Thomas Partey: Where will he fit into Arsenal? He gives options to Mikel Arteta | Football News


It was in conversation with Sky Sports in July, Mikel Arteta first expressed his desire for Arsenal to become tactically adaptable.

“We want to have versatility,” he said. “We will be more difficult to control if we are able to master two or three different formations without driving the players crazy.

“Always with the same principles, but being able to change systems, attack and defend in different ways. ”

With that in mind, Arsenal closed the £ 45million signing of Thomas Partey on deadline day. The Ghanaian is known for his physical and technical qualities, but that’s not all he brings.

“I think it allows us to play different formations”, explained Arteta after his arrival. “He can fit into these formations at different positions. It will give us a little more adaptability. ”

Arsenal supporters hope to see the 27-year-old in action for the first time during Saturday’s visit to Manchester City, live on Sky Sports Premier League, but which formations is Arteta referring to? And where exactly will Partey fit in?

A back three with Partey as the pivot

Arteta used a 3-4-3 formation to good effect in the later stages of last season, continuing with the same system in the new campaign after the move from the previously favored 4-2-3-1 helped the Gunners on their way to FA Cup glory in August.

The deployment of three center-backs gave Arsenal greater defensive solidity – they have conceded just 15 goals in 18 games since the roster change – so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Arteta continue in the same way in the short term. .

Partey has rarely played in a 3-4-3 system at Atletico Madrid – Diego Simeone favors a 4-4-2 – but he’s certainly used to playing in a two-man pivot in central midfield.

As a right foot operating primarily on its natural side, it would most likely be paired with the left foot Granit Xhaka.

There are plenty of reasons to believe he would be a good fit for this role in a 3-4-3. Partey excels at throwing attacks from deep positions, able to withstand pressure on the ball and beat the opposing press while passing or dribbling.

Partey has impressed against Liverpool in the last 16 Champions League games

His individual ability is one of his greatest strengths. Partey is an imposing physical presence at 6ft 1in, but he also possesses impressive skill, light touch, and excellent close control. Last season only one Atletico player – winger Vitolo – averaged more dribbles than him per 90 minutes in La Liga.

This dribbling ability would complement Xhaka’s prowess in a 3-4-3 formation, and it would be especially useful for Arteta given the manager’s preference for inviting pressure in deep areas and playing from behind at every opportunity.

Partey, like Xhaka, is an accomplished passer, and in addition to being a great dribbler, he possesses the power and stamina to shuttle between his own box and that of the opponent at high speed – his former coaches. describe him as a “physical wonder” – meaning he could contribute effectively at both ends of the pitch.

Partey right midfielder three


Partey also gives Arteta the option of using a 4-3-3. The 27-year-old could play the role of goalkeeper in this system, but he is perhaps more likely to line up to the right of midfielder three.

It’s worth noting that Arteta originally intended to use a 4-3-3 formation after the restart last season, but his plans were ruined when Xhaka and Pablo Mari were injured in the first half of the loss. Arsenal 3-0 against Manchester City on their last visit to the Etihad Stadium in June.

Arteta persisted with the system against Brighton three days after that game at the Etihad, but the 2-1 setback at Amex Stadium prompted him to move up to a full three.

Arteta hasn’t looked back since, but Partey’s arrival could still change his plans. A 4-3-3 formation would put more responsibility on the shoulders of his center-backs, who would become a two-man pair rather than a trio, but it would give the Gunners extra body in midfield and allow them a plus. large number of players. forward.

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With Partey on the right, Xhaka would likely take the tenant role. Left Bukayo Saka might be a better fit than right foot Dani Ceballos for third place in midfield in this system, but this duo could be fielded if Partey takes the deeper role in place of Xhaka.

Partey would still be expected to contribute defensively if he lines up on the right side of the three, but having an extra man in midfield would also give him more offensive license, which isn’t a bad thing for an avid gamer. eye for goal and excellent long-range shooting.

Since the start of the 2017/18 campaign, Partey has scored more open play goals from outside the area in La Liga (five) than any other player.

He’s also adept at connecting midfielder and attacking, as evidenced by the fact that he made more passes in the final third than any other Atletico player in their run to the quarter-finals of the Champions League last season. In a 4-3-3, one would expect him to provide the same kind of service for Arsenal’s top three.

A deeper role in a 4-2-3-1 formation


If Arteta decides to go back to a fullback four, he might prefer to use a 4-2-3-1 form, with Partey again forming a double pivot with Xhaka. Unlike 3-4-3, however, there would also be room in the roster for a third midfielder to be pushed forward in the No.10 role.

This may be an interesting option for Arteta given the creativity issues on his end. Despite all of Arsenal’s obvious progress since being appointed, only Sheffield United have had fewer shots among the teams for being in the Premier League in both seasons. The Gunners also rank low for expected goals.

Mesut Ozil is the most obvious candidate for the No 10 role given his pedigree, but the German has fallen out of favor with Arteta and may well have played his last game for the club after being excluded from his squad. the Europa League last week.

With Ozil absent, Ceballos may be the best candidate to take on the role. The Spaniard has impressed since being renewed as a deep midfielder by Arteta in the second half of last season, but he is a naturally attacking player and admitted he would prefer to play further in an interview with Sky Sports in July.

With Partey and Xhaka cleaning up behind him, Ceballos would be free to focus on creating chances to score.

Arsenal’s current system leaves a void between their midfield and their attack in the middle third of the pitch, but Partey’s arrival will allow Arteta to fill it. It will also allow for a level of tactical adaptability that he has long sought after.

Partey’s adaptability explained

Thomas Partey has reportedly made it clear he would like to move to Arsenal


Former Ghana manager Avram Grant thinks Thomas Partey will compliment players Arsenal already have

Partey’s adaptability dates back to the early years of his career.

He was used in the same position he now plays in his decisive season on loan from Atletico Madrid to Mallorca in the Spanish Second Division in 2013/14, but in the following campaign with Almeria in La Liga he showed the aptitude to perform elsewhere. also.

“I used him as an attacking midfielder, central midfielder and even a central defender,” former Almeria manager Sergi Barjuan recalled in a recent interview.

This adaptability came in handy for Simeone when he returned to Atletico. Partey originally found himself a long way down the midfield pecking order, but he impressed his coaches by replacing at right-back and on the wing.

Circumstances were tough, but changing jobs ultimately helped her development. By the time he was finally deployed in his role as Simeone’s preferred central midfielder, he was a much more complete player than before.

” He is not fair a defensive midfielder, ”said Javi Baños, his former youth coach at Atletico. Sky Sports recently. “He is now a more adventurous player, with freedom in his movements and his ability to score. ”

With Partey entering his prime and preparing for a possible Premier League debut on Saturday, the hope for Arteta is that his £ 45million man will have a transformative impact in his new environment.

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