Ian Wright is excited about Arsenal’s new growing midfield partnership between Martin Odegaard and Thomas Partey.
Arsenal did not start their season well after three consecutive defeats that left them languishing towards the bottom of the table. Mikel Arteta’s side have since staged an upturn in form with successive victories over Norwich, Burnley and progressed to the Carabao Cup fourth round after beating AFC Wimbledon in midweek.
Martin Odegaard was rested for the cup tie, although he has proven his worth in the two Premier League wins. Against Burnley, the Norwegian got the winner from a direct free-kick while playing a different role alongside Thomas Partey in central midfield.
With the absence of Granit Xhaka through suspension for those two clashes, Mikel Arteta has experimented with Odegaard-Partey & Alberto Sambi Lokonga- Ainsley Maitland-Niles partnerships, which now gives the manager plenty of different options from now on this season. Both pairings were effective in their way, but Partey has been pivotal since his return.
The Ghanaian has slowly returned to full fitness after an ankle injury suffered in pre-season disrupted his season at the very beginning. Arteta has gradually introduced him into the fold, and Partey is set to assume a crucial role that will likely shape Arsenal’s season.
With Xhaka back from his hiatus, there’s a real problem for Arteta before the North London Derby on Sunday to choose the shape of his midfield. He could introduce the Swiss back into the lineup or keep the same set-up as against Burnley, with Odegaard and Partey at the pivot.
Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright has given his approval over the Partey-Odegaard pivot, suggesting there’s something special that might be brewing in the background.
Wright said, “Partey coming back, Odegaard and Partey in that pivot – there is something beautiful about that, something beautiful about it.”
It remains to be seen if Arteta continues with the partnership for the North London Derby against Tottenham Hotspur or goes with a more conservative option of Xhaka. Either way, the manager will consider such a headache a welcome boost for the side that looked awful in midfield during the opening three games.