Citi Sports’ Nathan Quao puts out his first post of the New Year of his weekly column and he takes a look at Ghana’s Thomas Partey and his exploits at Atletico Madrid and the winning feelings at Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge.
I wonder if 22-year oldThomas Partey ever thought he could be the match winner for Atletico Madrid against Levante at the Vicente Calderon as he sat on the bench.
On 72 minutes, he was introduced to help the former Spanish champions find a way of getting all three points and he became the way itself.
He took the ball from a team-mate and went on a run that took him past Levante players and brought him up against opposition goalie Diego Marino.
Partey poked the ball towards the goalie but what looked like a weak attempt seeped through the goalie’s gloves and trickled over the line to give Diego Simeone three very important points.
The goal has really given Partey a lot of attention and he has earned the space in conversations he now enjoys.
He has played five matches for Atletico Madrid and he has a goal and an assist to his name and a total of four shots.
The stats may not be eye-popping but at least they show the player’s potential and already, his coach Diego Simeone recognises the impact he had over the weekend when he said the team’s “flow was smoother” when Partey was introduced.
He has the ability to bring pace and tempo to a midfield and the goal shows that he will try and make things happen when it matters.
Some have asked me why he is not in the Black Stars team and my answer is that that opportunity will come with time. I do not believe he will be overlooked when his form improves and it is an elephant in our national team’s room.
The player himself wants to take things slow and has called on his mates at Atletico Madrid to keep working hard in their title pursuit.
This must not stop lets keep adding ???? great team work, great the supporters ?⚪️? Vamos atletiiii pic.twitter.com/UJV7lx037d
— Thomas Teye Partey (@Thomaspartey22) January 3, 2016
Man United and Chelsea win…. finally
How does water taste after a prolonged period of thirst? Heavenly one may say but it will initially be refreshing no matter what.
Fans of Manchester United and Chelsea got their share of “water” over the weekend after their teams picked up wins.
The Red Devils (and Louis Van Gaal in particular) managed to beat Swansea for the first time in four attempts but they had to dig deep after Gyilfi Sigurdsson’s looped header brought Swansea level to cancel Anthony Martial’s headed goal.
Wayne Rooney scored with a backheeled flick to send him to 188 goals and second to Alan Shearer on the Premier League’s scorer’s list.
Man United fans were pleased with the win but I personally think the team showed some hunger and that is very good. Louis Van Gaal must urge the team to go all out more often but of course, that comes at a cost.
However, United need wins and so, a little risk is needed.
Chelsea found their win via a more beautiful route. They were smooth and lovely to watch. They left Crystal Palace feeling silly to be sincere.
Fabregas and Mikel ran the midfield brilliantly on the day. The Nigerian was very comfortable despite not having many games this season and his productive shift was highlighted by stats site Squakwa:
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 3, 2016
Willian also left his mark on the match with a scorching first time shot. I would have loved to score such a goal (infact, I think I scored one of those goals back in Accra Academy. The only difference was that it closer to goal than Willian’s)
That is the kind of freedom Mourinho failed to allow but Hiddink will give players the space to try all their tricks provided it aids the execution of the game plan. Are they on their way to top four finish?
Notable mentions Abdul Majid Waris- The Ghana forward scored a penalty to help Lorient beat Tours 3-2 in the French Cup match played on Sunday. The duel with the goalkeeper from 12 yards is always a tough one and thumbs up to Waris for getting his shot on target.
Lacina Traore– The Ivorian had a very strange match when Monaco thumped St. Jean Beaulieu 10-2 in the French Cup.
He was the gift when he grabbed four first half goals for side from the principality but he became the curse when he was sent off following a clash with an opposing player. Monaco progressed but that was really disappointing on the part of the former Everton forward.
Getting sent off is the most absurd way to reward yourself after getting four goals in a match.
That’s if folks but 2016 promises to be a great sporting year.
A new season of Ghanaian football will start (if we can find a date), the second half of the Premier League will be played out, we will find out who Europe’s new Champions League winner will be, 24 teams will contest for the Euro 2016 crown and of course, the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Get to me on Twitter @nathan_quao');