The two huge money signings, Partey and Gabriel enjoyed their impressive individual outings in Austria as they teased Arsenal with a glimpse of the future.
Arsenal spent £70m to bring in Gabriel and Thomas Partey during the off-season. Already, it seems like the money spent on the two new signings was well invested.
Partey and Gabriel had their debut for Arsenal on Thursday night where each produced a top-class display as Arteta’s side edged past Rapid Vienna to begin their Europa League season with a win.
Partey was outstanding in the middle of the park where he showed exactly why Arsenal had to trigger his £45m Atletico Madrid release clause in the final hours of the transfer window.
In the defensive midfield role, Partey demonstrated throughout the 90 minutes that the game is about far more than only breaking up play and protecting the back four.
He made 92 touches. 57 of which were in the Vienna half. Surpassingly, no-one in Arsenal had more as he also topped the charts for aerial duels, tackles and possession gained.
The fact that Partey came in and performed in a few training sessions with his new team-mates offers a tantalizing glimpse at what could come for Arsenal from the 27-year-old.
Behind Partey was Gabriel who continued his impressive start of the season. His impressive performance suggested the North London club had landed themselves a £25m bargain from Lille.
The way the Brazilian center-back had adapted to life in England beliefs his tender years and lack of top-level experience.
The 22-year-old picked up Arsenal’s player of the month award in September. He could probably be on the way to taking the honors again for October given the way he has played this month.
Gabriel made five clearances, four interceptions and won possession eight times throughout the 90 minutes. Already, he looks like a dominant player at the heart of Arteta’s defense.
The two signings were the stars of the unconvincing show for Arsenal who was on course for an embarrassing defeat when they trailed behind six minutes in the second half.
However, goals from Luiz and Aubameyang in the space of four minutes ensured the side avoided an opening-day slip up in Group B.
The club returned home with all three points, a victory that delighted Arteta although he knows his side has to make a quick improvement if they are to compete abroad or at home this season.
As it has been for Arsenal since the beginning of the season, the club looked relatively toothless in an attacking sense. Meanwhile, the visitors were devoid of the type of creativity Mesut Ozil can provide.
However, Arsenal knows they will have to do much better as the season progresses. But, in Partey and Gabriel, they have players who will make a huge difference in North London.