Thursday, September 29, 2022

Thomas Partey – Data Viz

Taking a look at what Thomas Partey has to offer in terms of stats/visuals, here’s Jon Ollington – @jonollington

Thomas Partey finally signed for Arsenal after the club activated his £45 million release clause late on deadline day, becoming the most expensive Ghanaian footballer of all time in the process. The complete midfielder combines many of the strengths found individually within Arteta’s current crop of midfielders rolled up into one elite athlete. His arrival will offer a level of protection and physicality arguably missing since the days of Patrick Vieira.

Having started his career at Atlético Madrid in 2013, Thomas spent time away on loan at Mallorca and Almería but returned to Atlético in 2015 where he’s been a permanent first-team fixture ever since, featuring in 30+ games for the past three seasons. The majority of those minutes were played anchoring the midfield, acting as both facilitator and destroyer, but Thomas has also spent time further up the pitch as a box-to-box midfielder, as well as filling in at right-back and right midfield.

The Ghanaian profiles well as a combative midfielder: he stands at around 6′ (1.82m) and boasted a good record in the air last season, winning 66% of all aerial duels and 70% of all encounters contested in front of Diego Simeone’s back-four. Thomas makes on average 2.3 tackles and 1 interception per game, covering the lower and middle thirds from flank to flank in the process, thus providing excellent protection for his back four.

More impressively, the 27-year-old was the only La Liga midfielder to play 1,000+ minutes last season who could boast greater than 84% take-on success, 88% pass accuracy, 65% aerial duels won and 60% total duels won.

As is to be expected from any elite deep-lying midfielder in modern-day football, Thomas Partey impresses in possession and is confident when receiving the ball from his defence. He possesses the tools that enable him to start transitions and connect the defence to attack. 83% of his 1,704 passes played last term successfully found a teammate, while 11% of those passes were progressive and on average covered a total distance of 301.5 yards towards the opponent’s goal per game.

This output was only bettered in Arsenal colours by Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi, both of whom played significantly fewer minutes. Thomas also averaged 6.33 per 90 passes into the final third (top 10%) and made around one key pass per game.

He also truly excels in ball retention and although usually deployed as one of the deeper-positioned players in El Cholo’s squad, Thomas still manages to complete 2.2 dribbles per 90 (top 10%) with an 84.6% success rate. Even when under pressure, he’s able to play out of the opposition’s press, as he consistently looks to move his team forward. He isn’t afraid to pull the trigger from range either – despite it not being central to his role at the Wanda Metropolitano, he contributed 4 goals and an assist across La Liga and the Champions League combined last term.

Thomas Partey has already played for Atletico Madrid 188 times and, having only just turned 27, is at the peak of his powers. It may seem as if he can do it all, although statistically speaking he doesn’t excel at any single aspect of his game. Instead, he is able to pass it like Xhaka, carry it like Ceballos and tackle like Torreira.

In bringing these qualities together in one package, his arrival promises Arsenal a depth of midfield combinations that they have been lacking for a number of years.

Check out the brand new Arsecast discussing the Partey signing and lots more


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Looks like a considerable upgrade on a lot of our Midfield options. SO happy we got Partey! What a player, what a signing!

on a side note, I’d love to know who that guy is out all on his own for tackles plus Interceptions on that dot graph. Man’s a beast.


It’s Ndidi. Hence why Leicester will struggle whenever he’s not playing

Cultured Determination

Not a lot. All.


So exciting and these numbers back up what a dynamic player he is. From the videos I’ve seen what I love most is his burst and ability to beat a man to open things up. I think he’ll fit perfectly with Ceballos too!


He’s clearly a super duper starship trooper – or something like that. An exciting addition to the squad.


This is some really helpful analysis. Looks like a major upgrade for a midfield 2, and a key piece in moving to a midfield 3. Seems like he could play the #6 or the #8 in a 3, depending on who else is on the field

Still feels like we are missing a truly attack-minded midfielder, but with very attack minded fullbacks, that doesn’t have to be a problem (see Liverpool)


Wouldn’t look to them right now. Arteta cracked them open last term and now they are more exposed. Still good points though

Var Will Solve The Problem

I think Arteta will go with Ceballos in the hole and Partey and one of Xhaka/Elneny behind Ceballos. Ceballos showed he can make those through balls if needed. As for me, I would love to see Willian in the hole and Ceballos and Partey behind him, specially if we play against smaller teams like Spurs. It would be such a dynamic midfield. All of the three players are capable of defending and attacking. Our transition will be so fluid. But I expect to see our tried and tested 3 – 4- 3 at least against the bigger teams for now…starting… Read more »


I think, depending on who is on the wings, we are more likely to see Arteta play with two #8’s, rather than a #10. A #10 makes more sense if both wingers cut inside (to control the half spaces) and the fullbacks attack. But, if only one winger cuts inside (or neither do) then the #8’s are there for the half-spaces (or underlapping fullbacks, but that is less common). If one winger cuts in (let’s say Pepe on the right, allowing Bellerin to attack the flank) then the #8 on that side effectively plays as a #10 anyway, but two… Read more »

Var Will Solve The Problem

Your last line sums it up really well ?


#8… Burp. #8…burp. #8… Burp.

Cultured Determination

I’d play gunnersaurus and one of our under 12s against small teams like spurs.


We could still go for Emi Buenos, who is wasting his time in Norwich.

Var Will Solve The Problem

what about this Benrahma fellow at Brentford? Could we play him as an attacking midfielder?


Both class. Emi Buendia is a real talent though and super underrated. i think we could possibly get him at a cheaper rate as Benrahma is on the “radar” right now – justifiably though.


We’ve needed someone like him for years. Glad we have finally found him.


He’s not the messiah, he’s a very partey boy!

Johnny 4 Hats

Another fun piece of data – Player most used in the formation of lazy puns and pithy headlines…


I prefer our ‘Thomas the tank engine’

Johnny 4 Hats

Partey McFly?


Not sure if all this comparing him to Viera is a bit lazy or not too. But then again… Crash bang wallop what a signing! Time to Partey like it’s 1999.


I thought we bought Vieira in 1996 ?


Thanks for the visuals.
Easy to ascertain Partey’s presence on-pitch.

Also easy to see how much better a midfielder he is than those we’ve been playing.
Hazard a guess that his presence will help our other midfielders play at a higher level too.


For sure, his presence in a better structure will help integrate Joe Willock or Smith Rowe, but Partey will be especially good for Dani Ceballos to roam freely. Expecting those two to hit it off early.

Not one, but two Real/Atleti standard CMs in our midfield this year. League looks tougher this year, but now so do we.


From a tactical point of view this is a more than Pragmatic signing we have needed for some time. Whilst Aoaur would have been transformational, Partey still brings a measure of ability we really need to dominate in the middle of the park, something we have been struggling with even despite recent success. We can never hold the ball with enough autghority or have the players to carry it out of congestion and up the vertical ala Viera (through sheer strength) or Santi (Nimble footwork (Or Diaby a combination of both but alas with zero durability) Arguably we have been… Read more »


……………Granit……………………Ceballos………………….. …………………………..Partey…………………………………… …………………………Ceballos…………………………………. ……………Granit……………………..Partey………………….. ……………Ceballos………………..Elneny………………….. …………………………..Partey………………………………….. ………………………….Ceballos……………………………….. …………..Partey……………………..Elneny…………………. Willock and Ozil also available and Willian if need be on right attacking slot with Pepe RW So much more options. Like to see a back 4 with Magalhaes and one of Holding, Luiz or indeed Saliba (in time). Bellerin better as a fullback and Tierney should also be unleashed on equivalent flank. Auba and Laca pick themselves out left and up top respectively …the front 3 also should be more fluid interchanging with Pepe or Willian able to switch with Laca into the middle and vice versa with Auab left and… Read more »

Si in SF

First & last formations seems more likely to me. Depends whether playing further forward is beneficial to xhaka or the opposite. Personally I wouldn’t be surprised to see Partey as LDM, Ceballos as RDM (slightly further ahead, with more license to roam), and xhaka/willian/saka/esr ahead of them.


Atletico fan here. My favourite player gone and Arsenal is heading back to the Champions League. Wins possession in midfield, great passing both short and long-range, plays physical, plays smart when on a yellow card, and will give you a scoring option from distance with his thunderfoot which Simeone did not exploit. Such a great player, a bargain at 50 million euros. I’m getting sad, better stop typing……

Jeremy DG

Sorry mate. We’ll look after him for you:) I’m sure Torreira will do a great job for you as well. Lovely player, just never settled in the uk


Top comment Jeremy, cheers


Don’t be sad. Join us!


Well stats don’t lie if ever there was a doubting Thomas out there


Nice one


The other thing about Partey is we have not had a player that can receive the ball with back to opponents half, turn and engage space behind. Dani Ceballos is developing this and closest but to have Partey also able to do this would be excellent. Elneny to some extent also has improved in this regard but still plays more conservative. Granit by his own accord has improved his reception of the ball with better body positioning but is probably the weakest in this regard with insufficient awareness of what is going on behind to exploit the space. His strength… Read more »


I really hope this will allow mikel to play the 433 more often. Would love to see saka as a number left side 8, kinda like pep is using foden right now.

a 433 could look like this:

Hector Luiz Gabriel Kieran

Dani Saka

Pepe Laca Auba


Nice to have lots of good options now.


I’d happily see Willian in place of Laca and Auba up top, with Saka and Willian playing really interchangeable, dynamic roles in the AM and LW positions – they would provide perfect foil and balance for the direct play of Auba and Pepe. Really excited by the mobility and potentially to take back the middle of the pitch with the Partey – Ceballos combo. Ceballos loves coming deep and I think that will allow Partey to push forward with the ball at times. I really hope Ceballos develops into a Carzorla-esque player – he has the mobility, tenacity and workrate… Read more »

Santori Ozil saving Gunnersaurus from extinction… Can Ozil have some role in final season too? I feel he may given better solidity in midfield base with Partey. Ceballos likely going to be key player but no harm with Ozil as an asset as well with a solid base of either Granit-Partey or Partey-Elneny or even Partey-Ceballos. Willock too to cycle in to add legs and continue development. With Ozil, his off ball work is lacking particularly beyond 40-45minute. BUT on shorter duration he may have a higher impact.He does not need to play full 70-80 minutes, we can use him… Read more »


Excellent read. Arseblog providing the most informative articles as always, love it!


Patey after Party.?


It should be the other way round
Party after Partey (takes us to the ucl)

Dave cee

Well put. It is precisely his ability to bring a high level at basically every aspect of midfield play that makes Partey such a good player. When you look at the rest of our midfield options they are all quite 1 dimensional with flaws in their game which makes them quite easy to nullify or play around. Plus no one is going to bully Thomas. Will be interesting to see who his preferred partner will be ( I have a sneaky feeling it could be Mo )


Exactly. There may be other players better at each individual quality, but he’s good at everything, weak at nothing. That makes him a special player and “elite”.


Personally feel he plays a crucial role in our midfield. Ball retention, aerial prowess and intercepting play are truly missed in our game. Something that torriera brought but he lack dominance in the area. I truly believe Partey will unlock the creativity upfront for our wings and forward s.. A solid solid addition

Cultured Determination

Guys i finally figured out why we signed him on dateline day. We’d have to start paying his wages earlier if we had signed him earlier. Damn…

Good point

Joshua Smart Olufemi

what’s the name of the graph you used for this viz?


We don’t know what happened behind the scenes but I wish that the club do not give up on Guendouzi. Kid’s 21, FFS and, if you all remember, was a passing savant during the early days of Emery’s reign. Once he matures, both intellectually and physically, he should provide all the attacking passing needed from our midfield.

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