What is your dream Arsenal midfield for next season?

My dream Arsenal midfield lineup for next season


I hope that neither Granit Xhaka nor Dani Ceballos and Mohamed Elneny score a hat-trick against Olympiacos to make me sound stupid in this article. This is an opinion piece and thus if they do end up playing the match of their lives on Thursday, I request you to not thrash me in the comments section, as this article was written before The Gunners’ round of 16 second leg tie at the Emirates. To continue, here is what my dream midfield will look like come next season.

Thomas Partey :

The first player on my midfield lineup, a no brainer. The Ghanaian moved to the Emirates on the summer’s deadline day but has barely featured for them since. The 27-year-old missed only 8 games during his time at Atletico Madrid.

But his start to life in London has been like the weather in England. Cloudy. Out of the Gunners’ 28 league matches, Partey has featured in just 14 of them.

No pre-season, demands of the Premier league and the congested fixture list of this unprecedented season have all taken a toll on Arsenal’s fresh recruit.

Although the Arsenal faithful have seen flashes of a player who is named in the same breath as other world class central midfielders, it has been far and few in between so far.

But the next season is where Arsenal and the Premier League will possibly see the true colours of the player, who is more often than not has been covered in a golden gift wrap by the Arsenal fans.


Yves Bissouma:

The Express reported last week that Arsenal have held talks with Bissouma’s agent, indicating their interest in the player. The 24-year-old might be the perfect player to supplement Thomas Partey.

The Mali international is superb at keeping position when pressed, something which Arteta licks his lips at. He has made 70 tackles in the Premier League, which makes him one of the best tacklers in the league.

He has also shown his calibre at shooting and dribbling on numerous occasions. At 24 year old, he is the type of player Arsenal should be looking at.

The Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder, in the past year, has 3.31 tackles, 2.02 blocks, 1.38 interceptions, 1.35 dribbles completed and has a 79.7% pass completion rate to top it off. Why is he an upgrade on Granit Xhaka you might ask? 1.66 tackles, 1.31 blocks, 0.63 interceptions 0.57 dribbles completed and a pass completion percentage of 62.69 are the numbers of the Swiss international.

Each and every aspect of the 24-year-old Brighton midfielder is better than Xhaka.

Considering Bissouma is four years younger than Xhaka, he is clearly the more appealing player for the future and their rebuilding process. It should be a case of out with the old and in with the new, better player.


Matteo Guendouzi:

I don’t want to touch any wrong nerves of Arsenal supporters, but I believe Guendouzi has the potential to be a world class midfielder. Even better if it is at North-London.

The now 21-year-old played 48 matches in his first season at the Emirates, showing bravery and drive countless times. But the young Frenchman will only have a year left on his current deal in the summer.

I come from that section of the Arsenal fans who believe Guendouzi should be given a second chance at the Emirates by handing him a contract extension and a role of “third choice” central midfielder.

That position is currently occupied by the duo of Ceballos and Elneny. I am of the view that the money which is being quoted for Ceballos around 25m, can be better spent on other players who are better central midfielders than the Real Madrid man. Bissouma being at the top of my list.

Elneny, even though has impressed this season, I don’t believe boasts the quality which can take Arsenal back to the Champions League.

So I am rooting for Gunedouzi to come back to the Emirates. Come on!


Miguel Azeez: This selection might raise some eyebrows, but I completely believe in the 18-year-old abilities. Breaking through the first team is a matter of “when” and not “if” for the Englishman.

He has been one of the standout performers for Arsenal’s youth teams. Mikel Arteta gave him his first run out against Dundalk in the Europa League in December.

He showed some flashes of true quality and thus I believe he is going to have a good career. Watch videos or read articles, you will have only one conclusion afterwards: Azeez is an extremely gifted player. Loaning him out might be the best solution for his development. But if Arteta throws him in the senior team setup straight away next season, I won’t be surprised.


I am not of the view that either of Granit Xhaka, Dani Ceballos and Mohamed Elneny are the players who can facilitate Arsenal’s push for a Champions League spot next season. Cashing on them right now would be my personal choice.

What are your views? Don’t forget to comment below!


Yash Bisht 

Connect with the writer via Twitter/Instagram: @yarsenal09


  1. Koopmeiners – De Paul – Partey

    One of Guendouzi/Torreira maybe to stay for rotation + Azeez from academy.

    I assume that we cannot afford Ödegaards transfer fee so that’s why I chose De Paul.

  2. If we still use 4-2-3-1 next season:

    – CAM: Smith-Rowe, Willian and Ceballos or Odegaard

    – Right DM: Partey, Willock, Maitland-Niles and Chambers

    – Left DM: Xhaka and Camavinga or Koopmeiners

      1. He made two defense-splitting passes yesterday, but unfortunately Pepe and Aubameyang couldn’t convert the chances into goals

        1. Agree to disagree on that one
          Awful player with a sh1tty “I’m a hard man “attitude .reminds me
          Of a poor mans Ramsey ,and he was bog standard .
          I think you need to aim higher buddy .

          1. Ceballos is better in the CAM position due to his vision and Ramsey was great in the right DM position due to his box-to-box style

          2. @gotanidea – Ramsey had the ability to be a”great” box to box midfielder, but after scoring a few goals he seemed to lose interest in doing the dirty work. Wasted potential in my view as he could have been that “generational talent” in my view

        2. Ceballos is better suited in a more attacking role. With the Spain u21s (where they twice won it and he was best player IMO on both occasions) he played as the most advanced on the left of a midfield 3 with 1 defensive midfielder behind him.

          With us he plays more as a defensive midfielder, which does not suit him much. Yesterday when he played as a 10, you saw glimpses of what he can do. He offers so much energy and creativity, something which we are lacking. If we keep him for next season, we should play him as a 10

          1. Didnt Ceballos yesterday lose the ball which ended in Olympiacos goal? I think it his was 4th consecutive mistake in EL which ended up us conceding.

            And come on mate, those “defensive splitting passes” were nothing special.. the pass onto Aubameyang was something you would expect every PL player to make.

          2. Yeah. He’s a CAM who can play decently as a DM, but not fast enough to defend like Partey

            He’s skillful, creative and adventurous, so he’d likely thrive as a no 10

          3. Tell me how a goal is a attacking midfielders fault if he loses he ball in the opposition half with at least half the team still behind him? That Xhaka and Elneny were out of position and the rest cant defend, is not his fault. Some players just are looked at differently. I think Ive seen Auba lose a lot more balls than Ceballos, something he actually always does when played up front, but still people are saying he should play up front and almost never criticize him for it

        3. He also lost the ball so many times I lost count. I’m glad he was subbed with Ødegaard coming on which was quite prophetic really. I know so many players didn’t perform last night, including Partey but I thought Ceballos and Elneny were the two worst players on show.

    1. @GAI


      Maitland-Niles ?

      For me that’s more of a nightmare !

      Apart from the sentimental angle, I have never bought into the “smoke & mirrors / hype” surrounding this player.

      A serial underperformer, who will move on in the Summer.

      For too long we have invested / waited for players such as this to deliver – result, 15 points behind by Christmas !

      But hey, it’s all about opinion and we are all perfectly entitled to express that.

      1. I heard Maitland-Niles has been playing in the middle for WBA, but I’ve never seen how he plays there. I just think his abilities are good for a right DM role in a double-pivot formation

        1. What is that Right DM left DM you are obsessed with? There’s only one DM, the rest are CM and CAM, or a DM and 2 CM’s in the 433 formation.

  3. Love the Topic!!
    For me,, it has to be
    Thomas Partey, AMN and Smith-Rowe!!
    Not hyping him, but AMN has huge potentials.. Strong, energetic, and can shoot/pass with both feet!! A Micheal Essien or Gigi Wilnajdum kind of midfielder!!
    Even, if it’s not him, lets get a real CAM to play alongside ESR behind Partey. This Club should be Ambitious Plz!! 😕🙂

  4. I crave Bissouma so much. What a mouth watering Central midfield partnership it will be.

    The central defenders and goal keeper will be glad to have Partey and Bissouma in front of them.
    It will be a strong, fast and technical midfield.

    I don’t even mind Kroenke paying 40 million pounds to get Bissouma. He is my dream signing

    1. SJ good to see YOU don’t mind Kroenke spending”£40 mill” on Bissouma. Nor do I, as it happens! Trouble is that Kronke himself WILL mind!

  5. I dont get the hype surrounding Bissouma. He is a poor man’s Partey in my eyes. Also that would leave us without both our CM’s as they would both go to the African Nations Cup next year.

    I would prefer to have Locatelli as a replacement for Xhaka and give Guendouzi a chance to compete with him. Until yesterday I thought that Elneny should be kept as a squad player, but he showed once again that he really isnt up to standard to be in this team.. But then I do think we need a replacement as back-up.

    Sell Willock and AMN (if he still sees his future in CM) and give Azeez a chance. I hope we keep an eye out on Ryan Gravenberch, very talented player from Ajax and would fit our playing style. In 2/3 years he will be out of our reach

  6. Bissouma to Partner Thomas with Ødegaard in front or SmithRowe.

    Keep Xhaka, Bring back Matteo and Promote Azeez for backup after we sell Torreira, Elneny and send back Cabellos to Madrid.

    Loan out Niles, Willock & Eddie for season long loans in the Premier league to play week in and week out for experience and see if they will be good enough for us. Niles could be sold though for funds!

    Incomings we do is Ødegaard on loan for a season again with obligation to buy and buy Bissouma. The rest we have already!

    1. 👍 Sean, agree with your assessment. Buying Bissouma and Odegaard (rather than loan) in one window, would be a real statement by Arsenal.
      Hopefully, Arsenal’s self sustaining model, (notwithstanding the £120 million Government loan), will place the Club in a comparative solid financial position to take advantage of the need to sell players, by clubs such as Real Madrid and Brighton & Hove Albion.

  7. Just putting it out there for those who may not even know.

    AMN was loaned to Ipswich Town in 2015, to prepare him for integration into our first team squad.

    SIX YEARS ON he is on loan at ……………….
    West Bromwich Albion, who are virtually relegated.

    If you bother to watch WBA to see how he’s getting on, let me tell you – average at best.

    We need an injection of QUALITY.

    One description above definitely has the wrong player, otherwise he would be one of the first names down on the team sheet !

    After all, “potential” has outed by 23 years of age.

    Come on guys, we need to step on and look forward – enough stagnation.

  8. Well Yash, you started so well with Partey and Bissouma and so I thought, I like this guys take. He has dissed the dreadful Xhaka, also the willing but limited donkey Elneny. I liked your non rating of CEBALLOS too.

    But THEN you let me down bigtime with the IMO laughable nonsense of Guendouzi, who has underwhelmed spectacularly since leaving us, just as he did while wearing our shirt. And this, without even mentioning his clear trouble making attitude. So a huge NO NO to the “little boy” with long hair and too high an opinion of himself.

    And so on to Azeez, of whom many are predicting great things. But as yet, he is just a promise and has shown nothing in the first team level to make us wet our pants. Has he! OK, lack of opportunity and he is only 18.

    BUT THIS ARTICLE WAS ASKING WHO IS YOUR IDEAL MIDFIELD and for that IDEAL you have chosen an unproven 18 year old. Well you may be right- I HOPE YOU ARE- but that seems to me a triumph of mere hope over any tangible evidence for an IDEAL midfielder!
    Most mysteriously of all though was your lack of even mentioning ESR or ODEGAARD!

    WHY! Care to explain why you FORGOT them BOTH?

    1. Dear Jon Fox, this is my dream midfield players for the “central defensive position” and not the attacking ones

      1. DON’T YOU THINK IT WOULD HAVE BEEN A GOOD IDEA THEN TO MENTION THAT IN YOUR ARTICLE! There was nothing to tell us you were only talking about defensive midfielders andin any case you have yourself mentioned midfielders whose main job is NOT to defend . I think you are somewhat muddled in your thinking Yash.

  9. Partey needs to fix up himself. He is getting a lot of leeway at the moment but he has been terrible for the time he has been here.

    We are just overlooking the brainfarts he keeps coming up with in nearly each game he has played. These mistakes have not resulted into us conceding so far but if he continues his carelessness when in possession they will start manifesting.

    He dilly’s and dallys too much in dangerous position which has resulted in him getting dispossessed and putting our defenders on the back foot.

    When Xhaka, Ceballos, Elneny make the same mistakes they are absolutely pummelled.

    Not convinced with Partey so far but he’s still got a lot of time to improve.

  10. If this was based on flights of fancy then we could be here forever picking the best and most ideal midfield. Unfortunately, we have to base our best midfield (at this time) on what we currently have available to us.

    All of our current crop of midfielders throughout the course of the season have all been prone to mishaps and poor performances. with some more than others. They’ve all been good or bad at some stage individually and collectively so it’s hard to pick out a reliable midfield four. There’s been no consistency, no fluency and no agreeable pattern of defensive or offensive play in a single game, let alone a collection or run of games. Yeah, we can attribute that to Arteta as he picks the team and decides the tactics and style of play. But that aside it’s the players who, given they are professionals and plying their trade in a sport for which they’ve professionally trained in from a young age. They themselves should not be so haphazard and should have enough experience to perform better than they do. Okay, the game is fast and frenetic at times, sometimes it can be slow and laborious but in either scenario, we make the same mistakes and put in the same cumbersome, lacklustre performances not matter who is in the midfield. I think of all our current crop that have been mentioned they’re all capable of much more than they do now but they just can’t get it together. Partey has brought something different to the midfield but I’ve seen him on many occasions, even in last nights game, making errant passes, sometimes trying too much and getting caught on the ball or just conceding possession way too easily, sometimes reminding me of Diaby. Lots of potential but not making good use of it and becoming too cavalier. At the same time Elneny, Xhaka, Ceballos, Willock, Pepe, Willian, Nelson have had a daymare. I think before we try to identify a stalwart midfield that can perform as individuals and as a collective, that can defend and attack with unity, clarity and purpose, we have to get them to used to doing the simple things first.

  11. Another name worth throwing in the hat is the Brazilian Gerson.

    23 years old, left-footed, solid defensively, pace and power to dribble, superb vision and a vicious shot. His dad claimed that Arsenal were following him last year. Unproven at this level, of course, but the few Flamengo games I caught recently, he really stood out.

  12. If we are discussing the central midfield area we would need at least 4 exponents plus say Azeez who I believe is very talented.To bring about material change would necessitate the sale of certain players and those who are expendable in my opinion are Xhaka,Elneny, Torreria, Guendousi and AMN.Having watched AMN in all his games for WBA, I have come to the conclusion that he is simply not good enough for Arsenal.I would therefore attempt to trade him in a deal for Bissouma who can be used as a DM or a B to B..On the other hand, I have been more impressed with Joe Willock at Newcastle who I also regard as a B to B.I we could sell the others I have mentioned, and it is a big if, we could look to bring in someone like Sander Berge of Sheffield Utd who cost them 22m and who I believe has a release clause in the event of relegation.In the real World however, unlike me, Arteta obviously rated Xhaka who will no doubt be with us next season.

  13. Midfield is a key area for every winning team, so I guess I will try to make my selection right considering we have not enough funds in store.
    – First I will let go of Ceballos, he has been good in some occasions but I think he is on a bad spell right now in the case of losing possession and immediately it turns to a goal conceded, I think he will come good but it all depends on the amount Madrid are willing to sell to us.
    – Amn needs to leave the club for his -own future cus I can’t see him succeeding over here.
    Sell Torreria and Elneny
    Loan Willock

    Then Promote Azeez, keep Guendozi Granit and Thomas and sign De Paul (udinese) CM, Ellyes shkiri (Cologne) and permanent Ødegaard loan

  14. Note Ellyes Shkiri is statistically one of the best DM/Cm right now in the world.
    De Paul is a creative Cm and can also play as an Am
    While Ødegaard plays as the no 10 alternating with Smith Rowe

    1. Give him a chance to be injury free and fit. I can’t understand how people don’t see the improvement in Arsenal’s midfield when Partey plays.

  15. Not just a starting team but players available for selection: Partey, Will Hughes from Watford, Willock, Guendouzi, Torreria and Todd Cantwell from Norwich.
    6 players available for rotation…Saka and ESR counted amoung the forwards.

  16. I’d love to see partey line up alongside Frank Kessie
    Saliba Mari Gabriel
    saka Tierney
    Partey Odegaard/kessie
    Pepe. Auba. ESR

  17. Hey Yash! I’m with you regarding Guendouzi… would love to see him back in NL.. watch this space!

  18. I think we’ve already got it.

    Partey Torreira Azeez

    Torreira stays back as the extra CB in a back 3 with Gabriel/Mari on the left and Luis/Holding on the right while we are attacking.

  19. As long as xhaka and elneny are out of the door we will have a chance of moving on … they stay and midfield will continue to drag the team back … in any event arteta should only get the chance to rebuild if we finish in top 6 or win EL ..

  20. One with no Xhaka would be on my wishlist. I worry that Declan Rice will have him for toast tomorrow. Let’s hope Partey’ stands up to at least balance things out.

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