Aaron Ramsey’s best position for Arsenal?

Ramsey’s best role Part 1 by JC

Before I begin the aim of this two part piece is not to claim that Arsenal don’t need another defensively minded midfielder in our squad, as I too, think we are a quality midfielder short. More to evaluate one of our extremely talented midfielders and how to properly utilise him.

There were two changes Wenger made in midfield that I believe to be the catalyst in our dramatic improvement in the second half of the season. We were turning the ball over far too much in our often patient build-up – which left us vulnerable to a quick transition in which we paid the price for too many times. Santi’s intelligence in dictating our play, ability to navigate in spaces an ant would feel claustrophobic, and masterful passing, had a huge impact on the way we structured our game both with the ball and without.

When it comes to defending I’m a strong believer that prevention is more important than the cure. Arteta was, and still is, subject to very heavy criticism by the majority of fans, myself included. People don’t picture him as a cog in our defensively organised team, it’s more the nightmarish flashbacks of accomplished, counter-attacking teams breaking on us with numbers and space, and opposition by-passing him with ease. The arguments for his deficiencies are based largely around the worst-case scenarios, which, at times have been an all too regular occurrence. Turnovers are inevitable and unavoidable but the cheap turnovers while left hopelessly outnumbered behind the ball are a different story. It was a common tactic that even weaker opposition used to deploy against us, to apply a hard midfield press as we’d always try to play through it. With the ball now we’ve started to show a lot more conscious responsibility. Large contributing factors are the orchestration, evasion and positional organisation of Santi. Even the most quality of opposition should be wary of the speed and incisiveness of our attack when the numbers are in our favour. Pressing with Santi is a very, very risky game due to the likelihood of him beating two, sometimes three would-be tacklers with ease and the space this creates.

The other big change was Coquelin’s seamless inclusion into the first-team. I’m a big believer that one of the reasons he was so successful was he was tasked with a much more simplified role of winning the ball back and recycling it to one of our play-makers. Nothing more, nothing less. Our much improved defensive shape, and defending as a unit, afforded him the opportunities to take risks in attempts to win the ball back, and though he was excellent in preventing the more promising of opposition moves he displayed as much, if not more, quality when it came to breaking up moves in the very early stages of their attack. His tackling is absolutely first-class and won balls, to quote Chamberlain, ‘he has no right to,’ but for me, the most impressive trait was his reading of the game and anticipation. But one question I’d like to put forward is is he a traditional or ‘pure DM’ as a lot of people suggest? Or is he more of a midfield destroyer or B2B enforcer? Personally, due to the pro-active nature of his role and the way Santi often occupies the deepest position I feel he blends between the two.

The big question for me is which role does Ramsey fit into more? After reading the JustArsenal comment sections for so long I don’t think there’s any cause for debate in him being best suited to a deeper role. But I do see a lot of suggestions, particularly when we are playing the top teams, of a combination of say Ramsey, Coquelin, and for arguments sake, Krychowiak. I’ll agree, without the ball that looks to be an insurmountable wall, though with the ball I have big, big question marks about the ability of any of the three to link defence and attack. Ramsey’s final ball has grown from strength to strength over the years, except I think vision for the final ball often gets confused with an ability keep the attack ticking and dictate the play. There’s a big difference between the two. What would certainly be an upgrade on our defensive personnel would be a significant downgrade on our attacking and midfield combinations. Heavily marking Ozil and pressing the deeper two would make it very, very hard work for us to put together promising moves through midfield which is usually our biggest strength.

I will continue in part two!


Tags Arteta Coquelin Ramsey


      1. you should Listen to yourself !……..Ramsey has been with us 4 how many seasons now?……… Still don’t know what’s best for him?

        1. go visit caughtoffside then. seems more up your alley…
          Please enlighten those who don’t know then? explain ramsey’s role in the team

  1. @SoOpa AeoN
    I think the fans gave up on Wenger buying a new player….so its down to how do we use what we got…

    1. @Gunner……. If wenger gives up on new signings……. We all know how it turns out when the inevitable happens……….. And did u just say “use what we got” ? …….Like playing Ramsey on the wings or as D.M?

    2. Ramsey’s best position is the box-to-box role. But Santi is just too good to be dropped. I’ll say start Ramsey and drop Coq in games we don’t need a destroyer(like the Swansea game we lost last season). We’ve also been clamoring for strength in depth. I like Rambo, but he’s got to stop making some silly mistakes in other to really challenge the magician.
      I also see Wilshere as a B2B MF….Modric’s role in Madrid.

    3. Haha I don’t think it’s necessarily that!! Though eagerly awaiting transfer news will most likely leave you a nervous wreck for 90% of the window..

  2. OT: Stock City is slowly building a good team, a fix of rugby players and some skillful players. Is there cause to be concerned, yes!!! WE ALL KNOW WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE MEET THEM.

    Back to the topic, Rambo should mostly play besides the DM or as the DM himself as we have seen in some games during the pre-season (this should ONLY be done considering the opposition). It will be tough for him getting into the team though as Carzola and Le Coq are playing well and we have wingers available too. Tricky decisions ahead

  3. Best New position for Ramsey is in another team

    We need to make many changes during next two months.

    Sell Ramsey and Wilshere
    Sign Pogba and Busquets

    Sell Mertsacker and Chambers
    Sign Hummels and Verane

    Sell Giroud and Akpom
    Sign Cavani and Benzema

    Sell Walcott, Welbeck and Oxlade
    Sign Reus, Greizmann and Pedro

    Perfect transfers for PL winning team
    Next summer we can make a lot more transfers for a CL winning team.

    1. @RobertTheGooner my #ss. You mean @RobertTheSpursInfiltrator.

      Clearly you want to be a fan of some other team. I’d try Real Madrid and see how that works out for you.

    2. dont know what word in english can be best used to describe this comment.
      Lost for words.
      all i can do is applaud you (with sarcasm) and thumb you down.
      I now want to ask the admin for a 1000 thumb down button to be created.

  4. @Gunner……. If wenger gives up on new signings……. We all know how it turns out when the inevitable happens……….. And did u just say “use what we got” ? …….Like playing Ramsey on the wings or as D.M?

  5. I think his best position is midfield personally, although we haven’t seen him in goal, so hard to comment on that.

    Who else was disappointed in the challenge presented by Lyon at the Emirates Cup?

    I thought they displayed a lack of skills, a lack of passion, and a Lacazette!!

    1. Like it was staged with a stern warning to Lacazette: “Hey! Lacazette, pLs do all you can to pLay woefully when we meet Arsenal, so wenger won’t come bidding for u ” L()L

  6. Who says wenger does not like spending,while mourihno ask for scrutiny of arsenal spending.Take a calculator wenger is buying the title! ffp is illegal why the complain,but homegrown rule is forcing avarage english players into big clubs to warm the bench!

    1. Yes. You have a keen eye identifying one key problem with the homegrown rule – some English players going to big clubs just above their talent-level.

      Did Delph not just sign with ManCity? Did he not see what happened to Sinclaire and others? I fear they have just switched positions between ManCity and Villa like tag team wrestlers. “Your turn to sit on the bench (or in the stands – no room even on the bench) and take home some of that big City salary.”

  7. I think Ramsey is a
    very solid utility.
    He can start or
    come on in the 70th.
    He can play deep, wing or B2B.
    He may even develop into a genuine DM.
    And he can score goals.
    Midfield utility about covers it
    But then that also describes another
    7 Arsenal 1st team players.

  8. lets sign biglia as a replacement for flamini (choir master). Biglia could be the cover for coq . He is experienced, good tackler and his passing is good. As for ramsey, I think he’ll have to settle for a place on the wing unless wenger decides to put ozil on the wing(which I doubt).

    1. Never seen Ramsey play in the hole behind the striker. Wonder how he’ll do there if Wenger does push Ozil wide and put him. But our success second half last season was built on Cazorla at CM and Ozil at CAM so don’t think Wenger will mess with that. So that Ramsey has to be on the wings. Now when Alexis comes back it becomes interesting because I think Alexis and Ox are our best Wingers.

  9. Ramsey’s best position is as deep-lying attacking midfielder. Definitely an attacker but he excels when operating from a deeper position = he makes so many critical high energy surges forward from deep but is fully comfortable in the attacking 3rd also.

    The real problem is how to fit Ramsey in with the other players in the squad using Wenger’s formation preferences. Wenger wants Ramsey, Cazorla, and Ozil together on the pitch. But that usually means one of them must play out of position somewhere.

    If Ozil plays #10 then either Ramsey or Cazorla often plays a deeper role. Most recently it has been Cazorla so Ramsey often does NOT play his best position. Understandably Wenger wants Ramsey on the pitch so he is shuffled off to RW – but only on paper as he almost always goes central or swaps positions with a central player.

    In either case this situation often leaves the RW lacking which is no problem for Wenger – he does not place an emphasis on wing play – but for many fans it does not seem ideal to just abandon one wing. And if Ox plays RW there seems to be no more room on the pitch for Ramsey.

    In the past Wenger has tried playing Cazorla or Ozil on the LW but it often did not work well and now Sanchez owns that spot. The problem is further exacerbated by the presence of Wilshere who also often occupies the deeper-sitting attacking role. Maybe Wenger has other plans for him this season.

    Clearly with the depth in the squad Wenger will need to employ some kind of rotation system to keep his quality players sharp and on the pitch.

    1. Problem (albeit not a bad problem) is if Ozil is playing CAM, Walcott RW and Alexis LW And Coquelin as DM. Who do you play deep-lying cm? Ramsey or Cazorla

      Also when Wilshere comes into form that creates a bigger headache

      I suppose you just rotate

      Anyway, all those players being injury free at the same time is probably unlikely

    2. Ahh a constructive comment! Appreciate it!
      With reference to Wilshere I honestly thought Wenger was eventually going to groom him for Cazorla’s role as a deep-lying playmaker, though Wenger’s recent comments took me a bit by surprise in that he favours him in an attacking position. His game reminds me a bit of Rosicky’s in the way that he’s always looking to advance the ball and keep the tempo up so I guess it makes sense. Wenger has so often referenced using the wings as a solid learning tool as the line restricts the space to operate so midfielders improve in working in tight spaces. Wilshere has a very aggressive brand of attacking play that’s quite unique. I think we’ll see a bit of experimentation with him this year which isn’t a bad thing. He’s a very skilled, versatile player who can contribute wherever he’s played.
      In reference to RW, I think based on current players we’ll have a front three of Sanchez, Giroud and Theo. Striker will be initially given to Giroud and if he fails to produce it’ll be Sanchez, Theo and Ox.
      I don’t think it’s necessarily ‘abandoning’ a wing, more opting for the additional play-maker to combine with if we’re looking to patiently build or dominate possession. In the Liverpool game our press was phenomenal. Ramsey and Sanchez were both tireless in pressing their respective flanks. Caused quite a few turnovers.
      It really didn’t help matters that our 1st 2nd and 3rd choice’s were out (in an attacking forward sense, not playing the additional midfielder)… Gnabry must be kicking himself he wasn’t fit! Was the perfect season for him to break out!

    1. Yes. He was fantastic
      Vidal is excellent all around (defensively and offensively)
      Alexis is was excellent too.
      I don’t rate Vargas that highly generally but he was excellent in the tournament as well

      Chile deserved to win.

    2. I agree. Both of them have such a rounded game. Ramsey doesn’t have the aggression Vidal does, but he’s actually a very, very good defender. It’s the fact that his so good at scoring and joining the attack that the rest of his game often gets glossed over..

    1. If it falls through it should be ok. He’s a talented, hard-working international. Shouldn’t be too hard to find a buyer.
      I really don’t like slating Arsenal players.. Especially the passionate ones. But I was somewhat relieved to not see Flamini over the weekend. The fact that he preferred to give Hayden a run may be a bit of a sign for him leaving…

  10. Mourinho: ‘Arsenal’s spending? Wenger needs a calculator!’
    Net spend since 03/04:
    Chelsea: £507m
    Arsenal: £95m

    It’s good that Jose is talking about Arsenal… it means he’s threatened

  11. Ramsay best position is on the bench….

    lets spend some money and get some quality players…

    1. i usually take your comments as ironic jokes or jeux de mots…i even thumb u up sometimes
      but no…implying that aaron has no quality and actually dsaying he belongs in the bench…
      just no hafiz

  12. Ramsey is the most complete midfielder we currently have.Funny how people forget how Ramsey tore defences apart 2 seasons ago

  13. Mourinho is just rude, classless jerk.
    He enjoys insulting Wenger. He has a long history of this. Wenger doesn’t stoop to that level

  14. Hafiz says the truth but you ppl are to much of fan boys to admit it. Who is Ramsey supposed to bench? Ozil? Santi?

  15. When you see Ramsey playing anyone would know his role.He is a box to box player as simple as that.He closes down every ball in his path,creates chances and tries to score.He is an engine in the middle of the bark.He is a player who does not like to be restricted.He is everywhere.Box to Box is Ramsey’s role.Wenger should buy Krychowiak as competition as we are a top team.

  16. I feel for Ramsey because his best position is as a CM in a 4-4-2. Nobody plays that anymore but the license to attack and defend is Ramsey’s strongest role. Of our midfielders he is the most likely player to make runs in and around the box, as well as having one of the best killer instincts in our midfield. You want Ramsey in the attack, but equally, he is an engine who will chase down players and cause alot of trouble in the opposition midfield. SO what is his best position?

    The answer is probably in the B2B role. Simply put he gets from box to box and is best in the box when arriving second or third. He is good at turning on the ball so is great for starting moves in the midfield and has a knack for beating players if we win quick turn over.

    That brings the dilemma Ramsey or Cazorla. My answer is dependent on situation. There is a situation where using both is best – i.e. against minnows or teams determined to defend deep. The added quality of passing and movement means we can actually get that goal instead of just drawing. Yes, we can be countered, but Ramsey and Cazorla are actually quite good as a 2 on the defensive side of things, at least agains the smaller teams.

    Now if we’re NOT playing a minnow/heavy defence I think this comes down to form. Cazorla is probably, on most days, a better player than Ramsey. IF we are purely talking about that 1 position and slotting them in, then Cazorla will usually get the nod. BUT if Ozil is out, you use Santi and Rambo. If the RW gets decimated, Rambo can go over there. Late in the game if we’re trailing you sacrifice Coq for Rambo to push the opposition back. LOADS of options. So best position is B2B CM but he will be used in varying roles to suit the game…exactly how he should be.

  17. Cazorla abilities i feel are a bit limited when playing deep.Most of his contributions are further up the pitch.

  18. I feel Ramsey is better than Cazorla in the box to box role.He offers much more than him over there and he needs to play for me.He is just made for that role.

    1. Ball controll: Santi>Ramsey
      Shooting abilites: Santi>Ramsey
      Dribbling/Agility: Santi>Ramsey
      Vision: Santi>Ramsey

      Also. Ramsey lacks the composure to play in this role. His football brain is also slow as he tends to takes his time before he makes a move. If you are slow in this poz, it can be very fatal as mistakes means that the opposite team can hit us with ease with a counter.

      Ramseys game is like Dirk Kuyts. ( you remember him right)?. Good in everything, not the best at anything.

      1. I see what you are saying but I stand by my word Ramsey is a better box to box player than santi cazorla.Cazorla would not stand a chance against him if he had the 2013/2014 form even at his best.Cazorla’s best comes from the Amf even if you try to deny it.Cazorla is better at Amf than at box to box where Ramsey is better than him.You need a player like Ramsey at box at box.He just cant be ignored unless at poor form.I am not short sighted or do i judge a playuer by one game .Watching Cazorla at box to box and Ramsey there i feel Ramsey is better and that is my opinion.Its a pity it will take long before some realize.

  19. Ramsey’s best position is the B2B/ deep lying attacking midfielder role. But since we have a better player in Carzola currently playing that role with great results. And since we certainly can’t bench Ozil for Ramsey and we equally need to play Ozil and Carzola together, the only option left is to use Ramsey as a sub for Carzola, or bring him in at the 70th minute when Ozil burns out to play the B2B role while Carzola moves into the playmaker/CAM role.

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