Is it time for Arsenal to unleash a Partey and Rice midfield partnership?

It’s an exciting time to be a Gooner. We were unbeaten in all competitions until last night’s disappointing defeat in France, and the goal is to keep our domestic streak going long enough to win the Premier League.

Maintaining a high level of performance requires fielding a good 11 in every game.

That being stated, one place where we must excel is in our engine room. Declan Rice has added another dynamism to our midfield, but with Thomas Partey’s return, we can’t help but believe our midfield is fully insured against danger from the opposition.

Even if Partey may have to settle for a backup role, there’s no doubting that you’ve visualised how formidable our midfield is if Arteta tries out a Partey, Rice, and Odegaard midfield trio, with Odegaard and Rice as No. 8s and Partey as No. 6.

In this setup, we could see Rice’s offensive side and appreciate how complete he is as a midfielder.

As Odegaard continues to amaze, doing everything he can to contribute to the attack, Rice might have a free role, drifting at central and attacking midfielder the Granit Xhaka way. The £105 million summer arrival could thrive in the role, as he is skilled at recovering the ball and passing in tight places. When in a favourable position and on long-range, he can also generate chances for teammates to score as well as score goals himself.

Partey, on the other hand, is a fantastic defensive midfielder who can score from long-range shots.

An injury to Partey prevented Arteta from unleashing it (a Partey-Rice-Odegaard midfield) in the league, but he may do so soon, and hopefully it could be seen this weekend against Man City.

Don’t you think this may be our strongest midfield set-up?

Daniel O


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Tags Declan Rice Partey


  1. Arteta actually played Rice in Xhaka’s position and Partey in the CDM position when we played against Man City in Community Shield match

    Rice’s performance reminded me of Xhaka’s, minus Xhaka’s great left foot. We managed to keep up with Man City using the setup and Havertz in the CF position

    Havertz was very important on that day, because he won some aerial duels to receive Ramsdale’s long passes and did hold-up play against Man City’s CBs

    1. Gai, I will absolutely like the same set up with the difference been Tomiyasu to replace JTimber. Tomiyasu in my opinion seem to be doing better on the left defence than the right. GJesus should also start in the place of Havertz upfront. If Saka isn’t fit I would prefer Trossard or ESR. I don’t think Viera in my opinion is not meant for such occasion

      1. Tomiyasu could win aerially against Foden on our left side of the pitch. But I bet Arteta will play Zinchenko, because Zinchenko is more familiar with Foden’s tricks and Man City’s tactics

        If I were Arteta, I would assign Jesus in the LW position to work with Zinchenko and cut inside. We would likely not be able to escape from Man City’s high-press with short passes from the back, so Havertz is needed in the CF position to receive Ramsdale’s long passes

        Smith-Rowe or Sagoe Jr on the right wing from the beginning of the match could surprise Man City, because they’ll expect us to play an inverted RW. We could try our luck with long crosses, because of Havertz’s height in the CF position

        1. Don’t you think Mancs knows Zinchenkos flaws more that’s why they let him go? I would start with Tommy.

  2. They are the three best midfielders but not sure they make the best combination. Rice has been superb as a defensive midfielder and it is obviously his future at the club. I would be reluctant to change that just bring Partey back onto the fold, perhaps he can adapt and play further forward?

    1. Declan Rice and Thomas Partey in a double pivot or add Odegaard to get a deep laying three, is a mouth watering midfield, if you ask me.

      1. 👍Gunsmoke, I agree with you and Daniel O; Odegaard, Rice and Partey are far away Arsenal’s best midfield three. Partey’s absence has been sorely felt

        1. OG, will MA bench Havs for 90 minutes? I doubt. Either DR, TP or MO will have to be benched / subbed to make way for Havs. With injuries to Saka and Martenelli, GJ would be out wide with EN as CF. MA will not admit 65M was going/is/will be a waste of funds. Add 7M and we have Pepe cost of transfer fees and 1/2 his wages for an utter useless player. Pepe was twice the player we have in Havs and we lost him for reasons unknown to us. The earlier MA acknowledges Havs is a failure like Viera and swallows his ego that he wasted 100M+ on both, the better for club, himself and us. Wake up MA or walk out MA.

  3. I hope he does to help us impose our game, Rodri,KDB,Bernardo and Stones unavailable so we are more than likely to win the game. Add to that we’ve got one more day to rest compared to theirs.

  4. If Arteta is serious about winning the league this season, he needs to play both and stop his shenanigans with Havertz. Why is it that he can’t set his priorities right. The EP league and EUFA Champions league are not testing grounds for low confidence, non-performing players loved by coaches. Teams are set up to win and not to help built player images. Why did he, Arteta even play Tomiyasu when he hasn’t really given him game time? The blunders he commits are so silly sometimes.

  5. No, not yet. Let the experiments continue.

    This BP wont rise by itself afterall…

    Phase 4 now, innit? Allow it.

  6. Drop Haverz, stop the ineffective inverted left or right back, play the OBVIOUS Partey, and Rice with Odergaard ahead. Start looking forwards and stop playing backwards and sideways, when foreards is on. Try playing Right footed and left footed wide players on the right and left now and again. Sew up the midfield and stop this Haverz love in, that IS NOT working at all.

  7. I think the midfield combination of Partey and Rice will be great, and will go a way to lift up the team.

  8. Yes, with no further delay.

    Going back to game yesterday, sincerely I didn’t see much of the game, only saw about 10mins or so (which was after we went behind 2-1).
    One thing I could point out was the fact that we played against a team comfortable on the low block. They were very comfortable sitting back to defend (something I think Arteta and co should be aware of before the game).
    Imo with the capabilities we have in the team there are two ways we could have dealt with the challenge the opposition posed yesterday.
    —The first would have been to hit them with a quick counter attack of our own when they are out of shape after they launch a counter or on a couple of occasions where we were able to disrupt their shape by drawing them out of position.
    However, it never happened. We were too slow and sluggish to even approach their defenders. This gave them ample time to reorganize. In the end we’ll have to pass backward and sideways to maintain possession.
    Here I’ll have to admit we missed the skills and creativity of both Martinelli and Saka to take on defenders, attempt dribbles and open space for others to play. Non of that happened yesterday.

    —The second option is to rely on long passes in behind opposition defenders or what some call ‘defense splitting passes’ from the midfield coupled with long range efforts at goal.
    These are areas where Partey excels well above Rice. He has a decent passing range and accuracy and is capable of making those through passes when the need be. And also has the ability to shoot from range.

    The point is to try to show how the presence of a Partey figure (including our other absentees) could have given another dimension to our game yesterday.
    Hence, I believe it’s time we see the benefit of the different qualities each of them (Partey and Rice) brings to the table in helping us win midfield battles, create chances and dominate the midfield.

  9. It would be crazy to start Partey as he has no match fitness.

    If it was a weak opponent, then yes, but against City you need everyone 100% on it irrespective of who they are missing.

  10. Those concerned about Parteys match fitness, how did we do it last season and in the past? I would never in a million years play Jorginho or anyone in DM ahead of Partey, as long as he’s fit.
    Some people are already resigned to Arsenal losing to Man City and therefore just want their favorite players in the team. We need to field a strong team and a strong Arsenal always has Partey in it, in DM, not QB.

  11. This might be the best midfield that will dominate all the midfields in the premier League, and win game in game out for arsenal.

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