Should Partey carry on as right back just to fit Rice into the Arsenal line-up?

Former footballer and pundit Micah Richards has expressed concerns about Arsenal’s midfield tactics following their 2-1 victory over Nottingham Forest.

Richards believes that Mikel Arteta is still searching for the right approach in the midfield and that the new system might expose Thomas Partey’s weaknesses.

Richards stated on BBC’s Match of the Day, “For me, I’m not sure it worked out today. Obviously, Partey started out in that right-back role, and I could see the intent from the start of the game. What they wanted to do is Partey to go inside to leave all the space for Saka, so Saka can come to the ball in a one-versus-one situation, or he can go over the top.”

He also mentioned concerns about the pace and fluidity in Arsenal’s play, emphasizing the need for quicker ball movement. Richards further remarked, “People are asking how they are going to fit with Rice and Partey in this system, they tried it today and of course they’ve won but I just don’t believe it worked exactly how they wanted it to work.”

While Richards acknowledged Partey’s positive contribution on the ball, he expressed doubts about the overall effectiveness of the tactics, especially in terms of team fluidity.

He concluded, “Little tweaks, I know it’s only the first game of the season. On the ball, Partey was fantastic. But in terms of the fluidity of the team, I’m not sure it worked today.”

Richards’ analysis sheds light on the ongoing tactical evolution under Arteta and how adjustments might be needed to fully utilize players like Partey.

Writer – Yash Bisht

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Tags Arsenal v Nottingham Forest Micah Richards Parrey


  1. They don’t have to always play together, but they can play in different positions if required

    I was surprised when Romano said a Saudi Arabian club didn’t want to pay £45m for Partey. In my opinion, Partey is still the best CDM at Arsenal and he would’ve probably won EPL/ UCL if he played for Man City

    1. Timber or Zinchenko normally drifts into midfield, so he may play Partey in that unorthodox rightback position to help with the possession play, unless there is a major threat down Arsenals right to defend against. //The tinkerman will be tinkering to tactically outsmart the opposition once again, especially now that the team has more options.//It is good to watch when it works and keeps everyone guessing!

  2. I don’t know how these pundits miss the point of Partey playing at RB against Forest. “Against a better team…” Yeah against a better team Partey won’t be playing RB. It was against Forest and the teams who like to park the bus even after conceding a goal. And it wasn’t to “fit” Rice into the team. It was to gain control in the midfield as you need to create more chances against such teams and that isn’t possible without higher than usual ball possesion.

  3. No. You don’t chop down the pillar, just so you can fit in your new tile, no matter how much you love it. You’re likely to collapse the whole house.
    Rice cannot replace Partey, and should not. He has his own attributes that made him shine at his old team. Let’s use them.

  4. An unnecessary complication and a misuse of one of our top midfield assets. I am pretty sure more chances are created by attacking full backs working with their wingers, as with White and Saka last season than will be adopting the invention tactics favoured only by two or three sides in the EPL.Increased ball possession does not automatically lead to an increased number of chances and without being stretched out wide, life gets easier for deep lying defences

  5. What is clear to me from reading very many postfrom manay fans about how MA is playing playeres in various roles that thosde same fans cannot sere thrpoint in, is thaty eith he is right or they are. I know which of those markedly different views I PREFER TO HAVE FAITH IN.

    And the reason why? Cos I have more faith in a top class professional who has spent a life in football, than I do in opinionated amateurs who populate social media.

    Nothing wrong with us having opinions, but lets put some real thought in to it before posting, eh fellow Gooners?

    1. 100% agree. I can make a few comments that might seem football-savvy but in the end I probably couldn’t manage a high school football team, let alone anything higher. So, in the end I leave the decisions to the professionals.

    2. A shame you chose not to say anything of substance, save only a silly childish attempt at an insult.

    3. It’s better not to accuse someone of something you don’t know. He might have been sleepy there might have been something else.

  6. What do I think? I think the manager should field a team that he feels will deliver the results against a particular opponent. Just because Partey was used there doesn’t mean it will always be the case,because all opponents are unique. Arteta was clear that the omission of Gabriel was tactical. That means he could be back for the next game-which most likely means White will be back at RB. Where that leaves Partey we’ll have to wait and see.

    Last season there were concerns that Arteta was using the same tactics and 12-13 players in all matches, which meant we became predictable. He seems to have learnt from that and I get the sense that he will be doing a lot more tweaking this season in terms of tactics and personnel. I see nothing wrong with that.

    1. In addition,I feel like the need for a “first 11” is outdated. Most top teams now have a “CORE” of four to five players who always start whenever fit,whereas the remaining 6-7 remain rotational based on injuries,form and tactics. In City’s case for instance, Ederson-Dias-Rodri-KDB-Haaland always play when available. Their starting lineup is always changing- I believe that’s why they are less fatigued in the business end of the season.

      1. Nothing wrong with rotation, but playing Partey out of position has nothing to do with rotation.Would Pep play Rodri at RB?

        1. Grandad if you were to check Partey’s heat map for the Forest game,you’ll find that he spent most of his time in midfield while White covered RB-I even recall White making one of his classic overlaps on the right wing as Saka moved inwards .

          Rodri and Partey,though they often play as holding midfielders, are different players with different strengths.Partey has played at RB before when he was at Atletico for your information. And Rodri despite being a holding midfielder,has often been deployed as a Centre back for Spain – such is the versatility required of players in the modern game.
          Tactically if you were to compare the role Partey played to a City equivalent, it would be Stones who despite being considered a centre back,has been used recently as a hybrid right back/right midfielder- and to great effect I must add.

          Finally, I have to say it’s not only Arteta making all these tweaks and trying different tactics. All the coaches are now doing it. Pochettino did it with Chelsea,asking Chilwell to tuck into midfield- and this worked for them against Liverpool by getting them back into the game. Tottenham did it with Emerson and it resulted into Emerson scoring a goal. Klopp has been asking Trent to do it. Guardiola more or less stopped using conventional fullbacks. Brighton did it with Estupinan and even played Caicedo there a couple of times. Let’s not act like Arteta is the only one trying these new and “strange” tactics in football. Every top coach out there is trying these new ways of playing. If I remember correctly,even Real Madrid played Camavinga (a defensive midfielder) at left back.

          1. Your comments are appreciated but the reference to Chillwell is irrelevant as he spent at least 90% of the game playing wide as a left wing back.Basically I think you are clutching at straws as you will find that Real Madrid will not change from a 4-3-3 set up and I very much doubt if the new Chelsea Manager will tinker with what is a 3-4-3 set up.

          2. Onyango,have you ever considered writing what would certainly be worthwhile articles and not only regular highly intelligent posts, like the typical one above?

            I would certainly be keen to read them! You are a refreshingly deep thinker.

  7. There will be games where Partey, Rice, and Odegaard is the best midfield,

    Others where Partey, Rice, and Havertz.

    And some where Partey or Rice is dropped while Havertz and Odegaard play.

    I think Partey at RB is a very rare occurrence, and would be very surprised and concerned if there were that many games in that position.

    It works with the ball, but defensively it’s a disaster waiting to happen.

  8. With zinchenko back in contention i think there’ll be no need to invert partey as oleks is the main man for that.partey returns to his natural DM role while oleks comes in as an inverted LB, Havertz,Trossard or Nketiah starts as CF.

  9. It was the first game of the season and the pundits think they are as clever as Mikel Arteta. Because Forest gonna play deep low block, Partey played at RB so he will invert to add extra players in midfield to push Kai Havertz in a free role.

  10. This has exposed Mikel’s favoritism. Rice is way below Partey. I am sorry Rice and Kai will cost us trophies. The boss is doing everything to fit them. Another untouchable is our captain who forgets how to play football during big games.

  11. Last season, we played OUR brand of football, We were top of the Premier League for the vast majority of that season.

    We fell away at the end of the season because of our lack of reliable backups on the bench.

    This transfer window we were supposed to bring in good back-ups so the same drop off didn’t happen again.

    Instead it seems, that these back-ups were bought so that Arteta could change our system to be more like Man City.

    Why, after last years success, are we trying to play in a new style?
    Wasn’t last seasons style successful enough?

    I thought we played really well last season, so why is Arteta trying to change????

  12. Rice should take xhaka role. Partey back to nr6 and Odegaard. Cant understand why Gabriel is benched? Saliba gabriel was much better… white may play as rb but. Bench Gabriel? Havertz ism’t ready, partey, rice, öde midfield. Zinchenko, white, fullback’s saliba and Gabriel in the middle! Martinelli and saka wingers! Balogun would play now if he wasnt so eager to leave, so nketiah as striker.

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