Partey returns as Arsenal keep pressure on Liverpool with comfortable Luton win | Football | Sport

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Arsenal did not need to get out of second gear to record a 2-0 win at home to Luton on Wednesday night. Mikel Arteta made five changes from the side that drew with Manchester City at the weekend but it was business as usual. Martin Odegaard opened the scoring in the 24th minute after linking up with Kai Havertz. Daiki Hashioka converted Emile Smith Rowe’s low cross into his own net on the stroke of half-time to double the advantage.

The win moves Arsenal one point clear of Liverpool at the top of the table, with Jurgen Klopp‘s side hosting Sheffield United on Thursday night. Express Sport takes a look at the key talking points at the Emirates Stadium…

Thomas Partey return

Thomas Partey didn’t look out of place despite not featuring since August 26. The Ghanaian had started the first three Premier League matches of the season but hadn’t played since due to a hamstring injury.

Declan Rice was given a well-deserved rest on the bench ahead of a hectic run of games and Partey was trusted with protecting the back four. His presence allowed Smith Rowe and Odegaard to drive forward and press on the front foot.

Smith Rowe’s pressing won the ball back for the opening goal and his cross set up the second.

With Arsenal likely to have two games a week until the end of the season, having the option to rotate Rice, Jorginho and Partey will keep the trio fresher.

Arteta gamble pays off

Mikel Arteta took a huge gamble resting five of his key men but the risk paid off. Any slip-ups at this point in the season will be devastating to their title challenge but they kept the pressure on Liverpool.

Removing Bukayo Saka and Declan Rice risked unsettling the team but the Gunners stayed solid and got the job done.

Havertz a different man

Havertz continued his fine form this time as a central striker. Chelsea fans regularly complained when the German was played as a No 9 last year but Arteta has worked his magic to get the best out of him.

The 24-year-old kept hold of the ball well and brought his team-mates into play throughout. His clever movement and square pass to Odegaard for the first goal cut open the Luton defence and there was no looking back from there.

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