Antonio Conte slammed for Tottenham’s failure to contain Arsenal star Thomas Partey
Arsenal legend Paul Merson has slammed Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte for failing to contain Thomas Partey in the north London derby on Sunday (15 January).
Speaking after a woeful first-half display from Spurs, Merson commented on how the Ghana international was running the game from midfield. He took a swipe at Conte and said (h/t Mirror):
“Arsenal have been great and they’ve had two good chances, or one and a half good chances. For me, you’re talking about one of the greatest managers about in Conte, he hasn’t changed it and let that team go out there and get absolutely ripped to shreds.”
“He had to change it. If I’m being completely honest anyone could go out there and play where Partey is at the moment, no one’s got near him. I can’t believe how a manager of that quality has not tried to nip this in the bud – it’s pretty embarrassing.”
Throughout the course of the game, Partey created a goal-scoring chance, took three shots himself, completed 92% of his attempted passes, and won 80% of his total duels (FotMob). He was truly a solid presence for the Gunners in midfield.
The largely inexperienced Pape Matar Sarr did just okay in midfield with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg but Rodrigo Bentancur – who coincidentally injured himself at the 2022 FIFA World Cup for Uruguay against Partey’s Ghana – was sorely missed.
Perhaps Yves Bissouma would have been a better option to start up front, or, we should have gone with a three-man midfield. It’s easy to point out what could have been once things are done.
But perhaps we could have been quicker with our changes. To make our first substitution with 19 minutes left on the clock is absurd considering how bad we were for at least the first half of the game.
There was fight from us in the second half, but only because the Gunners seemed to have settled for defending the lead. There were chances for us, but we just couldn’t score due to Aaron Ramsdale’s brilliance.
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- Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-min warns Arsenal that Spurs can still cover up 11-point gap this season
Bentancur’s return can’t come soon enough.