By Mark Mann-Bryans, PA
Thomas Partey believes Arsenal’s young squad has matured into a team capable of winning the Premier League.
The Gunners sit five points clear at the top of the table having come from behind to seal a last-gasp 3-2 win over Bournemouth on Saturday.
No other squad in the top-flight is younger than the one assembled by Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, but the likes of Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard and Gabriel Martinelli have shone this season.
The goal that started our comeback 💪 pic.twitter.com/GEt9JGyHcL
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) March 5, 2023
At 24, captain Odegaard is the oldest of that trio, while others such as Aaron Ramsdale, Ben White and William Saliba are also yet to hit their prime.
Despite lacking experience, which was balanced out to some degree with the signings of title-winners Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko from Manchester City last summer, Arsenal are riding high this year.
Asked if the likes of Jesus, Zinchenko and himself are talking the younger players through things – including keeping calm when chasing a game at 2-0 down – Partey replied: “Well, I think now they are not younger players any more.
“They have experience. They have been playing for a long time. They are mature. I think it is time for them to be able to achieve whatever they want to achieve. That is their dream. I think they are all ready to achieve this.”
Reiss Nelson came off the bench to hit the last-gasp winner against Bournemouth – the third time in six games Arsenal have secured victory in or after the 90-minute mark.
“I think it is the spirit of never giving up,” Partey said when asked if such goals prove this Arsenal team do not know when they are beaten.
“The belief that we have in the team, the belief that the fans have in us, is pushing us game after game. I think we have deserved every win that we have had this season.
“I think it’s another game that we were able to go down and then we are able to go up and win the game.
“I think this will raise the spirit of the team and of the fans to keep on supporting. This is the football that we all want to play.”
Partey had plans to unveil a tribute to Christian Atsu during the game but, having scored the first goal in the comeback, instead had to wait until after full-time to reveal a t-shirt with a printed message.
Atsu, a Ghana team-mate of Partey, died in the devastating earthquake in Turkey last month and Partey carried a message of ‘Rest Well Christian Atsu’ on his shirt.
“I wish I could get the chance to dedicate this to him,” added the 29-year-old.
“We all saw that we have to believe and I believe that I dedicated the goal to him. At the end, I am happy, I wish that he rests well in peace.”