New Arsenal signing Thomas Teye Partey is the rave of the moment. Having joined the Gunners in a deal worth 45 million pounds, fans, pundits, and football lovers are full of high expectations for the Ghanian star. Arsenal have needed reinforcement for long, and everyone knows that. But two areas have been literally crying for help. The defense and the midfield. The Gunners got David Luiz, Gabriel, Pablo Mari, Sead Kolasinac, Shkodran Mustafi, plus Tierney, Bellerin, Maitland Niles, Holding, Soares, and even Chambers, all in defense.
So it seems the real problem is the midfield where Arsenal have collapsed in recent months. A good example is the game against Watford at Vicarage Road last season, where the Gunners dominated the first half going two goals up, and then being completely brushed aside in the second half with the game ending 2-2. The midfield collapsed and the team just could not hold.
But back to the present, looking at the state of Arsenal's midfield, where would Thomas Partey fit in?
1. The Box-to-Box Midfielder - Partey is the ideal midfielder for box-to-box runs offensively and defensively. Defensively he is a good cover for Arsenal's blunder-prone defenders. The likes of David Luiz, and perhaps Kolasinac will be very happy to know they may not be facing the brunt of the league's deadly attacks head-on. Partey can break off play and progress the ball before releasing it to a winger like Saka, Pepe, or an already galloping Aubaeyang. He can also hurl the leather projectile directly at the goal from a long range. He's a threat both on the defense and on the attack.
2. A Domineering Presence - This is something the Gunners have lacked in recent seasons. In fact, since the departure of Gilberto Silva and then Fabregas, Arsenal have rarely had a respectable presence in the midfield. A player that opposition teams would be mindful of, not just because of his playing ability but because of his charisma, technique, and impact on others playing around him. A kind of Busquet, Makelele, or Yaya Toure. Partey could be that much need presence.
3. Depth in the Squad - This is a crucial characteristic of trophy-winning teams. It's not just about having a good first team. But being able to replace injured, suspended, or fatigued players. One challenge for Arsenal during the Wenger era was that the young squad did not have any depth. the team broke under pressure, particularly around November, December when the fixtures start to get tight, and where experience mattered most. Partey would definitely be in the starting line up, but he would have a replacement in players like Xhaka, Guendouzi, and Elneny who are pretty good too.
4. Pace and Power- Unlike its counterparts in Spain and Italy, the Premier League is a physically demanding and high-intensity league. Power, high pressing, force, stamina, and speed are the defining features of the world's most-watched league. Those per se are the forte of Partey. He is remarkably strong both on and off the ball. After racing back to cover a counterattack, he can gain possession quickly and race forward with the ball beating one or two players while on full speed and repeating the process again.
5. Forward Progression - Arteta will be thanking his stars as the Gunners may now have someone to feed the ever-hungry Pepe and Aubamayang, and Martinelli when he returns. 36% of Partey's passes go forward. After breaking up the play of the opposition, he doesn't just play long balls and hopes that 'inshallah" a striker will pick it up. Instead, he races on, doing one, two, or three dribbles before laying a killer pass for the striker or a winger to get deep into the oppositions' penalty area. Partey is the kind of player that will run at the opposition and move forward not constantly looking for the goalkeeper with a back pass. He can create space and also deliver intelligent passes.
Mikel Arteta and the Arsenal Board may have made a good purchase, now this will have to translate into results. Fans may not easily let off if the midfield of the likes Liverpool or Man city completely annihilating Arsenal like they normally do. Gunners faithful will hope that this is a sign of good things to come, and maybe another big signing in January.
So what's in it for you?
Arsenal's next 3 games are Partey's Acid Tests. These games will prove if he can deliver on all the above potentials we have identified, and indeed he faces some worthy oppositions:
Man City VS Arsenal on Sat. 17th Oct. 2020
Arsenal VS Leicester City on Sat. 24th Oct. 2020
Man United VS Arsenal on Sat. 1st Nov. 2020
You might want to place a stake on these games and derive value from Partey's Party.
How do you see Partey fitting in at Arsenal?
Tell us at the comment section of the post on social media.
Welcome, Thomas Teye Partey. Akwaba Teye Partey! The Premier League is your stage.