David Seaman has now questioned why Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta is playing Thomas Partey as a right-back in the Premier League over the Ghanaian’s natural midfield role.

The Emirates Stadium natives have started the 2023/24 season with two wins and a draw so far. But Arsenal have not looked entirely convincing in either of their opening fixtures. Arteta also saw his side squander a 2-1 lead at home to 10-man Fulham on Saturday and draw 2-2.

Nottingham Forest nearly overturned a two-goal deficit in north London on the opening day, as well. Arsenal had a comfortable lead through first-half goals by Eddie Nketiah and Bukayo Saka. Yet Taiwo Awoniyi set up a nervy end after beating Aaron Ramsdale in the later stages.

Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey during Premier League game vs Nottingham Forest
Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

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Arsenal have not been convincing with Partey at right-back

Arsenal had to dig in deep to see out their 1-0 win at Crystal Palace, too, following Takehiro Tomiyasu’s red card. The Gunners defended well as the Eagles applied greater pressure. Yet they left south London feeling somewhat relieved that Roy Hodgson’s side had failed to net.

Fulham – who have still never won away to Arsenal – stole an early lead at Emirates Stadium last Saturday, too. Andreas Pereira intercepted Saka’s pass and finessed home after catching Ramsdale out of position. And even after falling 2-1 behind, the Cottagers managed to reply.

Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey during Premier League game vs Crystal Palace
Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

One common denominator across the Nottingham Forest and Fulham games is that Arsenal conceded goals from where Partey has started. Anthony Elanga spun in behind the 30-year-old to assist Awoniyi’s goal. While Partey had drifted into midfield to leave space for Pereira.

Seaman cannot wrap his head around Arteta’s decision

Saka passed straight into the space that Partey exited as if the winger expected the 45-cap Ghana anchor to stay. Arteta also replaced Partey in the 56th minute to introduce Oleksandr Zinchenko and change Arsenal’s shape. He kept the 6ft rock on through their earlier fixtures.

Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey before Premier League game vs Fulham
Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Arteta sticking with Partey at right-back across Arsenal’s three Premier League games so far this season has also bewildered Seaman. The ex-England goalkeeper cannot fathom why he persists with Partey playing as a full-back having seldom shown much defensive awareness.

“It just feels awkward for me,” the Arsenal legend said on his Seaman Says podcast. “For me, he’s a better player in midfield.”

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