Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says that it is “incredible” that his side have only enjoyed Thomas Partey’s “big quality” on two occasions since he signed.
Midfielder Partey joined the Gunners in October from Atletico Madrid but injury problems have halted his progress.
He picked up a thigh injury against Villa at the start of November which ruled him out for a month.
However, after seemingly recovering ahead of the clash with Tottenham in December, the problem reoccurred and the Ghanaian went back on the sidelines.
As such, he has had to miss out on more action but is in contention to return when Arsenal face Crystal Palace on Thursday.
Arteta said (via the Daily Mirror): “It’s incredible that we are in January, we signed him in the summer and we only played him twice.
“So, we haven’t really seen the impact that we believe he could have on the team.
“Obviously, we have missed him. On the other hand we’ve seen players stepping in as well. When that happens they give us some really positive news as well.
“But I think it’s going to be a big bonus if we can keep him fit.”
Arteta added that he hopes that Partey’s presence in recent training sessions has had a boost on his other players.
Arteta hails Partey influence
“Absolutely and because obviously we are able to watch him in training,” the Spanish boss said.
“And who he is as well. I think he’s got a different presence. I think he brings something different to the team.
“It’s not just about his talent it’s not, about his physicality, it’s who he is as a person. He makes players better around him and that’s a big quality.”
Arsenal have already built up impressive momentum aside from their obvious injury boost. The north London club have won their past four games, including three in the Premier League.
As such, they have climbed the rankings after languishing down the lower end before Christmas.