Edu's first Arsenal January transfer mission is clear as Liverpool foil Arteta's Atletico repeat
Arsenal’s 4-0 defeat to Liverpool on Saturday evening highlighted the need for the Gunners to strengthen in the central midfield position in January if they want to complete the rebuilding process.
Albert Sambi Lokonga started in a pivot alongside Thomas Partey and despite starting the game with confidence, he faded out of the game in the second half and looked a level below the quality required, which highlighted his inexperience.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles was substituted in for Sambi Lokonga early in the second half, but the results were the same as Liverpool’s midfield continued to dominate the proceedings.
Thiago and Fabinho looked levels ahead of Arsenal’s central midfield, and with Thomas Partey departing for the African Cup of Nations in January, Edu must strengthen in this position.
Despite the impressive performance against Watford from Maitland-Niles and Sambi Lokonga, the match against Liverpool was a different beast, which seemed to overwhelm the youngsters.
The second half of the match was a real eye-opener for the fans, as the team's inexperience was clear to see, with the consistent mistakes that were made when trying to play out from defence.
Thomas Partey was the man with the most credentials behind him in the Arsenal midfield, but even he was a shadow of his usual self, which seemed to be due to the lack of support around him.
Granit Xhaka would have been an important player for such a big game away to Liverpool, due to the experience he could bring, but even he is unreliable as seen in the game against Manchester City when he let the team down by getting a red card.
Arsenal have been linked to central midfielders such as Kessie, and Renato Sanches, and the defeat at Anfield should be the catalyst in the club pushing to make a midfield signing in January or the summer transfer window.
Sambi Lokonga is certainly equipped with bags of potential, but his battle with Thiago and Fabinho was proof that he still has a lot to work on before he can be trusted to lead Arsenal in their rebuild.
We have the real potential to create a dominant midfield with Partey and another top class midfielder next to him.
Two years ago, Partey had bossed proceedings at Anfield in the Champions League round of 16 whilst playing for Atletico Madrid, and in that match, he had Saul Niguez and Koke alongside him.
At Anfield on Saturday, the Ghanaian was subbed off for Mohammed Elneny late into the second half, a player who is a certainty to leave the club, which further highlights the need for a new player in the position.
If Arsenal can sign a midfielder with qualities similar to Partey’s former team-mates, then the collapse we witnessed at Anfield, again, might be something we can look forward to not experiencing next season.
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