Last season when Cesc Fabregas finally left to join Barcelona and with Arsene not signing a replacement (Arteta was not Cesc’s replacement) the responsibility fell on young Ramsey’s shoulders, who remember had just come back from a serious leg break. Added to that was Wilshere’s injury. Despite our horrific start I thought Ramsey started the season reasonably well. Despite everything not going his way he worked his socks off playing just behind Van Persie. He kept getting into good position but his finishing let him down. However he did create plenty of chances. He created the second highest chances last season for an Arsenal player with first being Van Persie. There was sudden dip in his form midway through the season and it was also a period where Arsenal struggled a bit. He subsequently lost his place and Rosicky took over Ramsey’s role and did well and even though Ramsey started a few games after that he featured more regularly from the bench. Overall it was not a bad season for Ramsey(3 goals and 8 assists) and there were plenty of encouraging signs.
Santi Cazorla was bought in the summer and with Diaby returning from injury Ramsey started the season on the bench. His first start of the season came against Manchester City playing wide right and he was probably our best player on the day. After that game he started playing more games out wide but it became obvious that it was not working. Yet Arsene has persisted with it.
Why on earth is Ramsey being played out wide? I am guessing the idea behind it is to give the team a better balance. But Ramsey is not all that good defensively. Nor does he possess any of the quality that a winger should have. And this is not the first time we are doing it either. Eboue did it and that didn’t really work out well. We even played Nicklas Bendtner, a 6ft 4in CF out wide. Needless to say that wasn’t exactly a success either. Ray Parlour did it well but he was a one off. Time and time again Arsene has tinkered with a player’s position.
The fact that we have to play a central midfielder out wide clearly highlights the weakness of our squad. At any other top premier league club do you see a central midfield playing out wide?? Glen Johnson,Enrique,Rafael and Bertrand have occasionally done it but as full backs they are better suited to do it. Liverpool tried it with Henderson and it failed miserably. And he is back playing in the middle and suddenly is playing a lot better.
I honestly feel sorry for Ramsey. When the team usually struggles fans always pick on a player (Eboue, Arshavin etc). And now it is Ramsey’s turn. He did have a couple of weeks of respite after Santos became the center of attention but now its back on Ramsey again. He looks low on confidence. Playing him out wide is not helping him and it is not helping the team either.
I am not suggesting that playing Ramsey centrally will solve our problems. His performances this season should have been better too. But surely playing him in his natural position will be the best for his development. His opportunities in the middle have been limited as Arsene has rarely rested Cazorla or Jack and you can see it is taking the toll on them. Why not try playing Cazorla out wide who has played well there for his previous sides and play Ramsey or Rosicky in the middle? I don’t have much hope as Arsene has never really been a big fan of squad rotation.
There is also the problem that our wingers are more interested in playing a central role. I really hope Arsene goes out and makes the necessary signings. Surely our scouting network is capable of finding a winger who actually likes playing out wide.
Mean Lean's Response
A common phrase amongst the football fan is that as long as you give everything for the shirt then you will get respect. Unfortunately this does not seem to be the case for Aaron Ramsey who covers more ground than most who never ever hides no matter what his form is like. He turned 22 last month and is more than likely to get better with each passing year so it astonishes me that so many people can write him off completely.
He is not yet ready to be a starter for me just yet but seems to always put in good performances when coming off the bench, so this is how I would like to see him used for this season until he can take those steps forward and show consistency in his passing and awareness of those around him.
The way I see Aaron Ramsey in a couple years is a more powerful all action player who scores goals and keeps the ball better than he does now. Perhaps a more technical Frank Lampard who incidentally also received stick from supporters as a youngster.
Check out this video below and replace Lamar with Ramsey, replace Redknapp with Wenger and look at what Lampard turned into. There are no guarantees that Ramsey will turn into a top quality player but let us not rule that out. Too many people look at younger players and think that is all they will become. Too many examples have proved otherwise including Frank Lampard.