Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta baffled talkSPORT pundit Danny Murphy with one decision relating to Thomas Partey during the Gunners’ win away to Crystal Palace on Monday.
The Emirates Stadium outfit kept pace with Premier League title rivals Manchester City with a 1-0 win at Selhurst Park. Captain Martin Odegaard maintained Arsenal’s unbeaten start to the season with a 54th-minute penalty, despite Takehiro Tomiyasu later receiving a red card.
Referee David Coote reduced Arteta’s team to 10 men only 14 minutes after Odegaard sent Sam Johnstone the wrong way. He adjudged Tomiyasu to have wasted time with a throw-in before fouling Jordan Ayew. Even though Ayew was fortunate to still be on the field himself.
Arteta baffled Murphy with the Arsenal boss’ usage of Partey at Crystal Palace
Arsenal, Manchester City and Brighton & Hove Albion are now the only teams with a perfect Premier League record. They have each won their first two games in the 2023/24 campaign. The Gunners sit third in the table via goal difference, while the Seagulls lead the early table.
The north Londoners edged Nottingham Forest 2-1 at Emirates Stadium in their opening win before winning 1-0 at Selhurst Park. Arteta has started Partey at right-back in Arsenal’s two matches so far this term, as well. But Murphy cannot fathom why the Spaniard has done so.
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“I’m not sure on the benefit of having Partey in there, to be honest,” Murphy told talkSPORT. He added: “I don’t really understand why they’re doing it in this particular game [at Palace] because they should be dominating possession and on top of them, so you want width.
“You need to stretch Roy’s teams, Palace’s teams [as] they generally have numbers in the middle. You need to get out wide [and] create some two-on-ones. Ben White isn’t going to get out here as much coming from a centre-back position.”
Why is Arteta playing Partey as a right-back this season?
Arteta made the shock decision to drop Gabriel Magalhaes from Arsenal’s starting line-up at home to Nottingham Forest. The Spaniard did so to start Ben White as a centre-back next to William Saliba. While Partey switched to right-back with Declan Rice anchoring the midfield.
Partey was not flawless against Forest but distributed the ball well and broke up some of the Reds’ attacks. The Gunners controlling possession for most of their win helped the Ghanaian in the position, as well. But Anthony Elanga did easily escape Partey to assist Taiwo Awoniyi.
Arteta, to Murphy’s bewilderment, stuck with Partey at right-back as Arsenal visited Crystal Palace, though. This time, the 30-year-old nearly gave away a penalty when Eberechi Eze hit the deck. But he aided the Gunners’ midfield when in possession and mostly controlled Eze.