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Arsene Wenger given huge Arsenal problem: Two will miss out and one will prosper from Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

In the Premier League today, how many teams trust British players centrally to drive the team forward? Even more so how, many top four Champions League teams trust British players at the heart of their team?

We are moving away from the Frank Lampard, Paul Scholes and Steven Gerrard obsession. At Arsenal we have three lads, all under the age of 23, who are potentially going to surpass them as players in terms of ability in my opinion and how they blend and mature technically will dictate if they can match the medal haul of their illustrious predecessors.

A key day in our recent history 

British Core 01

The midfield balance at Arsenal is the subject along with the “we need a striker” conversation is the main talking point of many Gooners.

We all have our preferences, and I cannot and do not want to change anyone’s mind on. We are just lucky to have three young players who are committed to Arsenal and have a football personality to run football matches.

But do we have a problem pending – All three seem to want to play the same central attacking midfield position next to a DM and behind a ‘ten’.

To help assess, I decided to break it down a little to see if we can learn how good a player is and if these numbers show us what we have and what we are missing. Just my opinion to get you thinking about what makes a player at the top level.

Player
Short Passing
Long Passing
Receiving
Attack 1v1
Def 1v1
Total
Jack
8
7
8
8
7
38
Aaron
7
8
9
8
9
41
The Ox
7
8
7
8
7
37
Player
Dribbling
Heading
Crossing
Shooting
Set Pieces
Total
Jack
8
6
8
8
7
37
Aaron
7
7
8
8
7
37
The Ox
9
7
9
8
8
41
Player
Speed
Power
Focus
Mentality
Team Ethic
Total
Jack
7
8
7
7
7
36
Aaron
7
8
9
8
7
39
The Ox
9
9
7
7
7
39
Player
Tackling
Adapt to Systems
Aerobic Fitness
Mobility
Decisions
Total
Jack
8
8
7
8
8
39
Aaron
9
8
10
10
8
45
The Ox
8
9
8
9
8
42
Player
TOTALS
Jack
150
Aaron
162
The Ox
159
Summary – Jack Wilshere
Jack Wilshere 08

Jack is what I call a connector. In my opinion, he is best at the base of the midfield driving between the lines and passing short to team mates before he gets smashed in the tackle. His overall mobility is returning. I have had concerns that he has become too heavily muscled in the gym and lost that burst and the ability to hold the middle defensively with the mobility required.

His best season came next to Alex Song and that minder allowed him and him alone to dictate from behind the ball. Many were doubting him this season – but Jack is a confident boy. He knows the game and he has this quiet swagger about how he wants to play and what he can do. His ability in home games when space is tight and teams are sitting in deep can be a differentiator as in the Fulham game. I like how he has responded to Aaron’s huge step forward and just played well.

As a footballer that is your job – play well gain the trust of your coach and team mates. He was told he needs goals so he has added goals. I would like to see him just play and keep it simple. I don’t want to see him get involved with fisticuffs with say a Moussa Dembele – Just play and win yourself some medals.

Summary – Aaron Ramsey

Aaron has developed into something I did not see coming two years ago. I was one of those who felt he lacked power pace and the dominating football physiology to run games from the middle. He was too self-indulgent too many touches too many flicks. To me it seemed all about him and despite the fact he never hid and always wanted the ball I had him down as the new Danny Murphy and not the new Cesc Fabregas.

Then something happened – he started to believe. I’m not sure what the trigger was but when I saw him muscle off Etienne Capoue and Dembele against Spurs in the league game this season and run away from them to create a chance you just had to notice he had developed.

He has become our go-to player and what he offers now is with Olivier Giroud and Mesut Ozil he had a relationship with both that allowed him to just run into goal scoring positions. His finishing right now with Theo Walcott out injured will be crucial in those upcoming big games. I cannot see an Arsenal team against Bayern Munich with Aaron not in it – that is how far he has come.

Arsenal have to have runners that run beyond our CF and threaten the bigger teams. Perfect example was Borussia Dortmund away – no other Arsenal player could score that goal. His tackling is timely and he transitions quickly once the ball is won. No one runs further – his ability to receive the ball either foot dribble either foot is huge.

He is the box to box player – But is Jack that also?

Summary – The Ox
 Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 04

There are many out there not seeing the Ox as a central player in midfield but, I think that is exactly what he is – bring your mind back to the Milan Champions League game where he ran it from the centre at 18.

While he is young while he has the pace and crossing ability required playing wide and he also has a great shot so logic says he should play wide right or wide left in a three. But in time you can see he wants to be the man in the middle the go to boxer that says just give it to me I can hold it. I can run with it, I can pass it long or short but I will hold my game and myself in a way that says don’t mess with me or I will just run past you and you can’t stop me.

He is like Rocky – Arsenal in recent years have been callow we have been reactive to what other teams have done to us. The Ox when he came on against Aston Villa when Tomas Rosicky went off exuded a calm presence in possession. His first movement is to support the ball and unlike Theo who’s first movement is like an attacker to run away from his man and the ball to seek space in behind. The Ox carries the ball into space and supports it like a central midfielder.

My favourite-ever Arsenal player was Patrick Vieira – the Ox could develop that physical presence as he matures. A modern Vieira who can drive at pace from the centre. It could be easily argued he is the most talented of all. But I’m not sure.

All I do know is Arsene Wenger – you have a lovely problem to solve.

Clive Palmer

About Clive:

AFC fan of 35 years. Grew up in Luton wishing I grew up in Upper Street and could just not get enough of AFC and the area. I was a child influenced by Charlie George but it got serious for me was in the Liam Brady, Graham Rix and Paul Davis era’s. Home and Away fan in times gone by – More selective on games today. Priorities –  I now watch my 12 year old son play Academy football which gives me a more holistic view of the coaching aspect of the game.

My biggest Hero – Vieira

Happiest Day – Copenhagen vs. Parma

Saddest Day – Paris 2006

Biggest wish – Wenger to win again. Oh and Julian Draxler

The best days are ahead.

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5 Responses to Arsene Wenger given huge Arsenal problem: Two will miss out and one will prosper from Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

  1. Twig January 22, 2014 at 5:35 pm #

    Awesome post. And when you figure Gnabry and Walcott in, the competition in the next 2-3 years is going to be fierce. It’ll be difficult keeping all the players happy IMO.

    • Clive January 22, 2014 at 8:10 pm #

      Not a problem today but I sense as they mature and become less willing to move wide and more forceful in personality – this will cause problems but nice problems. Thanks for your mind comments.

  2. bc January 22, 2014 at 6:44 pm #

    Thankfully it’s a squad game nowadays so all 3 are needed and to make assumptions on what formations we will play let alone which positions these 3 will play over the next 10 years is completely ridiculous. 10 years ago no one had even played 4231. Wilshire was a right winger Ramsey was a centre forward and chamberlain was a power ranger in the play ground

  3. Mathew Farai January 24, 2014 at 4:20 pm #

    Lovely analysis. It’s good to be in this space where the whole team is doing well. individual performances are lifted and the team is looking like its made up of geniuses at the moment. The same individuals who looked like a immature lads with no spine last season and a few seasons ago. We have a dream generation on our hands people. Wenger has outdone himself this time. When he said he has the best team he has ever had a few months ago everyone thought he was just being ridiculous. Now i am beginning to believe. When Ozil comes through the bedding period and if we buy Draxler. we will be monsters. We will give any team run for its money. There is an uncanny soberness with this team this term. They look like they are grinding out games and playing in second gear but in truth they are being deliberately so. They have gone past the exuberance of simply playing without control that we had in 2008 -2011. When we would try to outscore everyone and play at a high tempo but get surprised by teams that come committed, Now we are winning all the games we should. What is left is to believe that our standard is better than the other top 4 and start beating them. …because we can. Someone bring Bayern Munich please…

  4. Clive January 25, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

    Thanks for thoughtful reply Matt

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