Thomas Partey is back to his best for Arsenal – despite a positional change

Partey’s new position was a positive start by Dan Smith

Having been concerned how much he declined in the title run in (eventually dropped), especially given he’s one of our few experienced players, it’s only right I point out when Thomas Partey does well.

You sense in terms of his Arsenal career, he needed Saturday?

It’s funny how we all interpret a game in different ways. That’s fine, the sport is meant to be made up of various opinions.

Some Gooners were strangely disappointed we only beat Notts Forest 2-1. That arrogance is a debate for another day.

I do understand that if you want to find a reason why we got a bit sloppy in the second half (and you should just be satisfied with the three points) then Partey is the easy target.

Simply because he started out of position as our right back who would time when to step into midfield. It meant the visitors often targeted his side.

With little affect by the way.

Their goal came from us being caught on the break from our own set piece. That’s not one person’s fault.

Apart from that one moment, I don’t recall Ramsdale having to have made a save, before or after.

The observation that White had to keep coming across to help is the whole point of the system and why White was picked and not Gabriel.

Now let me stress, I’m not a fan of the hybrid formation and my fear is Arteta is over-complicating matters, which will cost him in the bigger matches.

You got a right back stepping into midfield, a centreback then goes to right back, so your left back comes into the middle and then two number 10’s floating.

I do respect though that tactically you need to have a footballing brain to be trusted to essentially play two roles in one game.

Our manager clearly feels Partey has the intelligence to do that.

There were a couple of times he won possession back, strode forward and was so strong his opponent fell over.

That was the Partey in the first half of last season.

While I’m not surehis current role should be a permanent one, it was great to see Partey back to his best.


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  1. I really liked to watch the way he changed his direction when being surrounded by the opponents. Only elite CDMs can do it without getting caught

    1. Yea Gai, Based on Arteta’s interview after the match he claimed to use Pathey in Right full back to nollify Forest game plan. That means he will not be used there often. It’s a plus for a coach have technically gifted versatile players at his disposal. Pathey did well on Saturday we had 3 points. I think it’s time for Tomiyasu to be given more chance to regain his confidence in matches by testing his resolves in the absence of JTimber. Also Kiwior should be given some run in. But I don’t support GManaghaes to be on bench often his partnership with Saliba remains the best we have.

      1. Yes, we’ve got Zinchenko, Kiwior, Tomiyasu and Tierney to play inverted-LB. I guess Arteta has predicted the injury disaster, hence the signings of many defensive players

  2. WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU CHANGE SOMETHING THAT IS WORKING, PARTEY!!!!!!!!!!!. Leave him to do what he is best at and stop meddling with the thing that is needed, a strong midfield. If Arteta and ALL his coaches can not see that Rice and Partey in midfield doing their thing is the best thing for Arsenal, we are in touble.

    1. I understand that many people were disappointed with the tactics Arteta used. Words such as tinkering were used by some fans. Yet last season many were complaining that there was no variation in play by Arteta. Using a different approach even if it wasn’t without fault,was positive in the sense that Arteta has learnt from last season and is willing to use different tactics for different opponents. Last season one of the complaints was that we struggled against teams with organized low blocks such as Forest. I think the tactics Arteta used were relatively successful until the second half. It is possible that the change at LB when Timber got injured affected the play dynamics. I don’t expect Partey to play that role next game. Gabriel will likely come in and White will be back at RB. One of Partey,Rice and Havertz likely will start from the bench,unless Havertz starts as the number 9 like in the community shield.

      1. My point is, you dont move one of your best players, in a position that was working, to play a role not suited to him. Play a player that is a specialist, in a position he is specialist at. Moving Partey for me, is uncalled for and medleing, not for the betterment of the team, or Partey come to that.

        1. He actually operated as a DM (inverted)in that game just like he did against wolves on the final day and it obviously worked if you cared to notice.

          1. I dont think it worked!!!!!! Plus i dont get moving one of the best midfielders in the league and Europe. Im sorry i dont get it. Its a defensive role. Jon Stones has been converted.

              1. It worked regardless and the last time I checked we won both games (5_0 and 2_1 respectively) not sure why you guys are pissed.

                1. Then its not worth trying to tell you then because its pretty clear!!!! PLAY YOUR BEST PLAYERS IN THEIR BEST POSITIONS.

                  1. I doubt Arteta will play partey at RB against big teams who like to play attacking football. It seems to be just a makeshift tactic against teams who sit back in their half and only look to counter on the break. And it did work with all the possesion and control we had in the midfield and on attack with additional man on the front. Partey made runs and combined with white and saka on more than one occasion which helped overload forest park the bus defence. It’s a good tactic against such teams and Partey won’t play there all season. I don’t see any reason to panic here.

                2. surely we get pissed because a good coach is trying his best to destroy his work inorder to protect his new signings.

  3. Partey change in position was due to the lack of forward passes by our (always pass sideways) defensive back line. //This gave us more positive play, although the passing still needs to move a bit quicker, they did however have the lions share of the possession.// Arsenal still lack that central defender with a bit of quick acceleration, to counter both the in swinging ball from set pieces and the over the top counter pass that leaves our high back line chasing back. Our defenders are a bit too slow to accelerate from a standing position. Arsenal need to correct this chink in their armour.

  4. The trouble was, Partey faded like the rest of the team in the second half, I am not a fan of Partey playing right back, it is not needed. Find your strongest eleven and let them gel, have a good backup when rest is needed, all this I want Arsenal to be unpredictable by Arteta may not work, and in the second half, we were very predictable. Partey and Rice need to develop a partnership and an understanding and that will not work if they are being played at different positions. Palace away will be a difficult game

  5. Not sure about the rest of you, but i am still not 100 % confident with our defence.//Arsenals next purchase should be a fast young central defender that can accelerate back from a high line possition. Players may however need to be sold before this can happen.

    1. Likewise. In the recent past though, that was down to poor players, sorry, downright awful players, making costly mistakes far too often. Not to mention the managers lack of understanding of how to get a team performing defensively as well as an attacking unit. His two successors then had the task of rebuilding the defence and coming up with a coherent defensive strategy.
      While the team now has a far better set of defenders, and some sort of defensive strategy, the manager insists on fiddling about with it and playing players out of position, or dropping better players in that role, for others that suit his attacking plans better. This is a mistake. All the most successful sides sort out the defense, and defensive strategy first, then build an attacking strategy that fits that – not the other way around. Two, admittedly fairly unknown and only relatively successful managers, Bob Paisley and Alex Ferguson both maintained that was the case. Arteta needs to stop being a Ranieri, and start being more like Graham. Get a winning formula and stick with it. Just a thought…

    2. Its not the defence but the defending and lack of solidarity by playing, inverted, inside, outside bullshit football. Its great when it works going forwards but the way we play it, it obviously doesn’t when our attacks break down. We are very very naive in our play without the ball.

  6. Having just watched the game am hoping this right back position is a one off for the world class player.
    It’s not that Partey plays bad far from it but you don’t want to have the 30 year old player doing so much work.
    You need mobile and younger players to cover that much grounds, these types of task will leads to injuries.
    A keep saying Arsenal in need for another powerful midfielder.

    Its the second game running there is a massive drop off when the recently sign Timber exited the pitch.

    1. Speaking about injury and to affirm what you said, the news is Timber has torn his ACL and he will be for months. When you play player in a position he is not familiar with he might get injury.

  7. Dan, expecting to beat Forest by a wide margin is NOT arrogance, it should be a given… especially after the money we have spent versus them.

    Partey? Why on earth are we not playing him in the proven round hole he excels in, rather than turning him into a square peg?

    Partey and Rice in midfield is a dream come true, especially with Saliba and Gabriel behind them, alongside White and Timber (Tierney / Zinchenko / Tomi) .

    1. Ken for me, Rice and Partey should be one of his “untouchables”. If he cant see how lucky he is to have both “midfielders” then im not with him on this.

  8. Arsenal has everything in the world to compete effectively on all fronts bar a manager and a Centre forward.
    Our defence is ok,our midfield is ok,but our offence is lacking a Premier league C.F,I think Arsenal is the only elite team in Europe whose C.F doesn’t play for their national team.We deserve better.
    I’ve watched all matches over the weekend and I think Arteta is just arrogant or ignorant, I doubt if we will hack it with his kind of reasoning.

      1. Yes John,Sigh what you can but am that serious. If this is how Arteta is going to use the players we have then he has no iota of an idea on how to manage.
        Why on earth on your first match of the season would you bench Gabriel,play Partey out of position with no injuries suspensions or fatigue.How then will we get a working 11 with such nonsense.
        Arteta should just get his basics right or ship out.& by the way if we lose points because of this kind of reasoning there is no need to entertain such mediocrity. There are so many managers out there who can do wonders with the squad we have right now.

        1. Cliff, And we have one who DID bring them here. Yet your “bar a manager” (whom Dan kit seems to think I thought you meant no manager at all ), rather than one not good enough, which I of course challenged.

          My question remains: can you please explain how did we get an “elite” team( your OWN words) without a manager who you consider as being any good!? The honest actual answer to that question is that, plainly, YOUR opinion is wrong

          1. Jon Arteta has been around since 2019.He unlike his predecessors has been heavily supported by the Kroenkes.He now has a team that is his own.Most of the players are quality and I accept but we may debate if some are any better from what we had before.
            What baffles me is why he would buy players to play them out of position.
            That’s why I said another manager would use this player’s in a better way by ensuring he leverages on players strengths by allowing them express themselves fully in their natural positions unlike what we are seeing now.

    1. Have you ever wondered HOW a team, can be so “elite” when we are apparently, according to you,”bar a manager”??!!

        1. He ment bar a top class manager and striker ,not hard to read between the lines ,and he might be completely right time will tell .

            1. Your context indicates we lack the manager and center forward to effectively compete perhaps you should learn to use words appropriately.

              1. Vamos I mean exactly that.What is your point?
                Going by the first game this season,it just confirms that Arteta was one of the reasons we didn’t win the championship last season. It seems he has learnt nothing and he wants to take us that route again. This is unacceptable.

            2. You shouldn’t need Clarification Cliff ,or anyone else ,anybody with one brain cell knew what you was talking about ,it’s the Arteta herd making it complicated for themselves (and everyone else )because you suggested something against the grain ,Butt hurt supporters buddy 👍

        2. We have a manager who turned us into title challengers for the first time in years yet “he has no iota of an idea”.
          Quite remarkable.

          1. David you ignored what made me insinuate that.There is no sane person who will play Partey as right back unless it is so necessary at the expense of him playing in midfield.
            Further more we had no left footed player from diffense through midfield to offence in our team on the left side of the field.Who does that?

            1. We’re we title challengers ?
              From what I saw city breezed past us in the league while we crumbled once again ,and they were in another 2 comps which they won .
              Let’s see what this season brings .

            2. Too sensible a question Cliff and the reason we came so close last season, was that he played our top platers (apart from Tierney) in their strongest positions.

              Here’s a question for David…. why do you think he played Partey as a right back and why does it make sense to you?

              1. Ken in my view Arteta wanted to sell both Partey and Xhaka from what I see.Its only that pre season matches proved to him that a Declan,Kai midfield would be a disaster thus the change of heart.
                The tinkering we are seeing is all about Arteta trying to justify his initial intentions of playing both Kai and Declan in midfield when the entire world knows its untenable.
                The earlier it sinks in his mind the better for all of us.This is why I doubt his managerial capacity.

                1. Cliff, to not have a left sided defender on the bench against Forest was one mistake, not playing Gabriel alongside Saliba was the second, playing Partey at right back was the third and dropping Trossard yet again was the fourth…. in my opinion.

                2. You are spot on and there journalists who are trying their best to end Partey’s Arsenal career and elevate Mr Rice knowing fully well that he is miles behind Partey.sad

                3. You are spot on. Its sad that he is doing his best to protect KAI and DECLAN at PARTEY’S expence.

              2. Arteta clearly likes his teams to dominate midfield and one way of doing that is by using a fluid system that involves the nominal FB stepping into MF. The benefit of that was seen into the way Zinchenko played in many games last season. Partey offers a similar option from the RB position. The original experiment with Partey last season did not work as well but was better on this occasion. It is worth noting that Partey actually played as a FB in his earlier years so Arteta must have tried the option in training and considered this a suitable plan.

                  1. This is clearly untrue. He has mostly played in MF but has played at RB on occasion in the past (as a professional)

    1. SJ, what and where have you either read or heard about Timber being out for many months? Is this confirmed fact or merely assumption?

      1. It is suspected that he has torn his ACL , nothing is confirm as he’s still undergoing test assesing the seriousness of the injury.

    1. Agree Ken 100%.
      I hope the club learned the consequences from decimating the squad like they did 2 years ago in January.

      Sold off players, no cover, and injuries hit and we bottled 4th place in the last 4 games.

      It took us 2 years to get the quality depth we have now.

      Only a fool would sell Tierney now with Timber out for quite a while.

      1. Two years and an awful lot of money Durand.
        If Zinchenko isn’t fit for the Palace game, then who is MA going to play at LB?

          1. I haven’t forgotten anything Vamos, especially as Tierney wasn’t even in the squad against Forest, Tomiyasu is a right footed player and Kiwior is a CB by trade.
            Tavares has been a disappointment to date as well.

            But by playing Partey as a RB, it doesn’t really matter where a players strength is does it?

            Of course, Saka played at LB, so perhaps we will see him back there again?!?!

            1. We DON’T have to play saka there because we have capable players available even without tierney.tomiyasu,kiwior and zinchenko are versatile players who are comfortable at left back and have thrived when deployed there,forget about nuno tavarez he is already on his way out.

              1. So I ask again, Vamos, why play Partey at right back, when we have (using your own words) “capable players” to play there?

                If you watched the Forest game, you would have seen that, I suggest, nearly all their attacks came down their left side and, indeed, that’s where the goal came from was it not?

        1. Don’t forget Kiwior seems the best suited for LB,especially against top teams, he’s fast, technical and defends well, Zinchenko also is perfect but lacks speed,height and defence positioning.

          If Timber’s injury is that bad, then hes had previous injuries on that leg,

          I believe Arteta wanted more technical players against a low block Nottingham, hence why he played Partey as RB,
          IMO, he should have used Havertz/Nketiah as CF, Trossard as AM alongside Odegaard,

          I really hope Havertz improves his physicality, he barely took a shot at Turner.

  9. I was watching Manure’s keeper basically assaulting a wolves player without getting near the ball. VAR review and all and a clear penalty is not awarded. In addition wolves manager gets booked for nothing afterwards. Webb’s message here is clear.. Just terrorise everybody who just seams like thinking of protesting to submission. This is just disgusting.. I really don’t know if I want to continue to pay to watch the premier league.

    1. No2 No2, lets be honest , VAR is a sick joke and spoils any excitement while still letting joke decisions stand. It is a farce and ought to be done away with right now . While humans alone run it ,it will always MAKE MISTAKES.



    2. It is well known that Howard Webb was seen as manure’s twelfth man and, after watching that assault on a player, without any punishment warranted by both the referee and the VAR team, it is clear that he has instructed his referees and VAR to favour them yet again.

      Does ANYONE really believe that, if it had been Ramsdale making that kind of assault on a player, he wouldn’t have received a red card and a penalty awarded?

  10. I didn’t see anything positive in this move and we won because of some great individual play to get the goals and because the opposition was so lame.

  11. Oh dear!! Manure got VAR and wolves to thank for tonight’s victory, i always knew there is nothing special about that team who got “more leaders than us”.

    1. They only win against us with ugly football. I hope Arteta is aware of what he will need to do against ManU.

  12. Big big shame at old Trafford, this may very well be a taste of what to come.

    PGMOL has gone off the rails and seems to have lost the plot, instead of hiring a professional like Pierluigi collina to stream line the process, Lee Mason is in again through the back door.

  13. “You got a right back stepping into midfield, a centreback then goes to right back, so your left back comes into the middle and then two number 10’s floating.”

    When you change right back to left back and vice verse, you have the formation of last season.

  14. Dan Smith I just want to clarify why some fans were disappointed with a 2 – 1 win, it’s not necessarily the score line it all have to do with the fact that last season when we were leading 2 – 0 we threw away the game so we feel worried that we drop off after we take the lead we don’t manage the game well. And like the goal we conceded against Nottingham we don’t like it when teams run at us I mean they could’ve stopped running in their own half but let him run to our box & made the pass we’ve seen that happen so many times

    As Tierney I hope he stays I hope he gets more game time.

  15. arteta to involve maghales & maintain back saliva Gabriel n eliminate any counter as partey rice odegard join the attack when launched providing ball recovery for rebounds. with such cover our forwards can’t stop scoring..that is martineli saka nketia harvertz

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