With Arsenal struggling at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon, Aaron Ramsey was moved back into his natural midfield position.
The change paid off and The Gunners came away with a point – hasn’t Wenger got to get Ramsey back in the middle on a permanent basis?
Ramsey’s vision and ability to pass opened the game up for Arsenal, and he makes the midfield far more solid.
Frankly it’s a huge waste to see Ramsey out wide. He has such a rare abundance of qualities and they just can’t be used as often as possible on the flank.
An athlete as well as a footballer, Ramsey is unbelievable in all phases of the game. Last season he was in the top five players in the Premier League for minutes per goal (discounting penalties) as well as tackles + interceptions.
That just about sums him up.
Ramsey has always been athletic. Since being restored to the first team in March 2013 he focussed on a steelier side of his game, helping provide a solid base in midfield.
As the 2013/14 season began a confident Ramsey added goals to his game. A seemingly innate intelligence sees him time his runs into the box perfectly, he has become a calm finisher, and has developed his ability to open a defence up with his passing.
Good or great?
The question shouldn’t be surrounding Ramsey because he’s a bad right midfielder. He isn’t slow, is intelligent, and has pretty much everything else to make a good wide player.
In the middle you get all of his qualities used to their fullest. In the middle Aaron Ramsey is great, and – if he isn’t already – he’s going to be world class.
I’d go as far as saying there isn’t a midfielder in the world I’d swap him for. That’s the sort of player you get in his best position and build around. Especially one so talented and committed both defensively and in attack.
The problem is one of partnering. Ramsey is so great in the final third that you don’t want him collecting the ball off the defence all the time.
With Mikel Arteta out and no similar player in the squad, Francis Coquelin is being used as Arsenal’s most defensive midfielder. As good as he has been against the ball, with his widely reported number of tackles and interceptions used as evidence of his rise, Coquelin is not as good technically as the Spaniard and Arsenal have used Santi Cazorla to build from deep.
Ramsey isn’t as calm as Cazorla on the ball, and nobody is as good as the diminutive midfielder at dribbling out of tight spaces under pressure. With Coquelin in midfield, Wenger seems to prefer Cazorla as his partner for security on the ball.
So as Francis Coquelin was moved to right-back to accommodate Ramsey centrally on Sunday it was no surprise to see Santi Cazorla was replaced by Jack Wilshere. Cazorla is needed when Coquelin plays, but not so desperately otherwise.
With Mikel Arteta’s fitness questionable this summer is the time to get Ramsey back into his best position with a viable long-term partner.
Do so and we, harnessing Ramsey’s ability, will flourish.
Getting Ramsey as involved as possible is key to the future success of Arsenal. Yesterday saw a huge fanfare as Steven Gerrard departed Anfield and the Premier League, and Aaron Ramsey is his replacement in English football.
A midfielder capable of everything, a leader, a man who can step up at the moment his team needs him most.
Arsène Wenger let his most important player put his stamp on the course of the game by putting him in his best position for the first time in months, and it paid off.