Should Arteta have gambled on Thomas Partey against Bayern Munich?

I appreciate we need to move on from the Champions League quarter-final disappointments. But still, questions must be asked.

After tying 2-2 in the first leg last week, Bayern won the second leg 1-0, denying our Gunners a spot in the Champions League semi-finals on Wednesday night.

That said, did Mikel Arteta overlook one team selection — not playing Thomas Partey — that could have boosted his chances of winning the game?

In the first leg of Arsenal vs. Bayern, one thing stood out: the German side won the midfield battles. The Leon Goretzka and Konrad Laimer midfield duo definitely stood out, winning duel after duel to stymie Arsenal’s forward approach. Jorginho struggled to perform alongside Rice in that game.

Versus Villa, Arteta chose to play Rice as a 6, dropping Jorginho (his big game player), most likely because of the Italian midfielder’s troubles against Bayern. After struggling in the first leg and missing the Villa game, many did not expect Jorginho to start on Wednesday night.

However, he started, and just like last week, Laimer and Goretzka went on to have a wonderful game in the middle of the park. If you watched that game, you probably wondered why Mikel Arteta didn’t gamble with Thomas Partey.

Partey has been available for a while, and we know firsthand how well he plays the No. 6 slot. He may occasionally lose possession while attempting tricky passes, but it is usually worth it because some of these passes change the game.

Yes, Partey didn’t start, but even if he didn’t, it’s amusing that, just like versus Villa, he wasn’t subbed on. His expertise would have been crucial in these games, as the Gunners clearly needed midfield penetration, a skill in which he excels.

That said, our Gunners struggled in the middle of the pitch. They had to try to spread Bayern wide with more short direct passes into space behind.

Instead of bringing in all those forwards — Nketiah, Jesus, and Trossard — and reverting to a Havertz, Rice, and Havertz midfield that never works, Arteta should have improved the central midfield security (by dropping Odegaard or bringing in Partey), which may have made a significant difference in the game.

What’s your opinion?

Daniel O


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Tags Thomas Partey


  1. Please can someone tell me is Pathey still in process of curing his wound?
    I assume when players are on the bench they are good to go for a match.
    We need answers to Pathey *puzzle”

  2. Yesterday afternoon I was spot on with my Arsenal forecasted starting line up 6 hours before the game. I was however not surprised how Arsenals back line got closed down so quick, it was unfortunate that we do not do the same in closing down their back line. The only player to do this is Odeguaard the rest are too lazy or unfit to do it for 90 minutes. Trossard chips in with the second most close downs after Odegurad from our attacking players. Saka tends to start to deep and needs to be further up field, that is because he doesn’t trust the defensive duties of White. We have the best centre back pairing but their is room for improvement in our right and left back positions. Jorginho doesn’t have the legs in midfield, this is why Rice is not so advanced in attack because he doesn’t trust Jorginho. Maybe Partey is a better choice than Jorginho when both are equally fit, but we need more midfield energy and better fullbacks. Also a Strong brave center forward.

  3. We ought to have assigned Rice and Partey to contest the boiler room against Goretzka and Laimer and I would have played ESR on the left flank as he is more defensively aware than Martinelli who is, in any event struggling for form.The same could be said for Saka but once again Arteta failed to give them the green flag to switch wings in an effort to try something different to upset the Bayern back four.I’m afraid our young wingers are not as good as most fans seem to think and the fact that they are overplayed has put too much pressure on their young shoulders.Because of our failure to interchange our front three we have become very predictable and the fact that we lost out to a seasoned Champions League side does not surprise me.I am afraid their is a fair chance of our season imploding and it will be very interesting to see how Arteta reacts to our consecutive defeats in terms of his selection for what is a must win match.

  4. Jorginho had another good game and was one of our better players and only got subbed off at the end to get attackers on but I’m not sure how we could revert to a Havertz, Rice and Havertz midfield as there is only one Havertz😊.
    Anyway I picked out Kimmich in the first half as the danger man, for his corners, free kicks and general play, but of course he also scored in the decisive second half. I think he’s available at the end of the season……just saying. Not sure why Partey was even on the bench as I’m sure he’s gone this summer.

  5. I thought Jorghino struggled big style. The first 20 minutes he gave the ball away three times, in succession, missed 2 tackles and was sluggish getting back. He didn’t influence the game at all. Gorestska and Laimer ran the midfield for Bayern and he particularly struggled. Rice couldn’t cope but would he have done better with Partey? Partey and Rice playing as a screen, would have been more effective. Partey not playing, probably wasn’t the deciding factor. The way we played was. We tried, first half to slow ut down, keep the ball from Bayern and quieten the croud. That worked a little but the minute Bayern twigged and realised, they could speed it up, we struggled. Our build up was awfully slow, yet again and we never did anything clever at all. Our tactics didn’t work, Bayerns did, thats the crooks of it.

  6. Partey has barely played all season, and hasn’t looked his best recently, so starting him in this game would have made no sense.
    Our starting lineup was about as good as we could have put out imo, we just weren’t good enough.

  7. Arteta has opted to die with Havertz rather than give a chance to someone who has really proven his worth in the midfield. It’s so shocking that a combination of Rice, Partey and Odegaard is one of the best combinations in the midfield in Europe and yet Arteta isn’t allowing it to happen even at critical moments.
    Partey produced the assist that led to the Saka-denied penalty with just a few minutes in the field. TYet he was abandoned on the bench for a repeatedly ineffective combination of Havertz, Rice and Odegaard.
    Is Arteta so emotional of having Havertz on the pitch?
    A coach should never be this emotional? Partey might have produced something to save us!!!!

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