Arsenal need to find their very own ‘water carrier’ – How about Moises Caicedo?

Arsenal’s search for our very own “water carrier” by Ben Dungate
Everyone seems to acknowledge that the position Arsenal most need back-up for is that deep-lying midfield slot. The player who sits and protects the back 4, and starts play off with simple but important passes to release those ahead of them.
The Premier League has seen many different players perform this job for their teams to varying degrees. Emmanuel Petit did it for us alongside Patrick Vieira. Nicky Butt did it for Man Utd and Paul Ince before him. These days it seems to be referred to as a No. 6, but I remember the good old days when a 6 was a centre back and a holding midfielder occupied the No. 4.
Claude Makelele defined this position, and then over the last decade Sergio Busquets has taken it to another level, and now we have Rodri doing it for Man City. N’Golo Kante has evolved the role into a high-energy-be-everywhere kind of thing but he is a very special talent. Thomas Partey isn’t really either of these for me and it’s a dying art.
The problem is these days everybody wants everything from everyone instead of just allowing players to specialize. Alex Ferguson tried to turn Andy Cole into a complete striker instead of just letting him bang in 30+ goals a season. Pep probably won’t be doing this with Haaland due to the sheer number goals he is scoring but he has done it with all of his other players.
Arsenal need someone to sit and look after Saliba and Gabriel. Partey ain’t it and nor is Xhaka or Lokonga and I’m not sure where we will find one. Moises Caicedo of Brighton has impressed me a lot recently and will hopefully be on Arteta’s radar come January because it is something that needs addressing.
Thomas Partey is vital to Arsenal but is persistently plagued by injury and we have few options behind him. Annoyingly, Guendouzi could have been the answer here, but his ass-hat attitude has rightly seen him shipped off to Marseille. A fantastic player but a garbage person and Arteta did the right thing getting rid of him. And we won’t dwell on Ainsley Maitland-Niles. So much talent, so little application.
We do have options though should cover not be found and Partey once again has to sit out due to injury. Mikel has demonstrated he is happy to switch to a back 5, usually when we are defending a lead, but Chelsea showed last season how progressive this formation can be when properly applied with the correct players.
It would negate the need for a true defensive midfielder and allow the likes of Odegaard and Lokonga to sit in there instead. We have the players to make this work should we need to or have the appetite for it. Until then the search for our very own Claude Makelele or N’Golo Kante continues.
Ben Dungate

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16 Comments

  1. Partey has been showing that he is an excellent CDM. Kante is a box-to-box midfielder, because he always plays in a double-pivot formation and runs up and down as Patrick Vieira/ Ramsey did

    Marcos Senna, Makalele, Busquets, Matic, Casemiro and Fernandinho were unplayable CDMs in their primes. Fabinho and Rodri have also been doing great job in that position, but it’s difficult to find a highly technical tall CDM like them

    I have never noticed Moises Caicedo playing, but I heard Arsenal were interested and he’d likely follow Potter to Chelsea. Arsenal have got Sambi-Lokonga to play second fiddle to Partey, but maybe we can try Tim Akinola in some cup games or do some experiments with White

    1. He is very good player and just 20 and better than Sambi Lokonga in terms of pure defensive work
      He could be very good addition.
      Potter bought him year before selling Bissouma to Spurs…

      1. Sounds good. But I got a feeling Arsenal will try to sign Danilo from Palmeiras instead to be Xhaka’s successor, after missing on Douglas Luiz

        1. If we want Xhaka successor then Tielemans is proven PL player..
          Also available on free
          Our priority should be Partey’s replacement..
          We don’t know how he will come back World Cup…
          If he picks up long term injury in World Cup then??

          1. Maybe Tielemans can play well in Xhaka’s position, but I suspect Arteta wants another left-footed midfielder and having four skilled Brazilians in the starting line-up can make us more dangerous on the left wing

            I agree that Partey’s injury history at Arsenal is worrying, hence Arsenal’s bids on Douglas Luiz in the summer. If they really want Caicedo to compete with Partey, they’d better move quickly before Potter signs him

          2. KEDAR, GOOD GRIEF MAN! Why on Earth do you persist in talking nonsense? Teilemans is NOT coming, never was and is not remotely good enough. Understand!!!

    2. Ben White

      All 3 of Saliba Gabriel and White are quick.. so whoever is up the pitch then the other 2 are sitting in…

      Also allows us to play Tierney and Tomi …

      Not seen Zinch in midfield…a she has played at LB is he a potential CDM? Doesn’t he play there for Ukraine ?

      1. As far as I know, Zinchenko plays in a more advanced position for Ukraine. But I bet he can be a good CDM too, because he’s so good in tight spaces

  2. A Partey cover or competitor is irreversible in January if Arsenal wants to keep tabs on top 4. After 10 games, the players are getting exhausted from what we saw at Leeds yesterday. We absolutely need more squad depth to match up with the other top 6 (Newcastle is an upcoming and worrying force).

    Top 4 will enable us to sign world class players and this is our opportunity to get there and even win something.

  3. I feel Arsenal will Sign Danilo,for Douglas to Sign a new contract for Aston villa that’s to tell you Arsenal have make it clear they are not coming back for him

  4. To my knowledge, the water carrier nickname was originally applied to Didier deschamps, who I think was seen as the legs/engine room in the juventus midfield – I didn’t watch too much of him, but i think his playing style was more like Roy Keane – robust tackler, but not a sitting/holding midfielder exactly. I’d say xhaka is more a water carrier than partey in our current side.

    Kante and makelele are/were completely different players. I don’t understand why this comparison has taken hold. They’re both short and good at tackling, but their playing styles are totally different. Makelele was a true holding midfielder, whose primary job was protecting the defence, whereas Kante tends to follow the play and press higher up the field (box to box, as GAI said).

    To replace/rotate with partey, we need a holding midfielder, not a box to box. From what I’ve seen of caicedo, he’s a very good player, who’d do well here, but he’s played very much in a box to box role whenever I’ve seen him, utilising his excellent ball carrying abilities to break up the pitch – therefore, I don’t think he’s a good shout for the partey role. That’s only based on what I’ve seen though, I certainly think he has the tools to play the position.

    I haven’t actually watched any marseille games recently, but did notice that guendouzi has been lining up in an attacking midfield role btw – doesn’t mean he can’t play the holding role, just thought it was interesting.

    1. You are correct about Deschamps; I think it was Eric Cantona that gave him that label. You are also correct about Kante and Makelele being somewhat different animals. Perhaps Caicedo is more of a box-to-box midfielder but that maybe because that is what is being asked of him by Roberto De Zerbi. All I can say for sure is his defensive game is superior to any of our current midfielders except maybe for Partey. There has been much talk about us bringing in Youri Tielemans from Leicester and I personally think this would be a mistake. He’s a good player but his defending is dubious and I have concerns over his mentality.

  5. Caicedo has a contract until 2025, Brighton will not sell cheap. They would probably want more than the £50m we have them for Ben White, us if he does move Chelsea may be favorites after all Potter has done for him.

    I would forget about this one.

  6. My question would be

    Brighton managed to find him for next to nothing.

    Why aren’t we looking in the same places?

    I would agree that Caicedo could well be an able back-up for Partey, but he will cost a lot of money.

    I think we also need a backup for Xhaxa, neither Viera nor Lokonga can fill that role at the moment.

    I think Neves from Wolves certainly could.

    If we can get these two, especially in January, I feel our top 4 hopes would finally be realistic!!

    We could then start to rotate our midfield which should help keep the players fitter.

    Sadly, I feel this is just a pipe dream and we will be very lucky to get one of them!!!

    OR, maybe, just like Wenger, Arteta will go for another attacking player, instead.

    Let’s hope Arteta has learned that lesson.

    1. I used to be a fan of Ruben Neves but it seems this season he has started believing his own hype a bit too much. Same with Teilemans. We do need able cover or outright replacements for Partey and Xhaka. I like Locatelli but he doesn’t seem to like us.

      If we literally just wanted cover for Partey that wouldn’t cost the Earth there is always Sander Berge from Sheffield Utd. Literally just defends but sometimes that’s all you need.

  7. Lokonga was brought in the backup Partey and I’m sure Arteta has plans to tweak the role to fit his talent if really needed. Ben White can play in the same position. Zinchesko was brought in to play in the holding midfield position as well. Tavares also can play in parteys position if needed when he is back. I believe Arteta tweaked the role to fit the skill set of Partey and he will do the same for whomever has to cover Partey if needed.

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