Wright names Arsenal XI in wake of ‘progressive’ Partey signing

Date published: Friday 16th October 2020 12:21

There's no place for Dani Ceballos or Nicolas Pepe in Wright's preferred Arsenal starting lineup.

Ian Wright has named his ideal Arsenal starting XI following the summer signing of Thomas Partey.

The Gunners landed Partey on deadline day in a £45million deal that left Atletico Madrid less than impressed.

The Ghanaian represents a significant coup for Arsenal. He was said to be keen to play Champions League football but was in the end persuaded by Mikel Arteta’s project at the Emirates.

READ MORE: Why Partey is not the ‘modern-day Vieira’ at Arsenal

The midfielder is expected to be a key part of Arsenal’s midfield this season and Wright has revealed his excitement at the signing.

Speaking on The Kelly and Wrighty Show, he said: “I think when you look at the Thomas Partey signing, it’s the kind of signing where that’s who we wanted.

“We’re not talking about a midfielder where people may feel is just a stopper and a destroyer and then pass the ball to the next man. This guy can progress the ball.

“And the problem that Arsenal have had is that, as well as Dani Ceballos can play on the ball and as well as [Granit] Xhaka produces nice passes, they don’t progress it. And that’s what Thomas Partey will do.

“He’ll get the ball into nice areas, he can run with the ball and pass the ball and hopefully he can activate the right-hand side just as much as Arsenal’s left-hand side.

“What Mikel Arteta wants to do – and, yes, they do play to play counter-attacking because at the end of the day we have to stay deep because we’ve got the pace up front to hurt teams – but now you get a midfielder where we can say: ‘If we win it, we can be a little more constructive’.

“Because you can’t have a player like Aubameyang scoring two goals in one game and then in another game he’s totally isolated.

“So you’ve got a midfielder now who can, alongside someone like Willian and hopefully [Nicolas] Pepe will continue to get better, people who can create further forward up the pitch.

“The thing with him having to play at Atletico Madrid is that, yes, he’s had to play a different kind of way but I think he was actually suppressed at Atletico Madrid because of the kind of midfielder he is.

“I think people may feel he’s a different kind of player and that’s why they might think he’s just one of those destroyers.

“He’s totally the opposite and that’s what I’m excited to see from him.”


Wright went on to name his preferred Arsenal XI.

In a 3-4-3 formation, the Arsenal legend selected Granit Xhaka over Dani Ceballos alongside Partey, with Hector Bellerin and Bukayo Saka as the right and left wing-backs.

Kieran Tierney and Gabriel Magalhaes were selected to play either side of David Luiz in defence, while Willian and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were picked on the wings with Alexandre Lacazette down the middle in attack.

Wright added: “I’d love to see this team because I think that starting XI playing at the top of their game, maybe [Nicolas] Pepe could take Willian’s place if he continues his form, but you look at that left side it’s awesome, natural.

“Those three guys there, Xhaka, Saka and [Kieran] Tierney are all left-footed so there’s a natural balance there and Aubameyang coming in off the left.

“You’ve got Willian, Partey will be coming through, Gabriel, with the experience of David Luiz there, Hector Bellerin is playing some of his best football.

“I’m really pleased to see him back to something like we know how good he is and I think [Cedric] Soares is maybe pushing him and that’s a good thing. That, for me, is Arsenal’s strongest team, maybe with Pepe in it.”

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