Thomas Partey and Rodrigo to take over the Atletico madrid midfield this weekend

By Michael Duah
Atletico Madrid's Copa del Rey elimination against Girona brought up an interesting point, with Partey and Rodrigo expected to take over the midfield.
Atletico Madrid's Copa del Rey elimination against Girona brought up an interesting point, with Partey and Rodrigo expected to take over the midfield.

Atletico Madrid's Copa del Rey elimination against Girona brought up an interesting point, with Partey and Rodrigo expected to take over the midfield.

They conceded a late equaliser in a 3-3 draw that saw them eliminated on the away goals rule, much to the disappointment of the Wanda Metropolitano faithful.

"We have exceptional footballers but with Gabi, that attack would never have reached our goal and he would have grabbed them by the neck if necessary," was one of the reflections from the coaching staff after that goal.

However, Saturday's game against Getafe gave Diego Simeone what he wanted as Thomas Partey and Rodrigo dominated all facets of the game.

The signing of the former Villarreal man, along with having Koke and Saul, had many expecting fierce competition for the two seats in the midfield engine room.

It was expected, as used to happen in major games, that Thomas would miss out as the weakest of the bunch.

However, performances on the pitch don't lie and to date, the most productive pair in those positions are Rodrigo and the Ghanaian, one of the three best African players in 2018.

Loathe to hand out glowing compliments too much, Simeone couldn't hide his satisfaction with their most recent performances.

"They are improving and complimenting each other well," he said.

It hasn't been without many experiments and combinations but he finally seems to have found the perfect tandem.

Although the first game of the campaign, the European Super Cup, it was Saul and Rodrigo were chosen before it was Koke and Saul in LaLiga Santander's opener in Valencia before Rodrigo and Saul ultimately featured against Rayo, it is Rodrigo and Partey who have made the starting berth their own of late, starting 12 times in 32 games.

Rodrigo has partnered Saul on another eight occasions, while he has played alongside Koke five times.

Partey and Saul have been the duo in three games, while Koke has played twice apiece with both Saul and the Ghanaian midfield dynamo.

Read also: Atletico Madrid coach, Simeone praises Thomas Partey 

Rodrigo now has the fourth most amount of minutes under his belt of anyone in the squad - Thomas is ninth - but it is his colleague who is having the better attacking impact.

Partey's four assists are bettered only by Antoine Griezmann's nine, but it is their ability to control the game and govern the midfield that has impressed most.

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