Smith Rowe vs Partey: Who should start for Arsenal?

By on February 2, 2024

emile smith rowe arsenal

Emile Smith Rowe, or Thomas Partey? Who does Mikel Arteta trust to bring power to his engine room as he strives for Premier League glory? I’m sure you’re wondering why I singled out these two; don’t you worry, I’ll tell you.

It’s apparent that Arsenal’s midfield has not been at its best this season. The midfield trio of Kai Havertz, Martin Odegaard, and Declan Rice, who were thought to be Arteta’s first choice midfield, haven’t worked out so far.

Although Odegaard and Rice are sure starters in Arsenal’s midfield, some are unsure about Havertz’s status in Arsenal’s starting eleven. Though he has displayed flashes of brilliance, he has not been as convincing in the No.8 role. There have been calls for Arteta to reconsider his midfield setup and try another option to play alongside Rice and Odegaard.

Smith Rowe or Partey?

Smith Rowe was among the players who shined during the Arsenal Dubai warm weather training camp, according to reports. Some claimed he gave Arteta every reason to consider giving him a big role going forward. And fortunately, on Tuesday night, the Spaniard hinted that he had started “trusting” Smith Rowe, given that he excelled during the warm weather training camp, by giving him an opportunity to start in the 2-1 win over Forest.

The Hale End graduate was excellent in the game; he was Arsenal’s best player in the first half, and if anything, it signaled that he could be an excellent choice as Arsenal’s LCM going forward. Even after the game, Arteta alluded to it.

“I’m really pleased with Emile. He’s been training really well, really sharp. He went for it; he was free; he was flowing; he was moving; he was participating; his body language was good; he’s just a beautiful footballer to watch,” said Arteta, about his No. 10 as quoted by Charles Watts.

Partey, on the other hand, has been missing the last few months with a thigh injury. The Arsenal midfielder will be hoping to be back soon to play a major part for Arsenal during the second half of the season.

On his day, the Ghana international is the type of midfielder that every coach wishes to have on his team. Notably, this week, even Arteta acknowledged Partey’s importance and why he continues to “need” him in his project.

“He always looks strong and very good. That’s not the issue; it’s that we need him,” said the Arsenal manager about Partey, according to Connor Humm.

“And we need him fit and available because he makes us better.

“We are better when Thomas is in the team.”

Some Arsenal fans believe that when everyone is fit, the strongest Arsenal midfield is a Partey-Rice-Odegaard combination. The three have the experience and technical ability to dominate any midfield.

Partey can play as No. 6; the team will profit from his excellent passing and ball interception. Declan Rice can in turn play as a box-to-box midfielder, allowing him to fully use his technical ability, while Martin Odegaard focuses completely on pulling the strings in attack.

Ultimately, Mikel Arteta and his technical bench will eventually have to sit down and decide which route to take with their midfield.

Should they stick with Smith Rowe and see if he can regain his form with a regular run in the team, or should they give in to pressure and field Partey alongside Rice and Odegaard, a midfield set-up that some regard as their best on paper?