the three letters tar inside a cannon
article banner
RunReissRun avatar

RunReissRun

Using data to 'outsmart the market' and find Arsenal a partner for Thomas Partey

Thomas Partey is an important player in Arsenal's future.With Granit Xhaka's impending departure to AS Roma, I take a look at players Arsenal can sign to replace him using data searches and help compliment Partey.Requirements for the partner:Arsenal need to replace Granit Xhaka, Thomas Partey’s midfield partner and there are specific requirements that are needed to be met.
He has to be good at playing in a 2 and 3 man midfield, as a #6/8 who’s good in defense & in transition, whilst already being a solid passer.
They need to be ~6ft+ in height (unless it’s compensated by other features,) as having a midfield pairing/3 with good height would make it harder for PL teams to run through the side when they’re on the backfoot.What parameters have been set for this search?80%+ Passing Accuracy.50%+ Successful Dribbles.55%+ Tackles Won.5+ Ball Recoveries per 90.60%+ Challenges in defence on per 90.5+ Ball Interceptions per 90.Advert InsertedPlayer suggestions:Aurelien Tchouameni
- Monaco’s Tchouameni is the first suggestion by the data, the 21 year old is comfortable at playing as a left sided 6 in a 4-4-2 & a 4-2-3-1 with the potential of playing at the base of a 4-3-3 under the right setup.He's a good passer, physically imposing, he can cover ground well without breaking a sweat. His ball control & his intensity is to be questioned, especially as he'll be partnering Thomas Partey who has similar intensity issues.
Martin Ellingsen: Molde's Martin Ellingsen has mainly played in the 2 of a 4-2-3-1 for the club, the 26 year old is on paper, a like for like replacement for Granit Xhaka in terms of his profile (a left footed, high volume passer with tendencies to play it long.)
From initial viewing, Ellingsen is a defensively astute midfielder who isn't bound to any specific side, he can venture well into attacking positions where he's able to play a decent final pass or even score if the opportunity allows him to. I have issues with his intensity as ideally, the midfield partner to Thomas Partey has to be able to cover for him & any stray attacker when the chance is there for them to do so.Ladislav Krejci: - Krejci of Sparta Prague is someone I'm personally interested by. He's a left footed central midfielder who's also 6'1, he's able to complete 40-60+ passes per game whilst contesting for many duels whilst winning most of them. He's either played as a LCM or a LCB for his club in the EL, with his best performances coming from games where he's behind the ball or given more space to work on the ball (akin to Granit Xhaka.) It makes sense to look at him if Arsenal want a cheaper & younger Granit Xhaka in their ranks, who's more desirable in profile with similar progression to the player on the cards.Mahdi Camara: Saint-Etienne's Camara is another player that appears on the search. The 23 year old French international plays as a CM in ASSE's 3-4-1-2 & he has filled in as a RB in ASSE's 4-4-2.
He can cover ground well, & contest for duels whilst being the physical underdog in those situations, he stops opposing players from going past him effectively by limiting the amount of space they can run into, but his passing is where I'm not convinced. He isn't able to launch attacks on his own & relies on ball progression as his means of getting the ball to the attack rather than playing the ball where it needs to be.Lucas Torro: Osasuna's Lucas Torro is an experienced option for Arsenal to look at bringing in, even if his deficiencies make him an unappealing player to look into signing. He is tasked with the lone 6 role in a 3-5-2 or as a 6 in a 4-1-4-1, so having someone with that experience will allow Arsenal to play a high risk 4-1-4-1/4-3-3 formation if they see the need.
He's a strong defender, he can carry the ball somewhat well & he is a combative DM that looks to win every ball that comes his way. That being said, his passing is a massive worry. He doesn't complete a high amount of passes per game, which gives off the impression that he's a lower league DM, someone that only fits an underdog team but not a better one.Player suggestions ranked:3 - Ladislav Krejci: Sparta Prague's Krejci is third on this list because of his versatility, profile & his similarity to Granit Xhaka. He has strong European experience & his defensive-minded nature makes him a strong choice to play in both a 4-3-3 & in a 4-2-3-1.2 - Martin Ellingsen: Molde's Martin Ellingsen is second on this list for similar reasons to Krejci but as he can also play ahead of the ball if needed (instead of solely playing behind,) it makes him a worthy Thomas Partey partner. Not only is Ellingsen a high-volume passer, but he is also someone who can do plenty of defensive work whilst venturing into the final third - a chaotic game state suits him.1 -
Aurelien Tchouameni: Monaco's Tchouameni is the best name on the list, he offers everything Granit Xhaka does, whilst being more tactically fluid (able to play as a lone 6 with the right training,) he plays for a strong Monaco side in an already well regimented setup which works in his favour as Arsenal are missing a CM that can dominate whilst under a restriction.
4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1?Both formations have their upsides & downsides. A 4-3-3 may limit the amount of goals you have if you're Arsenal but it will allow for more fluidity which is better in the long run.
The 4-2-3-1 will allow for a more compact CB-CM pairing & give the wide players more of a license to attack.If Arsenal went for any of those 3 midfielders, a short term 4-2-3-1 with any of them partnering Thomas Partey is the way forward for them, with a gradual switch to a 4-3-3 overtime depending on players that will join the club & the wingers becoming increasingly more reliable as goalscorers on their own.Last Thoughts:Out of the named players, only Aurelien Tchouameni stands a chance at being recruited by Arsenal because of his quality & somewhat decent pricetag (that is if Chelsea do not sign him first,) but Ellingsen & Krejci are good backup options to have in the LCM/DM role if Arteta goes down that route.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.