Darren Bent has shared his views on how the Arsenal midfield contingent should look.

In each of the club’s two Premier League games so far, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has named a midfield trio comprised of Declan Rice, Kai Havertz, and Martin Odegaard in his starting XI. Meanwhile, Thomas Partey has been deployed as a makeshift right-back.

It is unsurprising that Rice and Havertz are being given plenty of minutes at this early stage of the campaign. Arsenal shelled out £105 million and £65 million for the pair, respectively, this summer.

Rice arrived at the Emirates Stadium with a reputation as one of the finest midfielders in the Premier League. Havertz, however, had struggled to consistently impress as a striker for Chelsea, despite his obvious natural talent. Arteta is hoping to coax the best out of the German in this new midfield role.

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For much of last season, Partey was one of the Gunners’ stand out players. The Ghanaian was a reliably solid presence at the base of the midfield. He now finds himself operating as a full-back as a result of this tactical reshuffle. 

Arsenal FC v Nottingham Forest - Premier League
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Midfield conundrum for Arsenal

Despite Arsenal having won both of their Premier League matches so far, they haven’t looked entirely fluent or cohesive. It will take time for the new players to gel and Arteta’s system to click.

According to ex-Tottenham Hotspur striker and pundit Darren Bent, though, the Spanish coach ought to revert to something slightly more familiar. Speaking on TalkSport, Bent said, “Partey, Rice, Odegaard. The midfield three is where the foundation is…That three there is one of the best midfield threes in the Premier League. That’s without question.”

Bent’s suggestion of fielding Rice, Partey, and Odegaard as a midfield three makes a great deal of sense. That collection of players fits together well on paper, as their individual qualities complement one another.

However, Havertz is growing into the role. He showed flashes of quality at Selhurst Park. He presses well, competes aerially, and tends to win his duels. He also offers far more goal threat than Partey or Rice. Given how heavily Arsenal invested in the player, Arteta must also keep faith in him.

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