How would Thomas Partey fit into Arteta’s midfield plans? Expert View


In my previous article on Arsenals’ midfield needing a tweak, a twitter user commented following the publication by saying is there any chance you could go more in depth about Thomas Partey? So luckily through my colleague Clock End Italia I managed to find Juri Gobbini who talked to me extensively about Partey and how he’d benefit the Gunner’s midfield the formation they could use with him in the squad next season; (bearing in my mind the transfer actually goes through).

So, if Partey joins in the summer as many fans hope in the summer transfer window and becomes an Arsenal player would he become an essential cog in the Arsenal machine? In my opinion if he stayed fit could help us challenge for the top four or even the title because as I said again in my previous article. Our defence and attack look decent now under Arteta’s oversight, so I feel the midfield is now the area to focus on, and I think he knows that. From the word go Mikel had the Arsenal team focused, and sharp as they were under Wenger and ready to play as a team again, willing to fight for each other when the going gets tough.

Juri Gobbini, wrote a book called “La Quinta del Buitre” about the generation of five players led by Emilio Butragueño that became the symbol of Spain and the Spanish football in the 80s and the early 90s. He is an also an Arsenal fan.

Juri explained the Arsenal team had some difficulties recently, and one of many issues was that our midfield sometimes falls apart.

We, as Arsenal fans know this to be true certainly under Unai Emery and all the draws that could have been wins under Arteta, but football is football and if Arsenal get a good result i.e. a draw or even a win against Man City that could get the Gunners really fired up. Its pass or fail for the Arsenal team and I think the team will give everything towards the fight for the coveted top four.

I asked Juri if Partey could  solve all these problems?

“Well, not alone, but the team will definitely benefit with a player of his characteristics. The Ghanaian is a strong player, not only capable of winning duels but also of supporting the attack. At beginning of his time with Atletico he lacked a bit discipline, however, after playing five seasons under Diego Simeone he improved dramatically, turning into a more reliable kind of player, and becoming a first choice in the team.”

He continued….

“He possesses good sense of position, toughness and strength, characteristics that make him suitable for the Premier League. He can break the play, but he can also build, although he is not the finest passer. With Atletico playing usually quick counters, Partey’s principle job is to regain possession and start the move, sometimes carrying the ball forward with pace, or just spreading passes to the forwards. Since his debut in the Liga with Almeria in 2012 – on loan from Atletico – Partey has collected so far 45 bookings and a red card, another sign that he never backs down.”


Would he solve our midfield issues?

There is an equation in my opinion in football, not a mathematical one, but a long-standing thought of mine that a winning formula can win success and a bad one can lead to relegation. Other issues may affect a teams’ performance, but this formula comes down to successful management on the pitch that works and a team that gels. Also, the formula if all those prerequisites above are considered the formation on the pitch is another essential component in the key to success.

Juri Gobbinnin explained that Partey fits better in a midfield duo, 4-2-3-1, with Özil, for example, or 4-4-2 if Mikel Areta wants to play Lacazette and Aubameyang together upfront and proper wingers like Nelson and Pepe without Özil. For me this could make the team more versatile and adaptable depending on circumstances on match days.

He said “As Atletico Madrid always play with 4-4-2, Partey is used to play alongside another player, and so sharing the duties. It gives him more freedom to move rather than in a trio, where he could be logically used as the lowest point. He is can do the dirty job, but he also has stamina to run across the field, therefore playing as lone central midfielder could restrict his range of action. Of course, Partey could also play in a different system, like 4-3-3 or 4-3-1-2 for example, regardless Özil’s future. Arsenal have flexible players like Xhaka or Torreira who could complete the midfield trio, but, without a proper playmaker, creativity will be missing, especially with Ceballos returning to Madrid. Partey will be an important cog in the wheel, but him alone will be not enough to make the midfield tick.”


Arsenal’s next fixture is against Man City and it will be interesting to see Areta, the City former coach now as Gunner’s manager against Pep’s team. But if Arsenal manage to defeat City next Wednesday luck might be just in Arsenal’s corner in the race for the top four.

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