Who will be close to the Part(e)y?

Partey's perfect partner? Elneny's Arsenal renaissance spells trouble for  Xhaka and Ceballos | Goal.com

By all accounts and means, one of our starting central midfielder will be Partey. We hope that unlike Pepe and Willian, he will not disappoint and that he will hit the ground running like Gabriel or Tierney. He is super highly rated by Edu and Arteta and they bought him to be an angular part of our central midfield.

Arteta seems to have opted for a 4231 (42121, if you would like) set up. This means he will have a double pivot playing in front of the defense with one player more defensive minded (a la Gilberto Silva) and one player that will be given more responsibilities to move the ball forward (a la Cazorla/Ramsey/Parlour?).

Partey is considered to be a versatile and complete midfielder but how will Arteta use him?

If used as a more defensive-minded midfielder, who should play next to him (Ceba? Xhaka? Willok? AMN?) ?

If used as a more “central midfielder/box to box midfielder”, who should play next to him (El Neny, Xhaka, AMN, Chambers?) ?

Based on recent results and set-up, it seems that the back 5 has been settled for now and that our attacking midfielders (including on the wings) and CF have also kind of been identified too…

Leno – Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney – Partey, ? – ESR – Saka, Auba (or Martinelli) – Laca

So how would you use Partey and who would you like to pair-up with him in midfield?


65 Responses to Who will be close to the Part(e)y?

  1. RC78 says:

    And would Xhaka be the more defensive one, giving Partey more chances to roam forward?

  2. LB says:

    My guess at the team tonight.


    Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney


    Saka, ——-ESR, ———–Auba,


  3. RC78 says:

    LB – I concur with your team and I totally forgot we had a game tonight. Otherwise, I d have drafted a pre-match 😦

    Anyways – what are your thoughts on who should play next to Partey once Partey is back in the fold

  4. RockyLives says:

    Outstanding work RC.

    I can do the match report for tomorrow if you like.

    It would be nice to see Partey back in the team. He has been declared fit (in fact our only injury is Martinelli).

    This may not be a bad game to bring him back, but perhaps we will be cautious and look to use him off the bench.

    If we start him he should play alongside Elneny: the Ninny is a better DM than Xhaka – he’s more athletic and more disciplined. Xhaka’s recent outings have shown that he is much better when he has someone else behind him in the deep-sitting midfield role.

    Once Partey is fully re-established I wonder if Xhaka’s main role might be as the alternative to Partey when we want to rest the new man.

    An equally interesting question is who will start in the centre back roles tonight?

    Obviously we discussed this in yesterday’s post, but with Gabriel back I think it’s a real toss-up between him, Mari and Luiz for the left sided CB role.

    I’d be surprised if Holding is rested but you never know.

    I think LB’s predicted starting 11 is spot on.

    If MA decides to start Partey, then it’s a straight swap – Partey for Xhaka.

  5. RockyLives says:

    Big Daddy

    If we start Partey-Xhaka, who do you see as having the greater defensive responsibility out of that pair?

  6. Gööner In Exile says:

    I would think this is the horses for courses type debate we often get wrong in terms of managers thinking.

    For me it would be Elneny Partey for those games where we should be most concerned about teams counter attacking, ie Spuds, and most of the rest of the league who want to soak up and try to score on the counter.

    Perversely against the likes of Liverpool or City I’m more likely to go for Xhaka as it is us who will be doing the soaking up and trying to play on the counter so we will need Xhaka’s passing ability to release players into the channels. I assume in this games our full backs will not spend as much time in the opposition half, therefore our need for defensive cover should be less.

  7. LB says:


    The reason I didn’t answer the question was because I simply do not have a clue, I just don’t know enough about him and his style of play to guess.

    The only hint we got was that the last time he played he managed to make Elneny, playing along side, look like Pirlo………

    I heard that comparison somewhere else this morning and it made me laugh so I wanted to share it, still does make me laugh.

  8. TotalArsenal says:

    I expect Xhaka and Partey to play with both of them playing a lot in a horizontal line and pushing up high close to the attacking three. XhakA might go deeper if and when Tierminator goes forward to provide cover and same may happen with Partey when Bellerin starts combining with Saka on the right. This duo will need time to gel though.

  9. Aaron says:

    Interesting times.

    Keep the train rolling.

    Do not change a damn thing.

    Or go with what LB says, as GIE makes a good point.

    However, changing up a winning combination at the back makes me think back to letting the team sort itself, and in Mikel does change the line up, much harder to get team chemistry developing.

    El Neny does make himself open to receiving the ball, yet he does not make field switching passes that often nor split the lines. Nothing needs to be said about Xhaka, yet, does Mikel even risk starting Partey? He has not even played in 1 competitive match a full 90 at EPL speed and physicality since his injury, if he tears his quad again his season is fini…

    Inclined to go with same formula that is on a roll, and introduce Partey at 60-70 minutes.

  10. RockyLives says:

    Good point GiE

    We can (and probably should) adjust our formation and plan based on who we’re playing.

    Let’s hope Zaha does not make us pay tonight for not signing him.

  11. Sue says:

    We’re without a win in our last 4 games against Palace – 3 draws, 1 loss. Time to put that right tonight! Partey is in the squad.. let’s keep our winning run going – kinda used to smiling, cheering and punching the air now 😄 COYG

  12. Aaron says:

    Good to see you here Sue.

    Just to clarify, are you Sue or SueP?

    Not that I have any preference, as you both are good to read on the other site.

  13. Sue says:

    Thanks, Aaron! 🙂 I’m just Sue…
    So, have you arranged Ozil’s Uber yet?! 😄

  14. RA says:

    Well done, Monsieur RC,

    I admit to being not too interested in predicting team rosters — not because they are not interesting in themselves, but frankly I have no talent for such scrying, with or without my crystal glass.

    That said I will have an attempt, based on nothing more than reading the tea leaves, from Mikel’s murmurings.

    Burnt Leavings

    He-Dun-it Belli — Holdit — Gabby — Tears-on his-knee

    Part-time — Xhocker

    Peeper — ESR — Sakem — Aubatoyou

    That seems fine — OK crap, but fine for a no-hope predictor. 🥺

  15. Rasp says:

    Thanks for another excellent post RC. My feeling is that it will be either Xhaka or Elneny according to the opposition as others have said. If he’d turned out as we’d hoped it would have been Torreira. I would imagine that if we manage to move on those players who are out of favour this summer it will be a new acquisition …. unless my man Azeez gets a chance to prove himself in the same way ESR has.

  16. RC78 says:

    Leno – Bellerin, Holding, Luiz, AMN – Xhaka, Ceba – Saka, ESR, Auba – Laca

  17. Sue says:

    Mari – tight calf. Tesco – muscle tightness, so gets a rest! COYG

  18. RC78 says:

    I m hoping Ceba puts in the defensive shift too.

    I think the game will be painful for Bellerin, Holding, Xhaka and Laca.
    On the other end, I think that AMN, Saka, ESR and Auba can deliver a winning performance for us. Let us see.

  19. LBG says:

    Of course injuries/tightness cannot be predicted, but hope that selection in defence and midfield , Mikel doesnt backfire. No Elneny on bench?

  20. Gööner In Exile says:

    Feel a bit for AMN tonight, to try and offer same attacking threat asTierney with Townsend on his side will be tricky, in my mind he should stick more than twist this evening and make sure Townsend can’t serve Benteke.

    Zaha will play between the lines so that’ll keep Xhaka and Hector busy assuming Caballios plays the more advanced role of the pair.

    We could end up with Saka and PEA being very isolated.

  21. Sue says:

    Remembering Guendouzi’s rugby tackle on Zaha 🤣

  22. LB says:

    With Xhaka and Ceballos in midfield — this can only mean that Arteta intends to take the game to them from the outset.


    No Mustafi, at all, hmmmm, and no Elneny? If anyone has some injury news on him can they share it?

  23. LB says:

    It’s so exciting watching Arsenal at the moment, it is one of those rare times when we don’t know the team well enough to be sure what the upside is; that’s to say, exactly how good they are.

    Has Ceballos played with Smith Rowe yet?

    I don’t think they have — that could be electric.

  24. fatgingergooner says:

    Arsenal players came out looking like they mean business. I don’t like jinxing things but I see an hammering happening soon.

  25. Aaron says:

    Xhaka and Luiz better put in a shift today!

  26. RockyLives says:

    Ceballos certainly looks up for it.

  27. Aaron says:

    ESR with a cross!
    Loving that Saha is having a meltdown…

  28. RockyLives says:

    Saka putting in some quality crosses

  29. RockyLives says:

    If things stay pretty much like this I think we’ll see Partey in the second half at some point.

  30. fatgingergooner says:

    It appears I misread the situation. That wasn’t a sense of purpose on the players faces….it was constipation.

    Oh well.

    Hopefully it will be sorted in the half time toilet break….feel sorry for the cleaner.

  31. Rasp says:

    This team is not clicking at the moment … what’s missing?

  32. LB says:

    Saka is struggling to get into the game, we have no left side overlap.

    Big half time team talk needed.

  33. RockyLives says:

    In fairness Palace have knocked it around well in the last 15 mins.

    They have some quality in attack.

    But we can definitely improve and we have created several good opportunities with the final touch or pass just not coming off (that ESR low cross that Belli took off the toe of Laca).

  34. LB says:


  35. RockyLives says:

    What’s missing?

    KT phone home!

  36. Rasp says:

    Tierney …

  37. RockyLives says:

    I feel bad for AMN. He had a poor half.

  38. Gööner In Exile says:

    LB is right we have no real left side overlap, made worse by the fact that PEA has displayed his passing woefulness when we have had a couple of good build ups.

    Out fill back is more likely to cut in so this would be the night where Saka may be better served on the left. That means sitting PEA out though.

    For me the problem lies in midfield, Palace doing a good job of soft pressing out defence when we have ball at back so there is not an easy out to Chaka or Ceballios, they are then dropping deeper to get the ball and we are further away from their goal looking for miracle balls.

    Ghis is potentially the one problem with Luiz he looks for the long pass first, if he doesn’t see it he starts playing the side to side, Ceballios is similar. The ball has been moving quicker out of defence with Elneny and Mari than it is tonight.

  39. LB says:

    It would possibly be better playing Saka at LB and bringing on Pepe

  40. RockyLives says:

    Not sure I want Pepe on the same side where they have Eze and Saha.

  41. Gööner In Exile says:

    That’s a fair point Rocky.

  42. RC78 says:

    I think Willian might come in…

  43. RockyLives says:

    Coming up to the hour mark. Time for subs.

  44. RockyLives says:

    Sloppy passing is costing us dearly.

  45. RC78 says:

    I feel like Xhaka is our best player on the pitch. Can that be true?

  46. fatgingergooner says:

    I’m going to say it……Fantastic defending from Xhaka.

  47. RC78 says:

    Why is Bellerin defending on Benteke on corners?

  48. RockyLives says:

    It’s a club policy RC – we always put Hector on the biggest opposition player.

  49. RC78 says:

    Let us have a goal from Holding now…

  50. Rasp says:

    ESR’s close control is excellent

  51. LBG says:

    What’s missing?
    A crowd, a forward pass from Bellerin, Mari, anything positive from Aubang, or Pepe, ENERGY.

  52. fatgingergooner says:

    One of them games. Another clean sheet though. Can’t moan at the effort.

  53. LB says:

    Can we moan a little bit?

  54. RockyLives says:

    Disappointing, but this is still not the impotent, under-confident team of a few weeks ago.

    How important is KT!

  55. RC78 says:

    Lacklustre today…missing that extra bit of energy as LBG mentioned.

    Leno – 6
    Bellerin – 5
    Holding – 7
    Luiz – 6
    AMN – 5.5
    Xhaka – 7.5
    Ceba – 6
    Saka – 6.5
    ESR – 6
    Auba – 6
    Laca – 6

    Not our best showing but

  56. fatgingergooner says:

    The big players no longer mark the big players on set pieces. The idea is that the smaller players block runs, leaving the big players to head away.

  57. RC78 says:

    KT was clearly missing. He just adds that threat on the left. But Bellerin was very poor going forward today

  58. Sue says:

    I’m a tad frustrated….

  59. Gööner In Exile says:

    Its those kind of games against experienced opposition we will struggle. It’s where the likes of Saka,ESR, AMN need experienced heads who can help the get the most out of a game like that.

    I don’t think we have anyone like that in the squad.

    Its easy to say we missed Tierney but that has to ask a lot of questions of other players on pitch tonight if we are really relying on a left back to make us tick, also has to ask the question was it wide to let Kola go.

    I think to me it demonstrates that we are carrying too many players through games, and we are putting a lot on young shoulders.

    Best players tonight….Leno one important match saving save from Bentekes header. Holding. Xhaka.

    ESR struggled to get in the game, as did Saka because they didn’t get service. Hector did what he does.

    Luiz and Ceballios both seem to want to do the same thing and it slowed our game down tonight when in possession, shouldn’t be anywhere near first XI.

    AMN was exposed in a traditional 4 his best performances on the left came when we played three at the back. But with PEA in front of him was always going to be tough.

    PEA was anonymous again. Pepe frustrating again.

  60. RC78 says:

    I thought Ceba started the game well but then faded away.

    ESR and Saka – need a break, clearly. Shame Martinelli was not available.

    And it seems our full-back conundrum discussions are clearly at display today with Bellerin being “OK” and KT not having a good subsitute despite all the efforts undertaken by AMN.

    I would not be surprised to see Arteta go after Full-Backs this summer. Let us see.

  61. RC78 says:

    Aubameyang’s form is worrying

  62. Gööner In Exile says:

    RC you are right Ceballios did start full of energy and he did want to get on the ball, but for me it’s the way he plays, he seems to want to play a killer pass on the first go rather than a bit of push and run football. He takes an awful lot of touches before moving the ball and while he is doing that looking for the pass the opposition have time to get back and set.

    The fact that Luiz is very similar led to us being slowed down to pedestrian pace again.

  63. RockyLives says:

    New Post

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