Why assume Partey will play at 6? – Arteta’s options for the returning Ghanaian

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Partey options

The long-awaited return of Arsenal’s Ghanaian central midfielder is imminent. In recent season’s Partey’s absences have been blamed for the Gunners missing out on major trophies, but this season many hope his attributes will bolster us on the run in. He may even be in the squad for our trip to Nottingham tomorrow.

What is interesting is that most commentators and supporters seem to automatically assume that Partey will play at 6, with Declan Rice moving forwards to the left 8 role he has occasionally occupied. This may well be what Arteta also envisages but there are certainly alternatives open to the Spaniard.

Declan Rice

Why move Rice from 6?

Partey at 8

For the early part of Arteta’s tenure Partey was played as the more progressive of 2 central midfielders in a 4231, with Granit Xhaka more often the deepest lying of the 2. The change to 433/4123 benefited the Swiss enormously and Partey was a colossus at as the single 6, offering far more mobility than Xhaka.

However, the Ghanaian showed how influential he could be in the attacking third on many occasions before the change, and when leaving Madrid, he was on record as wanting to show he could be far more than a DM.

This being the case, of Arteta decides against moving Rice from his preferred role, and one in which he is superior to Partey, he can quite easily play the latter at 8 if he so decided. He could even switch his skipper, Odegaard to left 8 and play Partey in the in advanced right sided role. This might even benefit Martinelli.

If he does see Partey as a Rice at his alternative 6, he can use him later in matches of to rest the England International.


Partey more advanced under Arteta initially


The second option, seldom mention, is to revert to the conventional 4231, playing Rice and Partey together. This is certainly a strong option against the better teams and in tough away fixtures, perhaps in Europe. Both are highly experienced and will know when to cove the other if the colleagues is supporting the attack and the solidity of having 2 of the world’s best defensive midfielders would be quite something. Particularly, as both can play and having the speed of thought, vision and passing range to turn defence swiftly into attack.

This formation will also allow for more conventional fullbacks, with no need for inversion, and the more conventional left back would allow Martinelli to not always have to be the one offering the left-hand width, with Zinchenko/Tomiyasu, being freer to overlap.


Back together but how?

Both options have strong positives and I hope will be considered by Arteta and his staff. Whether the system is tweaked as above, or Rice is simply moved to allow Partey to slot in at 6, with Havertz missing out, the return of such an experienced and talented player can only strengthen Arsenal from now until May.

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One Response to Why assume Partey will play at 6? – Arteta’s options for the returning Ghanaian

  1. Ben January 29, 2024 at 7:25 pm #

    Why at 6?

    Simply because he is the best 6 we have, full fit he has to start every game as he makes everyone around him better

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