Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta, has lauded Thomas Partey following his performance on his first start since returning from injury. 

Partey, 27, was sidelined for over a month with a hip issue and played a cameo role in the Gunners’ 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace off the bench last week.

The Ghana international was, however, named in the starting XI on Monday against the Magpies at the Emirates and the former Atletico Madrid man put in an impressive display.  

“Really happy,” Arteta said of Partey to Sky Sports.

“He got better and better as the game went on.

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“He had a big influence. He gives us things that are different to any other player.

“Still, we have to protect him as he has missed a lot of football in the past few months, but we are really happy with his performance,” he said.

Partey played 67 minutes in Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Steve Bruce’s side and supplied the assist for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s opener in the 50th minute.

Arsenal struggled initially after Partey sustained the injury at the start of December but their Boxing Day victory over Chelsea kick-started a six-game unbeaten run, taking them to within seven points of fourth-placed Liverpool.