Parker keeps it simple and plays the short, easy passes and Modric is granted the platform and freedom to express himself. The greatest compliment that you can pay them is that Redknapp’s overdue return to 4-4-2 has gone relatively smoothly and now it’s Van Der Vaart that’s struggling to secure a place in the starting eleven, with the Dutchman having to be shoehorned into the side on the right of midfield – a tactical switch that is fraught with danger, as Arsenal’s goal on Sunday clearly served to highlight. A close runner-up in my eyes.
Everton certainly have the talent at their disposal, but with Moyes often forced to plump for a striker-less 6-4-0 or 4-5-1 formation, it leaves the players little time to settle into the same position. There may be potential further down the line in a Jack Rodwell/Marouane Fellaini partnership, with the Belgian mightily impressive in the Derby and Rodwell desperately unlucky to even be given a card by the ridiculously out of his depth Martin Atkinson. Ross Barkley also looks quite the talent to keep an eye on too.
Arsenal’s central midfield has been one that’s gone through a degree of upheaval over the last few months. Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshereshowed on occasion last term that Arsene Wenger may already have found his replacements for Fabregas and Nasri, but they’ll have to wait until February now with Wilshere out for the long haul.
A crisis of confidence has affected Alex Song’s game just when he was beginning to emerge as a player of great quality and Arteta will require a bedding-in period. One bright spark of their defeat to Spurs, though, was the performance of young Francois Coquelin and a bright future awaits him.
Casting my eyes around the rest of the league, the only other side that catches my eye is Swansea – with the likes of Mark Gower, Joe Allen and Leon Britton’s impressing for their ability to keep the ball under pressure.
There are of course other midfielders that stick out as being exceptional – Wigan’s James McCarthy, returningBolton man Stuart Holden, Joey Barton at QPR, Aaron Ramsey at Arsenal and Danny Murphy at Fulham – but whether they are part of a ‘partnership’ yet remains to be seen.
Much in the same way as there appears to be a lack of genuine out and out strike partnerships in the league at the moment, the lack of central midfield partnerships is notable. Newcastle’s Tiote and Cabaye, for the time being, hold the mantle for me, although Parker and Modric look to have more potential going forward. It’ll be interesting to see whether Newcastle can continue their rich vein of form throughout the campaign, because if they can, a lot of it will be down to their dynamic duo Tiote and Cabaye.
Which pairing gets your vote?
You can follow me on Twitter @JamesMcManus1
Written by James McManus for FootballFanCast.com
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