Arsenal legends Michael Thomas, Liam Brady, Lee Dixon and Alan Smith pick between Thomas Partey and Houssem Aouar

first_imgAouar is also on the wishlist at Arsenal (Picture: Getty Images)If Arsenal had to choose just one of their midfield targets, though, several club heroes, including Michael Thomas, Liam Brady, Lee Dixon and Alan Smith, suggested Partey may be the better option to suit their needs.‘It is the area of the team they have to sort out,’ Thomas told The Athletic.‘Having someone to sit just in front of the defence and run the show. A Patrick Vieira or Emmanuel Petit, who can dominate and then move the ball forward towards those who can do the damage.‘A midfield player like Fernandinho who can sense danger quickly, pass the ball and pass on information.’More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing ArsenalArsenal’s former midfield genius Liam Brady also agreed with 1989 league title hero Thomas in choosing Partey over Aouar.‘Of the two touted around this summer, I would say Partey’s profile is a more important fit,’ Brady added.‘Arsenal need to strengthen that defensive area in front of the back four. Xhaka has done very well under Arteta’s management and has knuckled down and is making fewer mistakes but if we are going to challenge for the top four a more imposing and reliable player is needed.‘Further forward we can improvise with what we’ve got. Bukayo Saka could move inside, Alexandre Lacazette can drop deep and Willian has played in behind the striker before. Arteta’s formula is working for us so I would go for the more defensive player.’ Comment Metro Sport ReporterFriday 25 Sep 2020 8:43 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link5.2kShares Arsenal legends Michael Thomas, Liam Brady, Lee Dixon and Alan Smith pick between Thomas Partey and Houssem Aouar Liverpool v Arsenal: Mikel Arteta press conferenceTo view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video Play VideoLoaded: 0%0:00Progress: 0%PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration Time 13:41FullscreenLiverpool v Arsenal: Mikel Arteta press conference is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.Four-time league winner with Arsenal, Lee Dixon, acknowledged his former side’s need for creativity in midfield, but prioritised defence by also picking Partey.‘This is such a difficult one,’ Dixon said. ‘I could quite easily go either way. Arsenal are short of creativity in midfield and the hardest thing in football is to create. If Aubameyang doesn’t do his stuff it is limited in terms of forward play. Part of me wonders if we can just patch things up at the back and have someone to open up doors.AdvertisementAdvertisement‘However… because of what I represent I can’t get ‘1-0 to the Arsenal’ out my head. I will go defensive and go Partey. Arsenal have not fixed the back four. I do like Gabriel but he needs time.’More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing ArsenalFormer Arsenal striker Smith also admitted that Partey is the more ‘practical choice’ for the Gunners, despite Aouar’s ability to open up defences.‘I covered Lyon in the Champions League and saw Aouar,’ Smith said. ‘Without Ozil, Arsenal do lack that kind of player, someone who runs from deep. They don’t really have a lock opener.‘Oh God, I don’t know! On an average day, Arsenal might struggle to score goals but they do have enough players who can pop up, so maybe Partey is the more practical choice to really give them that solidity as a screening player.‘Arsenal are on the way to becoming more solid but there is a way to go still. If he came over and did a good job that would go down a treat.’MORE: Ray Parlour explains why Arsenal should attempt to sign Dele Alli over JorginhoMORE: Laurent Koscielny finally apologises to Arsenal fans following controversial exitFollow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and InstagramFor more stories like this, check our sport pagecenter_img Advertisement Partey has been consistently linked with a move to the Gunners (Picture: Getty Images)Multiple Arsenal legends have given their take on who the Gunners should sign out of their two main midfield transfer targets, Thomas Partey and Houssem Aouar.Mikel Arteta is in the market for a central midfielder this summer, and the north London club have seemingly whittled down their search to two primary options, who both offer completely different skillsets.Partey is a combative player, who can boss games from the middle of the park with his athleticism and smart passing from a deep position.Atletico Madrid want no less than his £45 million release clause paid out in full if he is to be prized away from the Wanda Metropolitano, while the Ghana international is reportedly keen on a move to north London.AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENTAouar, meanwhile, is a tricky technician who introduced himself on the biggest stage in last season’s Champions League as Lyon reached the semi-finals of Europe’s premier competition.Recent reports in France claim the midfielder has ‘agreed’ to join Arsenal and an official bid has been launched for the 22-year-old. 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O’Neill takes positives from Malta draw

first_imgNorthern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill hopes the benefits of his Malta experiment will be seen when his side meet Russia in next month’s World Cup qualifier in Belfast. Press Association O’Neill had hoped to end his winless run as manager in Wednesday night’s friendly, but instead chalked up a fifth draw from eight matches in a scoreless stalemate at Ta’qali National Stadium. It was a frustrating night for Northern Ireland, who are without a win in 18 months, but O’Neill hopes the experience will benefit his young players in the serious tests to come. Alex Bruce and Billy McKay won first caps while Walsall’s Will Grigg made his second appearance as a lone striker. “You have to take positives,” said O’Neill. “William Grigg’s played his second game, Billy McKay came in, Shane Ferguson’s now got seven caps, Daniel Lafferty got his third cap, so there’s a lot of inexperience in that side.” center_img O’Neill went on: “They’ll be better for this experience. As I said to the younger lads in there, Aaron Hughes has got 85 caps but by his own admission he didn’t play well in every one. That’s something that younger players have to go through. “They have to come through nights like that. It can be difficult for young players when you play senior international football and you come with the aspirations to always do well. At times the game doesn’t allow that.” Grigg was surprisingly chosen to start the game ahead of Scottish Premier League top scorer McKay and in-form Aberdeen frontman Josh Magennis. They both came on in the second half but Tranmere’s Adam McGurk, who had hoped to join the debutants, was left on the bench. Explaining his selection, O’Neill said: “We had one eye on the Russia game. We played with Steven (Davis) further forward similar to how we would envisage being set up against Russia in Belfast, particularly in relation to how we set up against them in Moscow. “Grigg’s got a bit more physical presence than the other two lads, but I thought Billy looked lively when he came on and gave me something to think about for the Russia game. The reality is we probably won’t control the level of the game against Russia in the same way, so it’s going to be a totally different kind of game. “It gives me an indication of where the younger players are at. You would maybe like to give them a little bit more time before asking them to step up into a game like that. But the reality of the situation is they won’t get that time.” Russia visit Belfast on March 22 with Israel following four days later and, with only three points from four games so far, the two games will make or break Northern Ireland’s slim hopes of qualifying for the World Cup finals in Brazil next year. last_img read more