"This goal has kept us alive", said Thomas Partey after his stoppage time winner in Riazor. The Ghana international, who proved his versatility by filling on the right of midfield in place of Koke, scored the only goal of Atlético’s 1-0 victory in Galicia, four days after earning his side a Champions League draw against Qarabag in the Metropolitano.
Thomas has now scored four goals this season in all competitions, which has elevated him to the status of Atlético’s joint top-scorer, level with Ángel Correa. Furthermore, the 24-year-old has now scored three of his side’s last four goals and has scored in three different tournaments – Liga, Champions League and Copa del Rey.
Thomas vindicating Simeone's decision to block summer move
The midfielder has become a fundamental part of Diego Simeone’s side this season. Other than the opening weekend draw at Girona, when he was suspended, he has featured in every Atlético game so far. Only Saúl holds the same record. And he is also gaining confidence in hitting shots from distance, his goal against Las Palmas also a right-footed effort from outside the area.
The numbers prove that Thomas has gained the faith of Simeone in 2017-18. Last season he played 987 minutes in total and started under the Argentinean nine times. So far in the new campaign, he has already played more than in the whole of last season (1,023 minutes) and has been in the team on 12 occasions. And he has already matches his goals total for last season with a quarter of 2017-18 played. Thomas has also settled on the ball, providing 337 accurate passes in the league (85 per cent) and 177 out of 190 in Europe (93 per cent).
It is all a far cry from the summer, when Thomas was considering leaving Atlético in search of more playing time elsewhere. Simeone blocked any move and has vindicated his decision by using Thomas in a greater role this season. The Ghana international, who has also been finding the net for his country, has a contract until 2022 and his minimum release clause stands at 36 million, which is likely to be the source of a review before too long given his current form.