Mikel Arteta has been urged to play Arsenal’s two best players in the same team, as the team grapples with a midfield puzzle.
Despite an impressive unbeaten start to the new season, securing six wins out of eight matches, Arsenal appears to lack the dynamic spark that had propelled them toward a title charge last season, primarily due to the departure of Granit Xhaka.
Granit Xhaka had formed a formidable midfield partnership with Thomas Partey, offering vital cover and protection to the attacking unit. This partnership, which played a pivotal role in the previous campaign, has been fractured this season, and Arsenal is now struggling to piece together their midfield puzzle.
With summer signings Kai Havertz and Declan Rice still acclimating to their new surroundings and Thomas Partey nursing an injury, the midfield has failed to function as Mikel Arteta had envisioned.
Speaking on Off The Ball, David Hillier weighed in on the situation, emphasizing the need for Thomas Partey and Declan Rice to share the midfield responsibility. Hillier urged Arteta to pair the €50 million man with Rice, highlighting Partey’s confidence and ability to organize the midfield effectively.
“The way he has come in and he’s confident enough to become an organiser already. He bosses the midfield, he’s very quick to play a simple pass. He doesn’t complicate his game, it’s very simple.”
While Rice and Partey initially played together at the start of the season, the Ghanaian midfielder was deployed on the right side of the defense to cover for the absence of Oleksandr Zinchenko on the left. Despite excelling in this role before his injury, Hiller firmly believes that a double-pivot featuring Partey and Rice in midfield could be the solution Arteta needs.
“For me, I just want to see him alongside Thomas Partey, Thomas brings the forward-thinking part of midfield to the team. I’m not saying Declan doesn’t, but he is a defensive midfielder, and that allows Gabriel and Saliba to do their jobs. He’s a fantastic player, it’s a huge price tag, but he’s dealing with it really well,” Hillier stated.
Both Partey and Rice possess the ideal blend of defensive solidity and attacking prowess. Partey is known for his exceptional progressive passing, while Rice can carry the ball forward with immense power. Combining these talents in the same team would undoubtedly be a spectacle, and Arsenal fans can only hope that Partey recovers from his injury soon, enabling Arteta to unleash this formidable duo in the Premier League.
Thomas Partey and Declan Rice could very well emerge as Arsenal’s most potent midfield pairing moving forward, potentially providing the missing link for the Gunners in their quest for success.