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Much has been made in the past few days of the Arteta/Flamini axis in midfield; a partnership that should offer a sturdy base for our more attack orientated players to push on but has failed to really do so.

With the Frenchman and Spaniard at the base of the midfield there certainly seems to be a gap between them and Ozil; with Ramsey, Wilshere or Rosicky in place of one of them we have players who can and want to push forward, pressing other teams high up the pitch. It is something we have evidently worked on over the season with a team approach to pressing. The problem is with both Arteta and Flamini on the pitch there seems to be some form of Mexican stand off as neither likes being so high up the pitch. Arteta enjoys the reserved metronomic passing element, death by football as such, as he retains possession for the team whilst Flamini likes to take up key positions and beckon others to do so, marshalling in-between the lines.

With *Rosicky’s nose currently busted, Ramsey’s worrying hamstring knack and Jack’s ankle giving way again coupled with the foolishness of Flamini’s tackle; of which I have to echo Iron Man’s disappointment (Iron Man's thoughts here) at the hypocrisy of Wenger describing it as ‘harsh’. I understand he wants to defend his players but if the roles were reversed Wenger would be the first to bemoan that type of challenge, it doesn’t seem outrageous to believe that Oxlade Chamberlain will start in the centre of the pitch this weekend.

Firstly, I will state that he is rusty at the moment, he has spent the first half of the season on the physio table and it will take him a few more games before his confidence and match fitness returns; but if you can stretch your memories back to preseason, he was putting in some great performances and was trusted to start the game against Aston Villa on the opening day of the season.

In the past, Wenger has compared him to Gerrard, and I think he does possess some of the qualities that Gerrard has displayed throughout his career. He is fond of switching the ball with the odd Hollywood pass, he can shoot and drives at defences, he is physically robust and quick; all attributes which would lead you to believe that he would certainly end up in the middle of the park at some stage. However, it is his inexperience, tactical naivety and rustiness that would certainly show up in the cons box.

Normally at this stage of the transfer window, with four centre midfielders injured or unavailable a manager may look for a short term solution in the transfer window; but as you and I both know, Arsene Wenger is no run of the mill manager. He loves to look for the ‘internal solution’ and in Oxlade Chamberlain it seems he may have one. There is also the belief that Wenger has already earmarked centre midfield for Chamberlain and is opposed to blocking his development by buying another centre midfielder.

It’s not out of the question that the young Englishman could come in and make an impact; he demonstrated his quality against Milan in 2012 in centre mid when we were short on options, is it really out of the question that Wenger will trust him again against Crystal Palace this weekend?

On somewhat of a tangent, it may add weight to the rumours that we are in for Draxler given that the Ox would move more central and we would most certainly be lacking a pacy, direct player in his place; but that is all spurious stuff and not the sort of outcome I would ever place the mortgage on given Wenger’s capability to surprise us all.

And if none of this comes to fruition, Diaby surely can’t be far off match fitness (I say with a slight grimace).

Til next time,

JR Follow on Twitter

* Article was written before confirmation of Rosicky's weekend return - ML

Bonus Chambo Song written and produced by @RoxyArms, Video animation by yours truly (Mean Lean)

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  • 15 Sep 2015
    So let me stop reminiscing of days gone by and let me focus on our Welsh wonder. Let me start off by saying that I think it is quite obvious that Aaron Ramsey is better in central midfield. His partnership with Mesut Özil, his running from deep and his underrated ball winning ability makes him a ...Read more