It has become almost very clear in many matches that Arsenal‘s Midfield is suffering an issue in almost every match. One of Arteta’s biggest problems is to find the optimal solution for the central midfield. There is no lack of quality or number of players, it is more of an issue about the compatibility., which partnership has the best balance. Many games have been lost solely due to this problem. Here are the possible candidates who can the solution to Arsenal’s midfield puzzle.
What are the options for the solution to Arsenal’s Midfield Dilemma?
It goes without saying, Thomas Partey has really performed well ever since he arrived following his big-money move this summer from Atletico Madrid. In every game he has played in, he has established his presence well. Most recently, during the Manchester United match, Partey was clearly one of the most influential on the pitch. He was strong in defense and he helped distribute the ball all over as well. Definitely, a solid signing, most likely guaranteed to be a key starter player.
Possible role: Partey’s discipline in midfield makes him the perfect choice for a single CDM in the center of the pitch. This would work best in a 4-3-3, where Partey is the bottom player of a 3-man midfield triangle. However, we have also seen him in a very strong partnership alongside Mohammed Elneny in a 3-4-3 formation, which of course worked out very well in the Man Utd match.
We’ve seen Xhaka in all kinds of form, from playing remarkably well to disastrously bad. In the end, though, he is a very committed player that clearly wants to improve. Also, being a left-footed player, Xhaka provides the tactical variety nobody else in Arsenal’s central midfield can offer. Overall, a great asset to the team, if not on the starter squad, he deserves a spot at least on the bench for what he has done for the club.
Possible role: Being a left-footed midfielder is very useful, Xhaka is usually deployed into the left-side of midfield, where he can distribute the ball further and build-up plays in midfield. He is known to play more of a defensive role though, staying back during attacks and preventing any counter-attacks from happening. Even if he doesn’t make the starting XI, he should deserve a place on the bench, because tactically, he can change a game.
When the Egyptian returned from loan at Besiktas, you probably wouldn’t have thought he would turn out so well. Notably, the Manchester United game, where he partnered with Partey to dominate the middle of the pitch. He was pressing hard and continuously, straight from the first whistle to the last. That is not a lie at all, he literally chased the ball all the way back, single-handedly, in the 90th minute. The effort and dedication Elneny puts in during that match deserve a huge applause. This man is definitely a player to look out for in future matches.
Possible role: Elneny’s best match so far this season was against Manchester United, where he partnered with Partey in midfield. That partnership was brilliant and Arteta is likely to use that again. However, in other formations, such as the 4-3-3, Elneny would be competing with Partey for the CDM role. Overall, Elneny has shown dedication as well as quality, his primary formation being in a 3-4-3 partnership.
The Spaniard returned to Arsenal once again on a season-long loan from Real Madrid and he has approved to be a useful asset. He brings quality to the creative side of things and he specializes in the distribution sector of midfield. A very useful player to have in general, although it is uncertain he will stay for another season, especially since Arsenal has been in the market for a creative midfielder already.
Possible role: Ceballos is known as being the creative midfielder, always looking to move the ball around. This kind of player is very useful while deciding on tactical changes. He could fit in easily in the right CM slot in a 4-3-3. However, in a 3-4-3, Ceballos tends to roam freely, which leaves gaps in that area. This has caused some issues for Arsenal, specifically the Liverpool match. He created well, but he left space behind him which allowed Liverpool to easily exploit Arsenal’s midfield.
After having put in several quality performances in the UEFA Europa League, Willock may finally get some Premier League playing time. When he is played, you can clearly see that he is hunting for goals, always pushing forward, hungry to get that finishing touch. Of course, he wouldn’t be doing that in a PL game, where the stakes are much higher. However, the desire he shows to create in the final third is lacking in the current Arsenal starting XI. Willock still also has a whole career ahead of him, there is more for him to learn and he will surely get more opportunities in the future.
Possible role: Like Ceballos, Willock also has that creative flair visible in him. If he continues performing during his matches, he will certainly get called up to the PL squad. Willock likes to push up further and seek goal-scoring opportunities, this is very dangerous in a 3-4-3, where gaps in midfield will appear. However, in a 4-3-3, he would have the other 2 midfielders backing him up. Alternatively, Willock could be deployed as a CAM in the center of the pitch. A different style of play to Arteta but it could be successful.
Nowadays, Ozil has become a controversial topic. He refused to take a pay-cut during the pandemic situation which leads him to him being frozen out of the squad. However, maybe, it is almost time to see him back on the pitch again. Besides whatever has happened with him and the controversy in the world of football, we can never forget what he has done for the club. The way in which Ozil moves and links with the team is extraordinary, he is the player holding the team together. I think a lot of players would love to see him in an Arsenal shirt just one last time.
Possible role: Ozil in his prime was a brilliant creative CAM. He was almost always the center of the play. If he were to slot back in, he would probably be played in that role. However, since this is not Arteta’s playstyle, that is unlikely. Ozil could also be useful as an LCM in a 4-3-3 since he is left-footed. Unlike Xhaka, Ozil adds the attacking spirit and so the 2 can alternate depending on how offensive Arsenal want to be.
What is your take on these options as a solution to Arsenal’s Midfield dilemma? Let us know in the comment section below.