Just Saka: £230k-per-week may have cost Arsenal the title against West Ham
Arsenal’s Premier League title hopes are hanging in the balance after a dismal performance saw them throw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with West Ham United at the London Stadium.
The Gunners got off to a good start, taking an early lead through Gabriel Jesus before doubling their tally with Martin Odegaard’s goal in the first ten minutes.
However, the Hammers were quick to respond, and Said Benrahma’s penalty before the break was followed by Jarrod Bowen’s equaliser in the second half. Arsenal could have sealed the win when Bukayo Saka missed a penalty, which would have given them a 3-1 lead with 30 minutes left to play.
SAKA MISSES THE PENALTY! ❌ pic.twitter.com/BPhUevH4NT
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) April 16, 2023
While Saka will no doubt face criticism for his performance, he wasn’t the only star to let Mikel Arteta down on the day. Thomas Partey delivered a midfield “disasterclass” during his 67 minutes on the pitch, something quite uncharacteristic of him, considering he is currently Arsenal’s most consistent and highest-rated central midfielder in the top-flight this term, per WhoScored figures.
The Ghanaian international lost possession with a nonchalant flick at the edge of his penalty box, which led to Gabriel Magalhaes’ mistake and the penalty that Benrahma scored.
He was also booked in the first half after a culmination of rash and cynical fouls. Partey was Arsenal’s worst performer with a rating of 6.1, according to Sofascore, and was dribbled past twice, won only three duels out of nine and had fewer touches than only goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale and left-winger Martinelli.
Partey did not provide a single key pass or shot and managed only one defensive contribution in the form of a solitary tackle.
His poor performance was lambasted by Evening Standard journalist Simon Collings, who wrote that the midfielder “never really looked at the races all game.” Daily Telegraph reporter Sam Dean slammed him as “silly” and “dumb,” while The Athletic’s Jordan Campbell thought he looked “shaky” throughout the opening spell of the match.
Partey’s performance was one of the worst this season, and it came at the worst time for Arsenal. With a crucial match against defending champions Manchester City coming up, the Gunners must improve their game if they want to have any chance of winning the Premier League title.