Jamie Carragher thinks that Aaron Ramsey is one of Arsenal’s best players, but believes he would be better utilised in a three-man midfield, playing in a similar role to Frank Lampard when he was at Chelsea.
Ramsey has put in a couple of good performances for Arsenal in their most recent matches, winning the man-of-the-match award for his part in the draw against Chelsea, and then winning a penalty against West Brom playing in a more advanced role in place Mesut Özil.
Carragher thinks the Welsh international should therefore definitely have a permanent place in the team, telling Sky Sports: “Aaron Ramsey should always get in that Arsenal team because he’s one of their best players,” reports the Express.
“He covers the most ground in any game, so that’s the type of player he is. When you say ‘holding midfield player’, that’s the position he’s playing if you like, but he’s never going to be a holding midfield player.
“He just wants to run, he wants to get in the box. Half the time you look at the manager and say if you’ve got a player like Ramsey, where do you fit him into your team?
“I always think Ramsey would be best, even though he’s been brilliant in that role for Wales, actually in a role we saw Frank Lampard play at Chelsea, where there’s that three-man midfield, you have a sitting midfield player and he’s the one getting box-to-box.”
“Because him getting box-to-box, he gets goals, that’s what he does.”
Arsenal have the players to execute a three-man midfield, and it’s one of the formations that fans have been calling out for Arsene Wenger to experiment with. It doesn’t actually require too many changes from the current side either.
Sead Kolašinac and Hector Bellerín would act as full-backs in a back four, with one of the three centre-backs dropped. Then Granit Xhaka would be the holding midfielder, with Ramsey and one other midfield player providing more threat in the final third.
Ahead of them, you’d presumably keep the front three of Alexis Sanchez, Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Özil, even though we haven’t seen the trio play a single game together so far.
The only problem is that if Alexis and Özil are playing as wingers, it will limit their offensive threat. Özil has been much more effective playing as a forward than he was in the early Arsenal days on the wing.
However, if you move the pair to be more central, the only way the team can get width is through the full-backs. This means the full-backs bomb up and the two centre-backs are left all alone to defend counter attacks.
There’s still some potential there, but for now Wenger seems to be sticking with the three-back formation, so Ramsey will have to accept being in a central midfield two.