Monday, May 20, 2024

Xhaka: Partey brings an ability to struggle

Thomas Partey’s experience at Atletico Madrid will bring an ability to ‘struggle’ against the best sides in England, says Granit Xhaka.

The Switzerland international also believes Mikel Arteta’s new €50 million signing will bring a balance to Arsenal’s midfield that has been missing in recent seasons.

Partey made his debut in the closing stages of Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester City – replacing Xhaka – and is expected to feature again tomorrow when the Gunners take on Rapid Vienna in our first Europa League group stage game of the season.

“He will be the guy who is very, very important for me and as well for the team,” Xhaka told Arsenal Digital.

“Everyone in the club can be happy about the player we took because he has great quality.

“He will bring a lot of good mentality, a good balance in our game because this is what we need a bit more: the mentality to win.

“He played at Atletico Madrid, a different type of football – maybe [the ability] to struggle a bit more against teams like City and Liverpool because they have these qualities as well – but, yeah – and he will bring a lot of good quality and mentality.”

It’ll be curious to see whether Arteta opts to use Partey as a regular partner for Xhaka or if he sees the Ghanaian a replacement to partner Mo Elneny or Dani Ceballos. In the coming weeks, we may see the boss experiment a bit.

It’s very early days so far, but we have noticed that Xhaka’s game time has been reduced ever so slightly this season. Last year, he averaged nearly 84 minutes on the pitch per appearance (3,433 minutes across 41 games), whereas this season, excluding the Community Shield, he’s averaging just under 69 minutes a game (411 mins across 6 games).

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Struggle against the big teams? Not what we really want (or what he was intending to say I hope).

Let’s hope means a fighter.


We are pretty talented in the ability to struggle against big teams.


huh? I think he obviously means struggle in the sense of resistance and fighting


I know what Xhaka means but “Struggle” isn’t the best word here haha. I assume it’s a language thing

Johnny 4 Hats

Struggle – a forceful or violent effort to get free of restraint or resist attack.

I’d say it’s a pretty appropriate word.


The struggle to free myself from restraints becomes my very shackles.


hahaha this made me lol


The Swiss with the better vocab than the English speakers, as usual haha


The ability to struggle is something we’ve managed quite well without Partey actually.


I for example struggle to watch our “atacking” these days and I really hope adding Partey will give us the defensive foundation to do that better.


Hopefully Partey can free up Xhaka to be more adventurous.

Johnny 4 Hats

Given that previous managers have sooner played Torreira as a number 10 than Xhaka, I feel like he isn’t going to get freed up anytime soon. I’d sooner see Xhaka a little further forward than Partey but with Ceballos, Saka or Willian being a ball carrying, creative midfielder. Especially when we’re at home and need to be aggressive.

I just don’t think Xhaka has the mobility or the skill to play any further up the field than he already does.


The plan would be to use Xhaka like a Jorginho, with Partey being the box-to-box midfielder as Partey possesses the nous and the ability to receive the ball from the keeper if need be, dropping deep. (Something Chelsea have tried with Kante, whose major weakness is wriggling out of tight spaces and hence the struggles associated). We have tried Xhaka to receive the ball from the keeper and he has a lack of awareness around him and always seems to need that extra second. I, for one, think Partey will cope well and this would free up Ceballos to do… Read more »

Johnny 4 Hats

Hopefully we can drill them well enough so that both can make forages forward without getting caught out.

I too am so so keen to see Saka at ACM but I fear, a lot like Auba at CF, it may never happen for reasons we never quite understand. Arteta seems far keener to play him at wingback. But hopefully that’s just to aid in his development as he is so much more than just that. Mind you, try telling that to Liverpool and Trent Alexander Arnold.

tendayi makombe

You have hit the nail on the head

carl shadbolt

we need to change formation from 3 4 3 to 4 3 3 with Partey Xhaka and ceballos in a 3 in the middle of the park ! letting ceballos be the play maker !! this 3 4 3 is far to defensive and kills our ability to attack !! we have full backs Tierney and Bellerin that should be playing as full backs we have center backs in Luiz Gabriel Musafi Holding for me 4 3 3 is a good defensive formation and stops teams from goign wide and makes them come through the middle and with Xhaka Partey… Read more »


You completely summed up my thoughts on Xhaka and Saka. I think Xhaka has a definitely role in these tough tussles against big teams that control possession, but which we aim to slow their tempo. Xhaka (apart from being lazy on the City goal) was good in this role against City. Partey alongside him as a double pivot in such games will benefit both players and Partey’s ability to drive the ball forward could help us generate more effective counters in these games. But where I think and hope we move away from Xhaka and Partey becomes his replacement, is… Read more »


Yup, agreed and that’s something that Arteta must definitely be contemplating.
I wouldn’t be surprised if we do this against the so-called smaller teams once Partey is integrated.

And the Xhaka-Partey axis should be well suited for the games against the top-6.
Let’s see but Partey gives us plenty of options and for that reason alone, I am finally very excited for this season.


I think the Leicester game is perfectly suited to this new setup. They will let us control possession and go after us on the break. We need to be ready for that:

vs Vienna (5-3-2)
(get maybe 60mins here for Partey to feel things out then bring on Xhaka):

vs Leicester (4-3-3)

Gunner for life

I agree with you on Saka as AM. I also think Partey should play box-to-box, while Elneny plays in front of the back four or three. For me Elneny is very comfortable with moving the ball from the back.

Gunner for life

I agree with you on Saka as AM. I also think Partey should play box-to-box, while Elneny plays in front of the back four or three. For me Elneny is very comfortable with moving the ball from the back.


Ceballos can do what he can but don’t expect the unimaginable from him when it comes to creativity. He’s no Ozil neither is he Cazorla, Iniesta or Xavi. Please, I would like us to take slow with our expectations.


For me, Ceballos is just a good CM who has one or two tricks within him nothing more for now. I don’t expect too much from him.

Tanned arse

I think ceballos is only limited by the movement around him. If the creative runs are there then so will be the delivery. At the moment he’s playing predominantly in an area of the pitch (the right side) where our full back rarely threatens behind and our attacker mostly stays in basic positions just to recieve and pass back. The more emphasis we put on quicker movement off the ball and a greater willingness to get players forward the more he comes into his element. He can see things and execute but our attacking approach negates his greatest talent. In… Read more »


Not suggesting he plays number 10, just that he could play a bit further up and up his chance creation.

Reality check

You can be adventurous playig from deep. He’s done that quite well this tbf.


Xhaka can’t be more adventurous than the way he is right now at least his recent performance shows that. Can’t be surprised if Partey is the one doing the whole adventure thing while Xhaka is covering up for him.


“Battle” is probably the word he was looking for.


I thinks he means the ability to “dig in”. It’ll be interesting to see how Partey’s introduction impacts playing time for the rest of our players. If he’s used more as a deep-lying, ball-winning midfielder my preferred option would be to see Ceballos further up the pitch paired with Saka or Willian.


With Saka yes, I really don’t want to see Willian on the pitch.

Man Manny

The way you are sounding, it’s like we’ll be trying to get Willian off the books by next summer!


Why not both? Ceballos on the right of a midfield 3, Saka on the left interchanging with Willian at LW. Gets all of our most creative players on the pitch at the same time against teams that sit deep. Against more attacking sides we can drop one of Saka or Willian for Xhaka.

In Arse We Trust

Arsenal is a struggle. Let’s get this Partey started.

Sac, Lac & Craic

Translation error. It was Arteta that first used the term “struggle”. In the translation from spanish ‘Luchar’ to struggle is the same as to fight.

In fact it is sometimes used this way in English, the struggle for equal rights is in fact also a fight.

carl shadbolt

We need Partey Xhaka and Ceballos playing together in a midfield 3 in a 4 3 3 formation !! we have the players now to play it !! we need to start scoring and controlling games in midfield !! 3 4 3 is far to defensive and if we want to be in the top 3 or 4 we need to win games against the top 6 sides !! With Everton and Villa playing like they are the top half is now difficult and if we keep with 3 4 3 we wont make top 8 !!


The boss will do whatever he likes. Who knew that Eddie, Laca and Auba would watch Willian as the number 9?

whatever he chooses I am ok with as long as it brings good results. They are all our players after all

Naked Cygan

“He will bring a lot of good mentality, a good balance in our game because this is what we need a bit more: the mentality to win.”

If we have ANY player that is LACKING the MENTALITY to WIN, please contact Arteta ASAP.


I think he is planning to use Xhaka with Partey more. So saving Xhaka to guide him through the premier League.


OT: I’ve been thinking, what if in some matches Saka is played further forward as a CAM or given a free role to roam our midfield? I think he will be able to channel his creativity more, playing as a LMD just seems to limit his creativity and attacking instincts.


The “struggle” is a Marxist term. Not that we really want those philosophies around our club, since they failed globally everywhere they were implemented.

In fact, one of our most epic failures was Wenger’s attempt to install a socialist wage policy at the club, resulting in kids earning amazing salaries and stars disappearing off to other clubs where their wages were more commensurate.


Thank you, guy who owns a shirt that says savage. Very good and relevant post.

Cultured Determination

What a headline. Xhaka says partey brings an sbility to struggle? Damn.. xhaka has had that ability since day 1. Im still struggling with him being in the team.. .


“You can’t play them all”, a well known phrase used by managers of many riches. I believe Partey will end up replacing Xhaka not playing alongside him. If this was the case then Cebellos would be dropped. Xhaka getting forward worries me as he doesn’t think quick enough. He has decent passing ability but doesn’t have Cebellos’s quickness of feet and vision. He might get a chance to line up besides him if Cebellos is pushed forward and replaces Willian. It’s going to be interesting to see who he picks on Thursday and what system he uses because If I… Read more »


These two need to be played together ASAP. They need to develop a symbiotic relationship in the middle. Elneny is also in the mix with Willock but the main two will be Granit-Partey. They will be the structure to revolve around. If we can go to back 4 more effectively then we can also have Ceballos higher otherwise he is also another with oiption to play along either of Partey or Granit. Partey spoke highly of Granit as one reason he considered coming over. I suspect the combativeness of the Ghanaian will afford granit more time to look up and… Read more »

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