Tag Archives: simeone

Welcome to the After-partey

We finally got him.

After what has seemed an age, Arsenal finally confirmed the signing of Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid, for the princely sum of £45m. That amount constitutes his release clause from the La Liga club and had to be paid upfront – no installments or special arrangements that we seem so good at arranging. Nope, Partey is ours wholly and what makes it better is that it seems Atletico had no idea that Partey was leaving until the last minute.

With a release clause in Spain, no discussions have to take place involving the clubs – any interested party can simply contact the organising committee and lodge the correct amount – and hey presto – the release clause is activated, nulling the current contract between player and club.

Lucas Torreira went the other way and will be a fine addition to the Atletico midfield but Partey was very much part of Diego ‘El Cholo’ Simeone’s plans, having selected the Ghanaian midfielder for two of the three games that Atleti have played.

Now we have our man and Arsenal have announced it – in a very stylish way on social media of course, with an RSVP invite to a ‘party’ at 1115pm on transfer deadline day – what do we know about Thomas Partey?

BARCELONA, SPAIN – March 01: Thomas Partey #5 of Atletico Madrid in action during the Espanyol V Atletico Madrid, La Liga regular season match at RCDE Stadium on March 1st 2020 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Aside from being the name most fans will have on the backs of their shirts – who can blame them – Partey is 27 years old (until he is 28) and predominantly plays in the heart of midfield. He has a tag of being a DM and while his skillset lends itself to the defensive, dirty work, Partey is far more than a sentry in front of the back four or three.

Partey is known for his driving runs through midfield, carrying the ball and  initiating attacks from deep. He has an Exocet of a shot and is probably one of the best candidates Arteta could have selected to link our team together. With Ceballos and Xhaka, we have certain roles already fulfilled but we never had that player to inject tempo into our game, someone who takes the ball, regardless of who has it – and says to the team ‘let’s go do some damage.’

Looking at his stats, he was played in a deep role by Simeone and last season, that helped Atleti keep 17 clean sheets from 29 games when Partey started (excuse the pun). That highlights how effective Partey can be in cleaning things up, but for Ghana, he is used in a far more attacking way. He has earned 11 goal involvements in 26 games for his country and this shows the capacity that Thomas Partey has. He can be utilised in a myriad of ways, or he can be the DM we need, but with a spin. He can carry us forward , giving counter attacks more power and options instead of relying on a quick release from either David Luiz or Xhaka.

It also gives Xhaka and Ceballos more license. With Partey helping at both ends of the pitch, both of our current midfielders can do what they do best, Ceballos could even take the play maker role should we switch formations.

Partey is versatile  – he can also play at right back – and all Spanish pundits purred about how good this player is. He is also very physically adept, meaning acclimatising to the rigours of the PL will not be a huge jump. We may see the Partey started sooner rather than later.

Arsenal may well have that player that makes everything else click into place. It’s exciting times – let’s get that party underway.

Atletico Madrid Vs Arsenal Europa Lge Semi 2nd Leg

So, our season hinges on this match. Our 2nd leg of our Europa League Semi-Final versus Atletico Madrid is the biggest game of our season, and we’ve got an almighty task ahead of us.

Atletico Madrid Vs Arsenal in the 2nd leg of the Europa League Semi Final.

The Spanish side have settled into their new home – the Wanda Metropolitana – and their defensive record is up there with the best in the business. They have conceded only four goals at home all season in La Liga – a stat that has been bandied around by everyone attempting to paint a picture of how difficult it will be for us to progress to the final.

A first european final since 2006, and a much needed salve on a campaign that has barely even flattered to deceive. Our Premier League hopes were never really lifted, and with just three games left in the season, we face a fight with Burnley for the ignominy of 6th spot.

Hardly form to strike fear into Atletico and their firebrand manager Diego Simeone – but if it weren’t for a foolish mistake at the back, we would have won the first leg. We played with verve and on the front foot, and the fact we are all so disappointed with a 1-1 draw shows that we really turned up and perhaps deserved a little more.

Still, a defensive lapse has been a symptom of our team thus far, and those brain-farts really need to be reined in if we are to harbour any hopes of reaching the Europa League final in Lyon.

In terms of our team, yet again Arsene Wenger opted to rest his Europa League team for our Premier League efforts, well, the majority of them. The lineup that lost to Manchester United on Sunday will be vastly different to who lines up against Atleti tonight, so Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi, Nacho Monreal will come into our defence, and Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette and Danny Welbeck will most likely be included.

That means the impressive showings of Konstandinos Mavropanos and Ainsley Maitland-Niles will likely be on the bench, although if any of them are to be included, then AMN is the likelier of the two to get the nod. Granit Xhaka needs defensive cover and while Aaron Ramsey offers much, when it comes to offering a guardian behind Xhaka, that is not exactly his strong point.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan is one who should make the cut after playing and scoring in the weekend, and the Armenian’s guile will be sorely needed to pierce a formidable Madrid defence.

Diego Godin is the lynchpin of Simeone’s side, but it won’t be the Uruguayan who poses the threat. Antione Griezmann has already showed his ability to score despite living off breadcrumbs for the majority of a game. Diego Costa is also fit and ready to go, and the double act will score goals if we switch off – which means that’s bad news for us.

Saul Niguez is another who can change the game, so we’ll have our hands full. We need to keep it tight at the back, and also score.

What is required is perhaps our best display in quite some years. Think our 5-1 at the San Siro. Our win at the Bernabeu. Our 2-1 win over Barca.

Trouble is, those results happened some time ago. It’s time to make some more memories.

Predicted Lineup – Ospina, Bellerin, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal, Xhaka, Ramsey, Wilshere, Ozil, Mkhitraryan, Lacazette

Predicted Scoreline – 1-0 to The Arsenal

Top 20 Managers to Possibly Replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal?

Originally posted in The Sport Review

The winds of change are blowing at The Emirates. Arsene Wenger, who has been in charge of Arsenal since 1996, has so far refused to confirm where his future may lie after this current season ends in May.

The French manager is under severe scrutiny, after finally being able to assemble a squad capable of challenging for honours in the last few years, he has been unable to recreate the glories of old in the first decade of his tenure. It seems the old magic has been lost.

Wenger also appears to have lost a large chunk of the support in the stands too. Protests and marches have taken place in objection to Wenger continuing in his capacity as manager, and this season has offered no respite.

With the Gunners out of the Champions League places and yet again failing to make the Quarter-Finals of the same competition, speculation has been rife regarding a possible successor to the Arsenal managerial throne.

Many names have been touted, but here are twenty of the best candidates to lead Arsenal out of the doldrums should Wenger abdicate his position:

20 – Luciano Spalletti

Roma Manager

The Italian started his coaching career the hard way, bringing lowly Empoli up two divisions to Serie A. He eventually earned a move to Roma after a successful spell at Udinese, and a Manager of the Year Award was just reward for turning the Roma team around. He has other experience from different leagues after five years with Zenit St Petersburg, but he has since returned to the Stadio Olimpico – and has seen his team produce the only credible challenge to runaway Serie A leaders Juventus.

19 – Rafa Benitez

Newcastle United Manager

The Spaniard, when in charge of Liverpool, always showed Wenger ample respect when their respective teams duelled. Benitez has helmed some of the biggest teams in the game – Valencia, Real Madrid, Liverpool and Chelsea – and he looks like carrying Newcastle straight back into the top flight. Benitez would relish a return to the larger spotlight, and the ideals he shares with Wenger would make him a man that could come in with the minimum of adaptation time.

18 – Pai Dardai

Hertha Berlin Manager

The Hungary-born man may be inexperienced, but he is showing that his tactical acumen is spot on. Having spent over a decade with Hertha in his playing days, upon retiring he took a position as youth coach. Dardai has also taken charge of his country, before taking the reins at Hertha. The team from Berlin under his stewardship have climbed up to fifth place with a moderate squad, and the relatively young Dardai deserves the credit. His firm grasp on the modern game gives him a shout.

17 – Carlo Ancelotti

Bayern Munich Manager

The eyebrow-arching Italian has won it all in the domestic game, and his accumulated experience means he has much to offer. If Arsenal are planning long term, then Ancelotti could provide the perfect two to three year platform for their intended target to bed in. One thing Ancelotti can guarantee is success and making sure his teams are in contention. His short spell at Chelsea means he is accustomed to the pressures of the Premiership too.

16 – Laurent Blanc

PSG Manager

The Frenchman had a glittering playing career, and his managerial career has gotten off to a great start too. At his first club, he led Bordeaux to a Ligue Un and Coupe de la Ligue double. He also led them to a Quarter-Final in the Champions League. He also took charge of his national team, before being offered the lucrative position of Paris Saint Germain boss. He has led the capital-based team to three consecutive titles, as well as five domestic cups. The Frenchman is now a free agent, which would make negotiations a tad easier!

15 – Joachim Low

Germany Manager

The shaggy-haired German coach has led his country to World Cup glory. He was an integral part of the German revolution which began in the early 2000’s which saw all levels of German football adhere to the same playing model. The tactics have worked, and Low continues to lead his country to domination. His team play in the same way as Arsenal, and he would ensure the Arsenal Way is maintained. After so many years in international football, a new challenge would be a tough choice to turn down.

14 – Luis Enrique

Barcelona Manager

Enrique oversaw one of the most successful seasons in Barcelona’s history, when the Catalan club won the treble in 2014-15. They also won the Double in the next season. He recently announced he would be departing Barcelona at the end of this current season, which appears to be perfect timing. enrique has maintained he needs a rest from the pressures of being a manager, but could he be tempted to come to London?

13 – Dennis Bergkamp

Assistant Manager of Ajax

As a player, Bergkamp is heralded by Arsenal fans as perhaps the greatest man to have pulled on the shirt in recent times. The Dutchman opted to return home to begin his managerial career, but would a return ‘home’ lure Dennis to take the Arsenal hotseat? His lack of experience may harm his prospects, but his choice could prove to be a very popular one within Arsenal fan ranks.

12 – Dragan Stojkovic

Guangzhou R and F

The Serbian played for eight years at Nagoya Grampus Eight in Japan, and he played under current Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger. Wenger has touted Stojkovic as an excellent candidate for manager previously, but his lack of European managerial experience may cost him. However, if Wenger has any say in the process, Stojkovic may just be the surprise option.

11 – Julian Nagelsmann

TSG Hoffenheim Manager

The 29yr old German coach dramatically saved Hoffenheim from relegation last season against all odds, and he has continued to impress and defy the doubters. His side currently sit in 4th position in the Bundesliga, and his innovative tactics and relative success at a modest club are attracting suitors. Nagelsmann would be a high risk choice as he hasn’t yet managed in the top flight for a whole season, but if he earns Hoffenheim a Champions League spot, Nagelsmann will be a wanted man.

10 – Giovanni Van Bronckhurst

Feyenoord Manager

Van Bronckhurst has returned Feyenoord back to where they belong after many years in the shadows of the Eredivisie. They currently sit top of the Dutch league, and the Dutchman is responsible for the turnaround. Van Bronckhurst had a short spell as an Arsenal player, and he had a successful playing career playing under some great coaches. The accumulated experience has helped him as a manager, and if he wins the rotterdam club their first title for over a decade, he will be on the shortlist for sure.

9 – Eusebio Sacristan Mena

Real Sociedad Manager

Mena has allowed Sociedad a period of sustainability, slowly steadying the ship after many peaks and troughs. His managerial style comes from Barcelona after firstly performing the assistant role in the early 2000’s, before taking charge of Barcelona B from 2011 to 2015. Sociedad are his club now, and they are in 5th place as this is written – only one point behind Diego Simeone’s Atletico in 4th. Mena could bring the good times back to Arsenal.

8 – Eddie Howe

Bournemouth Manager

Howe has worked miracles at Bournemouth. The modest South Coast club have not only reached the Premier League for the first time, but under his stewardship, they have comfortably retained their status in the top flight. They are struggling at this moment in time, but the exciting brand of football he espouses is in line with Arsenal. Howe may lack the years of hardened competition in Europe, but Howe could be the long term option that Arsenal crave.

7 – Lucien Favre

Nice Manager

The Swiss manager started off in his native country, before making the short journey to the Bundesliga with Hertha Berlin and Borussia Monchengladbach. He was a success at both clubs, in both cases rescuing them from the relegation places and steering them to the Champions League. He has since taken over Nice, and yet again he is overseeing major change with Nice challenging for Ligue Un against more established teams like Monaco and PSG. Favre is accustomed to tight budgets and his brand of fluid football and unearthing talent is exactly what Arsenal need.

6 – Ralph Hassenhuttl

RB Leipzig Manager

The Austrian coach has earned his stripes. He has managed in all tiers of the Bundesliga, and his last club – Ingolstadt – have risen from the second tier to the Bundesliga under his leadership. He has since moved to cash-rich RB Leipzig, and they seem to be the only credible challengers to Bayern Munich’s domination. Hassenhuttl has changed the way Leipzig play, and has utilised the unique talents at his disposal to engineer a counter-attacking team that are resolute as well as lethal. It is unclear who pulls the strings at the club – whether it be Hassenhuttl or Sporting director Ralf Rangnick – but the Austrian Manager is on the radar.

5 – Leonardo Jardin

AS Monaco Manager

The previous managers of Monaco have proven that cash is not the sole reason for success, but since taking over at the club, Leonardo Jardin has taken Monaco to where they need to be to ensure the millions have not been wasted. The team from the tiny principality are top of Ligue Un and have a gap between them and PSG who have ruled France’s top league for the last three seasons. Jardin’s style has earned plaudits, and his recruitment policy has found some real gems. Jardin could revolutionise Arsenal, and his team’s display in the Champions League against Manchester City recently was the best advertisement for what he brings – fast paced, attack-minded football.

4 – Thomas Tuchel

Borussia Dortmund Manager

Tuchel has matched previous Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp’s path in management. Taking Mainz to the top flight and a  European spot, he was courted by some big German clubs before opting for Dortmund after six years with Mainz. He has lost only 13 games from his 91 Bundesliga matches so far, and he has replaced some players with promising young talent. Tuchel has maintained BVB’s trademark pressing style which he inherited from Klopp, but Tuchel could do with some success on the domestic front before making the leap to the big time.

3 – Jorge Sampaoli

Sevilla Manager

Sampaoli will be forever revered as a hero in Chile, after engineering back to back Copa America triumphs for the South American nation. Sampaoli has since joined Sevilla, and he has allowed the club to make the leap from Europa League to Champions League comfortably. They are also challenging for La Liga, in the mix with Barcelona and Real Madrid. Sampaoli is unflinching in his demand for 100% from his players, but he also manages to make the most from every percent. Sampaoli is one of the favourites for the Barcelona job, but Sampaoli can pick his next club from a host of offers.

2 – Diego Simeone

Atletico Madrid Manager

Simeone was a winner as a player, and as a manager this has been the same. He returned Atletico to the top of Spanish football and won La Liga in 2013-14. He also tasted success as a manager in South America, so his pedigree is one of accomplishment. The man known as ‘El Cholo’ in Spain is labelled as a counter-attacking specialist, but that would be doing a great disservice to his teams. He is adept at adapting his teams to the demands of every opponent, and can switch from possession football to defensively minded in an instant. Simeone has also reacted to losing key personnel by replacing them seamlessly. He has to be a frontrunner for the job.

1 – Massimiliano Allegri

Juventus Manager

Allegri has reportedly already started English lessons as he courts the Arsenal position, and the North London club would be getting a brilliant manager. Starting off in the lower reaches of Italian football, he eventually found his way to Cagliari and pushed them to their best ever season. This paved the way to AC Milan, and he duly won them their first Serie A title for seven years. He then moved to Juventus after four years at Milan, and he enjoyed instant silverware, winning the Double in his first season, followed by the same the very next campaign. Allegri has purchased shrewdly, created teams of strength and pace, and is as thorough in his preparations as anyone could be. The Italian has emerged as the favourite for the Arsenal hotseat, and it is easy to see why.