His name is Mylo he said, my wife wouldn’t let him be called Bukayo, he added as I approached the man and his beautiful Beagle pup who I then found out was just 17 weeks old. His Arsenal logo’d top he was wearing gave him away. “What do you think of Thomas Partey at right back” I asked. “Ridiculous” was his swift reply. As his pup continued to mooch about, we talked more about Arsenal and at the end agreed, go back to what served us best last season, Ramsdale, White, Saliba, Gabriel and Zinchenko – especially for this weekend’s fixture against Manchester United.
If I had a pound for every time I’ve read ‘if only we had a midfield pairing similar to that of Vieira and Petit” I’d be living in a beachfront bungalow somewhere in Dorset. Perhaps even next door to old ‘Arry in millionaire row. Thomas Partey and Declan Rice are in my opinion, the closest midfield pairing Arsenal have had since that French dynamic duo yet we’re being deprived of seeing it.
Oleksandr Zinchenko was asked if Thomas Partey is better than Casemiro, he replied:
Listen, I don’t want to say something bad, he’s absolutely a world-class player as well, Casemiro, five Champions Leagues. But for me, if you wanted me to choose one, it would be Partey. I had the debate in my head, who is the best holding midfielder I have ever played with. It was between Fernandinho, Rodri and Partey. It’s a tough one. I watched Fernandinho when he was at Shakhtar and he helped me so much. I love him like an older brother, but Thomas Partey… I don’t know.
When pushed for who is the best, he chose his current teammate and advised Rio Ferdinand to watch him train to see why.
The debate about who is the best in the league could rumble on for years but it’ll never be definitive in my opinion because any player is only as good as what he does for the team he plays for in the moment. How important he is for them which in the case of those Zinchenko talks about, they are crucial. Take a player like Rob Holding who I think we’d all agree, isn’t right for the way Arsenal play but put him in a team which plays a different way, I’m pretty sure he’ll be a great asset. Mesut Ozil was brilliant for Real Madrid, Pepe the same at Lille and for those two examples, hundreds more could follow.
Mikel Arteta has been at Arsenal nearly four years now and under his management, the club has spent around £600 million, yet here we are, playing round pegs in square holes, something which Arsene Wenger was lambasted for doing. Ok, it’s 2023 so it suddenly makes sense? No, not to me either.
So, we drew Brentford in the League Cup at their place on 26th September (TBC). Last season, Mikel Arteta fielded a pretty strong team in both of the domestic cups but with the Champions League group fixtures kicking off this month too, I think we can expect to see more rotation throughout this EFL Cup campaign, assuming we don’t get knocked out at the first stage.
The draw is good for the so called lesser clubs because a number of Premiership clubs have been drawn against each other.
Aston Villa v Everton
Manchester United v Crystal Palace
Brentford v Arsenal
Chelsea v Brighton
Newcastle Utd v Man City
Liverpool v Leicester (tough one for Klopp’s team)
The Champions League draw took place yesterday.
The groups are:
Group A: Bayern Munich, Manchester United, FC Copenhagen, Galatasaray
Group B: Sevilla, Arsenal, PSV Eindhoven, RC Lens
Group C: Napoli, Real Madrid, Braga, Union Berlin
Group D: Benfica, Inter Milan, FC Salzburg, Real Sociedad
Group E: Feyenoord, Atletico Madrid, Lazio, Celtic
Group F: Paris Saint-Germain, Borussia Dortmund, AC Milan, Newcastle Utd
Group G: Manchester City, RB Leipzig, Red Star Belgrade, Young Boys
Group H: Barcelona, FC Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, Royal Antwerp
Champions League fixture dates are as follows:
Matchday 1: 19/20 September 2023
Matchday 2: 3/4 October 2023
Matchday 3: 24/25 October 2023
Matchday 4: 7/8 November 2023
Matchday 5: 28/29 November 2023
Matchday 6: 12/13 December 2023
I imagine Barca, Man City and probably Arsenal too are reasonably happy but the rest of the groups are tough. Fancy Arsenal being lumped in with PSV again. Newcastle’s group is a stinker.
Today is deadline day and I’ve no idea if Arsenal will be signing anyone or not. Pepe, Cedric Tavares and Holding are expected to move, with the latter two seemingly close to a deal with a new club. Tavares a left back, Pepe a goal scorer – if only eh, if only. But as a club, we’ve moved on.
I’ve waffled long enough.