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Aaron Ramsey – World Class or Bang Average? (8 Tips for Arsenal’s Welsh Maestro)

Aaron Ramsey – World Class or Bang Average?

Aaron Ramsey – The most interesting player to review at Arsenal for me.

I know it’s dangerous to go online and give your analysis of a player so what I am going to try to articulate is my journey with Aaron Ramsey.  How my feelings have changed, how the game has changed and how I feel Aaron’s game has changed since he joined Arsenal.

People have almost religious views on Aaron – many of those people close to me online I really respect but – it’s time to come out!

I see Aaron’s time at Arsenal driving my analysis of him in phases of a journey.

2008 Cardiff to Arsenal – My First Impression

I can remember vaguely the battle we had with Man Utd for Aaron’s signature. At the time Arsenal were the team that always got the best youngsters. We stole Cesc from Barca and this to me was the next superstar off the taxi rank.

Ramsey was courted not only by Fergie but Everton’s David Moyes before being flown out on a private jet to Basel to meet Wenger face to face.

Wenger was quoted:

“He is still only 17, but has already shown that he is a very intelligent and mature player with great quality.

“Although he mainly plays in midfield, Aaron is a versatile player and can also play across the defence”

 Welcome to Arsenal Aaron

Defence I hear you say – Ramsey had spent time at right back during his younger years and also played wide. Already seen as a James Milner type player at 17. This told me immediately we had a physical 17 year old beast on our hands and the fact we beat Man Utd to his signature – I was sold.

As soon as you saw him play I saw someone although brought up in a Welsh environment he had skills of a Spanish baller midfielder with a coltish stride. It was his technical touch, his ability to dribble off both feet, receive on the back foot to open out the pitch and when in possession he could step away from people that caught my eye. At that time, personally I was changing how I viewed football and became interested in coaching and player development. I became intrigued in a deeper way about how a player is constructed and developed.

Coltish

Wenger had spoken about how to build a player and it lit my football fuse:

 

“The base of a player is the technique, you get that at the age between 7 and 14. If you do not have technical skills at the age of 14 it will be very difficult to be a great football player. This corresponds to the foundation of a house.

 The first floor is the physical aspect, which is developed between 14 and 17 years. Here you see if the player is quick and strong enough.

 The second floor is the tactical aspect. The understanding of the game by the player – what to do with the ball when he has it and what to do when he doesn’t have the ball.

 The final part, mentality, is developed when the player is between 18 and 19 years old. How much does the player want to be successful? How much sacrifices are the player is willing to make? That’s what Wenger calls the roof”

 “If there is no roof, it rains in. And if it rains in, the house collapses.”

In Aaron Ramsey I felt we had a player already constructed in the Wenger way – the house looked built.

He had a quiet deferential outward persona and in my opinion it was only a matter of time before he exploded to the very top in English Football.

Feb 2010 – Aaron’s Big Injury

 Image result for ramsey injury

One of my best friends was a young player at Man Utd and had moved to Luton Town when he could not force Paul Scholes out of the Man Utd first team. He suffered what you call a Tib-Fib compound fracture while playing so I knew what it meant to suffer injury and lose your career and how hard recovery is.

I remember it clearly the Stoke Game – I was actually at an England rugby game the same day and very high in sprits as you always are at Twickenham. On the way out of the stadium I heard about Ramsey’s leg break from a tackle by the hapless Ryan Shawcross. I was very angry.

 

Ryan Shawcross cuts down our Dashing Colt

We had lost Eduardo 2 years previously and Diaby before that in 2006 to horrific injury and this felt almost unfair.

Ramsey was a player who had played 29 games already and was about to become a top player. My anger did not dissipate once I heard Tony Pulis speak:

“Ryan Shawcross is a young lad, he hasn’t got a bad bit of blood in him,” said Pulis. “He’s got changed and his mum has taken him home, I have not seen him. He’ll be devastated”

 At the time none of us were sure when Ramsey would be back and what player would return.

We just felt like victims and a team trapped in the youth project that we hoped would work but to me the English game seemed almost intent in smashing our technique based youthful game as if to say ‘do it our way or else or we will kick you out of the game’

 

'Supporting Arsenal Is A Funny Old Game' by Dave Seager

 

2013 – 2014 ‘The Season’

Do you remember that game v Everton when Song clipped the ball to Van Persie over the top and he volleyed it in on our 125th Anniversary?

Van Persie Volley Saves the Day

What I remember about this game apart from a brilliant goal was the battle between Ramsey and Fellaini.

Ramsey was bettered that day. He was not strong enough and Fellaini just ragged him around the pitch. At that time many Arsenal fans would of swapped them no problem. One was seen as on the rise and one was looking lost after unspectacular loan spells at Forest and Cardiff. I feared for his Arsenal future that day.

But the summer of 2013 Ramsey took matters into his own hands. He hired his own personal trainer and that pre season in Asia it was obvious he was ahead of every other player fitness wise.

Players that were running past him in previous years – he started running past them. With the base of Arteta behind him he managed to be the best player in the country for the first 3 months of the season until a hamstring injury struck him down v West Ham.

He made 38 appearances that season with 18 goals including the goal that helped lift the trophy millstone from our collective necks in the FA Cup Final.

Image result for ramsey v hull

This Goal is Huge in Arsenal History

At this period he was our match winner. We had a team of players that did not have the personality to lead us offensively. Arsenal was recovering from the Cesc, RVP and Nasri departures. Jack was in and out. Ramsey saw his moment to lead and he led.

He worked very hard physically and was rewarded. During this period Aaron was allowed to break forward at will and we needed him to and he did it well.

It was all about how he followed this up – good players don’t have laps of honours too soon.

 

Ramsey – The Ego

Arsenal was starting to change. We moved on from the make do era and started to invest. This caused reactions to players that were previously unchallenged stars.

What did I notice about Ramsey?

Like any top professional he looked at the situation and wanted to keep his lead role. He had become accustomed to being the man – a goal scoring midfielder and even though we had purchased Ozil from Madrid and Sanchez from Barcelona he found it difficult to adjust his game.

In fact he didn’t adjust his game.

He spoke regularly about wanting to be only central to Arsenal’s fortunes.

Arsenal – The new Creative Leaders?

I tend to favour players who put the team first. I’m a coach, I eulogise the team always. I felt he was not doing that especially as I thought in while in comparison to Santi Cazorla.

He looked at the new players we had purchased and he chose to reinvent himself to add to the group while leaving the wings and the number 10 to Sanchez and Ozil.

Aaron spoke of being a player like Gerrard and I saw something else. I saw a body changing. I saw a player previously more dynamic become more one paced. I sensed as long ago as 2015 he should look to model his game not on Gerrard who was a power sprinter – bang bang shooter and use his metronomic marathon running ability to control a smaller space behind the ball focussing facilitation for others.

Develop more like a Tony Kroos but with a touch more 3rd man running.

This is what I call a Midfielder – Tony Kroos

Kroos was also a young prodigy at Bayern and was a number ten but other players were on the rise at Bayern and Germany – Ozil, Mueller, Goetze, Reus all with offensive gifts equal to his but more sharp dynamism and pace. But by playing further back and staying behind that ball and dictating the play from deep he was superb.

Kroos now masters this game at Madrid.

Not everyone agrees with me but before you say that – lets talk injury.

Again Aaron??

Ramsey has had multiple hamstring breakdowns. Not what I call warm up injuries early in games but wear and tear from repeat sprints. His body dynamics has changed and he is performing too many sprints for his body type.

It’s key as a player develops you recognise your game identity.

Aarons first step is always to break – his confidence is built from the goals he scores. I often ask myself why?

There are many facets to a centre midfield. Why does goal-scoring underpin your confidence Aaron ? That tells me how he see’s himself and it’s different to how I see the role that is available for him at Arsenal.

Since that season he is measuring himself more on goals and is repeatedly running into areas where I feel he is not always needed.We have better players now to score the goals. Aaron needs to recognise this and throw away his ego defined from that season and his International love in with Wales and concentrate on building the house again.

Focus on the fundamentals – balance the mentality and stay healthy. When he is fitter you start to feel his influence grow. So he needs to do less to get more results over a longer period of time. Stay on the pitch and stop being a hero.

My fear is he thinks he is better than he is. I think he is very good but which other top 6 side would he command a place?

 

Ramsey – The Future

Image result for ramsey 2017

Wenger needs to do more to help Ramsey. He needs to nurture his strengths or go another direction.

If I were Ramsey’s coach I would sit him down and say:

  1. Even though you can do everything you are in danger of being an all rounder. Do you want to be James Milner?
  2. Define your style – stop trying to do 2 jobs because you have the engine, as this team needs just one job.
  3. If I were his coach I would change the system to allow him to be that 3rd midfielder where we see only his positives and not his negatives.
  4. I would get Aaron to focus on timing into the box – at times he arrives too soon and too high and too often. Wasted miles. Less is more.
  5. Improve you pace of pass. Don’t lend the ball – pass it with purpose
  6. Execute with simplicity – no need to embellish just focus on precision
  7. Be mindful of distances – Make a partnership work
  8. Above all play with humility.

However – In recent weeks I have started to see something else.

I have started to see humility return and a focus to be more consistent. Ok he is a loose passer and that will not change and that is not always bad dependant where you are on the pitch. I acknowledge he seems to be thinking more about the collective.

The second half at Preston, Last 30 minute’s v Burnley when we were down to 10 men. Top work. Influence is looking real again.

Game Clarity is returning. It needs to. Others players are circling most with contracts.

Iwobi – 2 footed, faster, as powerful, better pace of pass, scores, and assists.

Xhaka – Regista with every pass in the book. As big but as slow. Can’t tackle!

Coquelin – Can Tackle, a transition-pressing specialist. Heart of a lion with pace.

Jack – Able to play every position in CM with talent, timing, invention and drive

Elneny – Simple early one touch passer who is focussed on one job. Big engine.

Ox – Power dribbler with a big shot and the attributes of a 3rd CM in time

Santi – Genius footballer, 2-footed player who can master any scenario.

 

Aaron is the one player that can in some way do all of the above – Does that make him a complete midfielder or a steady all rounder?

 This is where the fan divide begins.

However – Which one competency does he excel above and beyond his competitors?

I would say off the ball movement and goals historically.

It’s for him to resolve. I hope the manager helps him by changing the system.

I want it to work – I have the feeling our season depends on Aaron Ramsey

Thanks for getting this far – I’m now going into hiding 🙂

 

Clive

@clivepafc

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20 Responses to Aaron Ramsey – World Class or Bang Average? (8 Tips for Arsenal’s Welsh Maestro)

  1. Othman January 27, 2017 at 1:01 pm #

    Great post Clive, placing him in context and history is very revealing. There isn’t a word I’d change or subtract, but I would add the following:

    First of all, he is not technically proficient. You point out that he does not pass with purpose, and I would add that his ball control when receiving a pass is also subpar, especially under pressure. This is acceptable when he used to be alone as attacking mid in the opponents’ half of the pitch, with Coq and others CM’s behind him; it is inexcusable when he is the CM himself.

    Second, you rightly point out that he did not adapt to the arrival of new players and implementation of new tactics. He has often been asked to play on the right wing, and the wisdom of that decision is debatable. Nonetheless, his indiscipline and reticence to play the role correctly mean he has often left his right back exposed. This repeatedly happened in the first half of the 2-3 win at Ludgorets, where the right back was Jenko and not Bellerin.

    Now unlike you I am not a coach, and nor am I a sports psychologist, but it seems to me that he is an emotional player whose game is unduly affected by previous performances. The consequence of the above points (technical insufficiency & indiscipline) is that his mistakes trigger overcompensation (flicks and tricks) and ultimately, more mistakes. This creates a vicious circle where cockups worsen his game, thus requiring him to sit on the bench, and the bench doesn’t exactly improve his morale either.

    As I said, I am just an amateur speaking and my opinions are not formed by any professional experience, but it hurts to see him wince after failing to do something simple. I think we all know what expression I’m talking about. And most importantly, his mistakes have started to cost Arsenal too much, and I for one have lost patience with him.

  2. Ken January 27, 2017 at 1:03 pm #

    Aaron Ramsey – slow minded, overrated player, would be great for Stoke, playing in Arsenal only cos he’s Welsh

  3. RixIsBetterThanHoddle January 27, 2017 at 1:12 pm #

    The fact that we were a much better team this season when he was out injured says an awful lot about him.

    He slows down our game, continually passes backwards or sideways, and is pretty awful in front of goal.

    We should send him to Bournemouth and ask for Jack back

  4. Raymondo January 27, 2017 at 2:21 pm #

    Totally agree with much of what you said, Clive. His history and injuries help explain why things are the way they are, but what matters is now, this season, and the next game.

    Right now, hes a very good player, with a poor idea of what his role should be. I’m not sure if that’s because the coaches aren’t tactically defining it clearly enough for what is expected of the players and just throw pairings together to see what happens; or if they are and hes just not following or not able to follow instructions.

    A few seasons ago he was great at breaking out from midfield to score goals. And that fit into how we were setup. But he didn’t make those runs just to make space and pull defenders out of position, he made them to get the ball back in space to score. So the team was heavily focused on his actions. He was often dictating the tempo with his forward runs

    But the team right now is different. Alexis and Ozil are the focus. I’m not sure you can have so many of these types of players on the pitch at the same time. When Ramsey plays as well, he needs to be aware that his role is to do more center midfield donkey work carrying the ball; and if he break forwards he needs to time it so that the movement is not just to expect the ball back, but also to make space pulling defenders out of position for others as well.

    On the other hand, you could argue that the team need to react better around Ramsey too. To cover him when he has decided to be the focus for an attack, and to look to make runs when he has the ball and looks up. But does he have the vision to spot the run that team mates can trust?

    The good thing is that he has been improving recently, and the more minutes he gets, the better the understanding and fit into the team will be. Just not sure we can get away with it in defence against some teams, unless offensively we are irresistible.

  5. Clive January 27, 2017 at 3:33 pm #

    Thanks for a fulsome reply.

    I could of gone deeper into failings technically but it makes me look vindictive and I would rather see what he could become. I feel AFC are a team of timing and fluency. Pace of pass and technique at speed.

    Aaron needs to work on that. Iwobi is showing what you can be, If Iwobi develops defensively he could end Aaron’s AFC career.

    Thanks again
    Clive.

  6. Scrivs January 27, 2017 at 6:38 pm #

    Great analysis per usual, Clive. I agree with many of the other assessments on here about his technical ability. I won’t go deep into it here on these comments but you can see that he use to be a good street baller with tricks that he can’t translate into the professional game.

    I can’t think of another CM that we have that needs to touch the ball more than once before releasing it. Even his shooting technique is terrible (doesn’t land on his shooting leg, leans back, etc.) even though he has scored some wonder goals pretty much on his athletic ability alone.

    With a lot of players you can simply do an eye test to see their technical ability. I like to call them silky players, everything seems effortless. It’s why I’m not worried about Lucas. He plays like one of those 50-year old pros in the Sunday leagues with everything around him moving in slow motion.

    I want to bring up two questions which in my mind show his weaknesses for this team. I think he is a good footballer but being a good footballer and being a good footballer for Arsenal are two different things.

    1) Is there any other midfielder that we have where most of the fan base says “he needs to play with X to really accel”? What I mean here is that the argument is always Ramsey can only accel when he has an Arteta-type midfielder with him.

    Why does a supposedly top class CM need a specific type of player next to him? Especially one that is supposed to be so well-rounded?

    To think that the only reason why we bought Xhaka was to help Ramsey’s game seems kind of silly.

    When you look at Elneny, Coq, Xhaka, and Cazorla is there really a bad pairing that you can make from that list? Now add Ramsey and tell me if there are any bad pairings.

    2) Does he make anybody else on the team better? You can almost pinpoint how certain players on our squad help make other players better. Coquelin helped Cazorla reach legend status because he handled the work. Iwobi helps Ozil by removing some of the playmaking up high.

    When you put Ramsey on the pitch who benefits besides Ramsey? Ozil and Alexis like working the different channels and Ramsey clogs them up. He doesn’t ease the playmaking abilities for Ozil when he’s playing CM because his distribution is not at the level of Cazorla, Xhaka or even Elneny.

    His workrate in my opinion is overrated because a lot of it is wasted running. As you mentioned, you don’t need to be the first person in the box at all times. Coquelin and Elneny are efficient runners. They run where they are needed not where they want to be.

    If he isn’t scoring or assisting (which he only showed to be prolific for one season and that was 3 months) does he do other things better than our CMs?

    The Milner comparison is pretty apt since he isn’t a specialist at anything either. On paper these players sound great. We call them utility players here in the states but they usually only work out when you can put them in smaller positions like RB.

    I like players that specialize in a position and own it. I think that’s what great teams are built around. Coquelin was on the verge of being a utility type player but decided he was going to carve a niche and own his position. Elneny takes the same approach.

    It’s hard to envision the #10 (that number has huge mental significance) ever believing he needs to follow the same mold.

    Maybe the 4-3-3 works out better for him but then you also have to take into consideration how it affects our marquee players. Ozil can’t thrive in a 4-3-3 and we now know how to unlock Alexis’s potential in our current system. When you add in dynamic players like Iwobi, Lucas, Welbeck, and Theo around them then for me that 2 CMs just need to be people that know how to do their job.

    Ramsey will never want to be that type I don’t think. I don’t blame him for it but it just isn’t going to work out here with that mindset.

    • Pegcitygooner January 28, 2017 at 1:17 am #

      Hmmmm… all I can say is bravo Clive and scrivs. I as well have a love and hate affair with Ramsey. All my points have been covered by the two of you. To reinforce, I do find it fascinating that his “world class” status is based on 3 months work over 3 yrs ago. No one else gets this kind of “free pass” from fans based on a short period of quality performance.

      Now Clive, you’ve often suggested a formation change- 4-3-3 to be more proficient defensively and to make up for ozils lack of tackling. My question is this, our current formation technically has 5 midfielders and we get overrun. Mainly because the central midfielders leave acres of space between them and once caught upfield, we are essentially screwed on the counter. Won’t we be more open with only 3 mids and 3 strikers?

      • Clive January 28, 2017 at 9:01 am #

        Hi Peg!!

        I favour 3 in Centre midfield. For Big games at least and in the CL.

        I like a 4-3-1-2 really with Ozil behind 2 real mobile forward options but 3 CM’s behind him. It makes us more fluid and protects us also. I did a blog recently on our Shot Supremecy and it worries me.

        I don’t think Ramsey protects us v the best teams but we are about to find out very soon v Chelsea

        Thanks for taking time to comment its really appreciated.

        Clive.

    • Dave Seager January 28, 2017 at 8:17 am #

      Scrivs – That is a superb response and you make some top points very well. Can I use your response as a blog on the site? let me know. Dave

      • Scrivs January 28, 2017 at 3:47 pm #

        HI Dave,

        By all means go for it. Please just credit my Twitter account (http://twitter.com/scrivs). If Clive keeps on writing blog posts I might have to step up and start a blog of my own.

        • Dave Seager January 29, 2017 at 11:27 am #

          Or you could just join our happy team at Gunners Town

    • Clive January 28, 2017 at 8:56 am #

      Scrivs- Our minds think alike as you know.

      So much said and so well said. One thing I missed was the fact does he make people better. He doesn’t he plays for himself. He stuffs his statistics.

      IMO if Ramsey gets 100 passes some use that as justification of his WC talent. Me I immediately think we have better players he is taking the ball from and I don’t want our game identity to be driven by someone with a average passing skills.

      I want Xhaka or Santi or Ozil to have 100 passes because if they do that our whole team will shine and not just one individual.

      I have played the game and trust me I have seen players like this a lot. Ive been so surprised by the comments online to this blog.

      Every single one has been supportive in a thoughtful way about the player. This tells me people can really see details. You can’t hide your motivations from fans – we feel it if you are prepared to look.

      Ramsey has much to learn but I’m not sure he can change.

      Is he an asset to sell – I think so.

      I prefer a player the moment he walks onto the pitch you know what he is. You Xhaka screams CM. He screams control facilitation and passing range.

      He needs a proper partner that makes him better.

      Thanks so much for taking time to reply

      Clive.

  7. Liam January 28, 2017 at 11:40 am #

    Clive, Thanks for another excellent and very insightful post. I also just don’t see the technical quality in Ramsey to play the way he seems to want to. Like Scrivs said, the range of explanations provided for his sub-par games don’t make sense to me – the idea that a supposedly well-rounded player can only play in a very specific role in a specific position with specific partners. I find myself wondering why someone who has really only played well for Arsenal for a relatively short period of time over 3 years ago has so many passionate defenders – is it just because he’s British?

  8. Matt January 28, 2017 at 12:06 pm #

    Yet when Cazorla makes 150-odd passes during a 0-0 draw at home to Sunderland, we applaud him as a maestro, eh?

    Nicely written Clive, but you’ll no I disagree. I think Ramsey is a superb footballer and, when fit and on form, one of our best and most efffective midfielders. 2012-13 was great, but without goals, 2013-14 was great, with goals, and 2014-15 wasn’t great, but with goals. Plus he dons it for Wales. When was the last time we saw central midfield performances as good as Ramsey’s during the 2013-14 season? Unfortunately very little has gone right for him his purple patch, and I won’t even try to deny that he has been pretty rubbish. I think he is now in a position where he lacks a defined role in the team and, unless things change, I expect him to go in the summer.

    For a start, we lost Arteta, our best defensive midfielder in god knows how long. Arteta helped get the best out of Ramsey during his best season, but he lost his legs and became increasingly injury prone. Obviously Ramsey injuries have been partly to blame as well, but the closest thing to a regular midfield partner we’ve seen since then has been Flamini, the master of looking busy, but doing nothing. Now, Coquelin is a good footballer but he isn’t really a deep playmaker in the “Arteta/ Cazorla” sense, he is much more of a ball-winner, hence the Coquelin-Cazorla partnership. Notice Coquelin’s best performances this season came playing as a “box-to-box ball-winner” alongside Cazorla, highlighting Coquelin’s good points and not exposing his bad points? And vice-versa. Coq-Caz isn’t a “bad” partnership by any stretch, but I certainly wouldn’t call them a title winning one either. Not like, for example, Kante-Matic. Wenger must feel similarly, as he went out and spent big on Xhaka, who I think is very similar to Arteta. You’d have to think getting the best out of Ramsey again was part of his thinking. We had to wait for the Ramsey-Xhaka partnership but it looked like they were starting to get there. I thought they were good against Palace and looked very good for an hour against Burnley, but unfortunately Xhaka had his moment of madness and we’re back to square one. I can’t recall the Coquelin-Ramsey partnership ever actually working, but we’ll see. I recall Ramsey-Elneny having one or two good games together towards the end of last season, but Elneny is another like Ramsey who I think lacks a defined role in the team.

    I think a common misconception is that Ramsey is ill-disciplined and goes out on the pitch and does whatever he wants. I see this a lot on Twitter and on Arsenal Forums. Would Wenger play Ramsey if he was disobeying instructions and not doing what was asked? Of course not. What I will say though is that I think Ramsey suffers from what a lot of Arsenal players have suffered from, Wenger’s “go out and do what you want, concentrate on your game” attitude. Whilst it doesn’t happen as much now with Monreal and Bellerin, our full backs used to be a good example of this, where Gibbs (mostly) and Sagna (less frequently) would get caught out of position, particularly against bigger sides. When asked to play a disciplined role, Ramsey has done very well. I can recall some excellent big wins against Liverpool, Man United and Bayern Munich, where Ramsey has done an excellent job on the right wing. You can see why Wenger wants Ramsey to “play his game”, because, as evidence by 13-14 and 14-15, he gets goals, and goals are clearly the most important thing in football. I think Ramsey becomes an easy player to attack because he puts himself out there and tries to do the things that win football matches, rather than just passing the ball endlessly around the edge of the penalty area.

    Injuries are another big problem as well. As we’ve seen with Wilshere and Rosicky 2.0 (Cazorla), questions of your footballing ability become completely irrelevant if you’re never on the pitch playing. Injuries prevent building up fitness, form, cohesion and understanding with teammates, etc. Anyway…

    Personally, I think we were slowly starting to see better things from the Xhaka-Ramsey partnership. If they get back together and continue to develop, I think it could be 2013-14 Arteta-Ramsey-ish, but if it doesn’t happen then I fully expect Ramsey to leave. I really hope Xhaka-Ramsey works, not just because of Ramsey’s quality and effectiveness as a footballer, but also because I struggle to see what impact Cazorla can make here in the long term.

    • Clive January 29, 2017 at 11:53 am #

      Hi Matt – Thanks for a great reply.

      A lot of this comes down to what suits your eye. I loved Diaby, Vieira, Gilberto – Love players that dominate but can move.

      When the ball drops I like us to win the race and transition.

      Interesting seeing the Ox play CM. Much to learn but the potential is huge. Would be interesting to the Ox under more pressure on the ball but that’s where the winger in him could come in handy.

      Aaron does not fit my eye but I can see he has some attributes. Most of his best are ion the last third and off the ball if that makes sense.

      In this Arsenal team IMO we need on the ball presence and not passive passing leading to nothing. We need drive speed and speed of pass.

      We can afford one slow guy and that guy would be Xhaka because his passing is unreal. Do we really need another player running into the box?

      Post Southampton you can see there is another way. More like PSG played v us – I liked it.

      It’s all so exciting the options.

      Thanks again

      Clive.

  9. Jason January 28, 2017 at 1:22 pm #

    I wonder how much of Ramsey’s ‘issues’ are down to the manager allowing him to be expressive (flicks, tricks etc) that madden some supporters. Manager allowing him to take up more than one role on the pitch. No slight on Wenger who wants his players to express themselves but how would a Mourinho, Klopp, Pochettino manage Ramsey, would they allow the expressive mixed bag type of game you mention? We see Coleman has to some degree built the Welsh midfeild around Ramsey’s game to get the best out of him, helps that international football is 3 man midfields in most cases. All conjecture but I think he would had a more disciplined approach under a different manager, whether he would be better or worse for it who knows. Enjoyed your blog, thanks for putting it together..

  10. Travis January 29, 2017 at 11:21 am #

    The one thing I would ask with Scrivs is the Coq-Elneny partnership. Do you think this works? I don’t see the two of them leading the midfield and Gunners getting PL title. I really do like both players. Coq is for sure the best destroyer on the squad…and Elneny is very tidy. But, that partnership lacks in playing out from the back or on the counter. Although, Coq has actually been steadily improving, so who’sto say.

    Everything else I agree with your thoughts. The thing that really stands out to me is his first touch. If you play in a possession based squad, your first touch needs to be spot on. ”Tis why from day one I thought Iwobi to be the real deal. But, with Ramsey, it’s that eye test you speak of and I just don’t think his footwork is good enough on a consistent basis.

    Another thought…getting yourself out of position is okay if someone covers. Vs Bournemouth when Iwobi switched to the left and Ramsey cannot see this and bam the opening goal. In comparison today’s match…Mustafi darts forward and Ox drops back to cover. You don’t necessarily need to be beholden to one area of the pitch if the team is in sync with each other, and working for each other. And this is why we agree on Ramsey.

    • Scrivs January 29, 2017 at 4:13 pm #

      Travis,

      I think it would work in the sense that Elneny and Coq both understand their strengths and are disciplined as CMs.

      Do I think it is a title-winning midfield? Hard to say considering when you look at Chelsea’s midfield this year and Leicester’s midfield last year.

      I think as fans we look at CMs and still harken back to the days when they ran the show. The CMs were always the best players on the field and they excite us. Elneny and Coq don’t light your eyes up when you see them on the scoresheet but they rarely put a foot wrong and do all of the dirty work that others tend not to do.

      With that partnership change I think you also need to change your perspective on how we would play. You mentioned the inability of this partnership to play out the back and I almost agree with you but we haven’t seen if Elneny has those capabilities yet simply because he’s always paired with someone else that can.

      However, isn’t this the perfect high-pressing midfield? You have two machines running around that can quickly recycle the ball back to the creative front four providing us with more opportunities. You know neither one is going to leave their post so the center always remains solid.

      We must also remember that when Alexis plays striker he drops back more than Ozil at times. Coquelin and Elneny simply have to find Ozil or Alexis.

      Of course this is all game theory sitting behind my computer but that is how I could see that partnership working. Again though, because neither are flashy or known as being creative people will look down on that partnership.

  11. MarblehallsTV February 3, 2017 at 4:49 pm #

    Good article.I agree with your view on his historical development, but then it’s not unreasonable to expect him to get back the 13/14 levels. Since then he has been playing largely in the middle and not on the wing. I think we need to sell him soon enough, whether it’s mentality or related matters, he won’t get back to the 13/14 level.

    I do sincerely hope I am wrong though, and he can revert to those heights.

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