Thursday, February 2, 2023

Arsenal told they have their own Claude Makelele as Mikel Arteta faces Jorginho dilemma

Mikel Arteta tweaked Arsenal’s midfield setup at the start of the season with Thomas Partey acting as a lone holding midfielder. The Ghana international has proved to be one of the best players in the team this term but there are concerns that if he was to be injured it could derail the Gunners’ title charge.

Arteta wanted to add a new midfielder to his squad back in the summer when both Partey and Mohamed Elneny were injured heading into September. A deal for Douglas Luiz from Aston Villa failed to go through but the Ghanaian was back fully fit in just a matter of days, easing the impact on Arteta’s squad.

Elneny is now set to miss a significant amount of time through injury again which saw Arsenal sign Jorginho in a £12million deal from Chelsea. Partey is a completely different player to the Italian midfielder but should the 29-year-old suffer an injury, at least Arteta has capable replacement to call upon.

Speaking to Genting Casino, former Arsenal star William Gallas has compared Partey to Chelsea legend Claude Makelele and believes the Gunners are not to the same team without the Ghanaian midfielder in the side. Gallas said: “I think Thomas Partey is a really important player for Arsenal and Arteta’s system.

“He sits just in front of the defenders, but what I like about him is his overall game. He doesn’t just defend, he attacks too.

“Technically, he is a really good player and I think he is a player that may not be spoken about as much as some of Arsenal’s creative players like Odegaard, who has been magnificent for Arsenal this season. But, without him [Partey] Arsenal are not the same team.

“Football has changed since I played in the Premier League. Now, even the so called smaller clubs approach games looking to win them, they are not afraid to play anymore. If you don’t have a guy doing Partey’s job in the team, sitting in front of the defence, it can be very difficult for your defenders.

“When I played with Chelsea, we had Makelele. He was such an important player for Chelsea. He wasn’t spoken about a lot, he didn’t have the spotlight, but he was very important for the balance of the team.”

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