Arsenal boss has bad news for Ramsey and Wilshere

With Arsene Wenger having decided not to pursue the transfer of Morgan Schneiderlin, assuming the Arsenal transfer rumours linking him with us were right in the first place, there would appear to be a little less competition in the centre midfield of the Arsenal team for the coming season.

Both Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere have spoken recently about their desire to play in the middle rather than out wide, although both did also acknowledge that this is a very strong area of the squad for the Gunners. So the Welshman and the Englishman are probably quite happy that Schneiderlin is not coming to north London, but the boss had a bit of bad news for the pair this morning.

In an interview reported by the Frenchman was asked about various things from last season and about which players excelled and he picked out the two central midfielders Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla, the players that Jack and Aaron are up against for a place in the starting XI.

Wenger said on the best breakthrough performer, “You would say Francis Coquelin. He is the most unexpected player to make it from January onwards. I don’t think I am exaggerating if I say he convinced everybody that he played a huge part and contributed very well.”

And on the outstanding player of the season he said, “Santi Cazorla – throughout the season – was absolutely top, from the start to the finish, and he played more than 50 games.”

And for most of those games, especially in the second half of the season, the Spaniard was playing right where Ramsey and Wilshere want to play, in the box to box midfield role. So how do you rate their chances of beating Cazorla to the role this season?

Tags Cazorla Coquelin Wenger


  1. If they can stay healthy they will get plenty of playing time with rotation and subs, the FA/capital one cup and CL games all in one season.

    1. That’s the level of competition expected at this club now. This is how we should feel about every position in the starting 11 – this is currently lacking in the striker and DM department, everywhere else has a strong claim for said competition.

    2. Totally agree with Dennis, this is a matter of player management, R & R (rest and rotation), there`s plenty of opportunities for game time, it`s a long season. Over to you Mr. Wenger.

    3. Did you here that Charles,straight from the horses mouth and an end to this Shcienlen crap. Wenger knows best CB

  2. How long can santi continue. I rate him but let us not kid ourselves, he needs some support. As for Coq , well jury is yet to be out on him. This season will be the key in determining whether he is a great footballer or he was just a half season wonder.

    1. Arsenal players can’t be one season wonders, that’s only reserved for non-Arsenal players if you haven’t noticed by the comments on here.
      Coquelin in fact can only get better, another special circumstance reserved for Arsenal talents and nobody else….our young guys will only go up while others like Sterling will be “like Shaun Wright-Phillips in a couple of years”.

      C’mon Wayne, know your audience 🙂

      1. Did you here that Charles,straight from the horses mouth and an end to this Shcienlen crap. Wenger knows best CB

    2. How long can Santi continue? Well take pirlo and xavi as 2 recent examples of how playing as a deep lying playmaker can lengthen your career. I see no reason why Santi cannot emulate both players both in terms of longevity and world class status.

      I also disagree about the Dm situation, I think in coquelin, cazorla and ozil we have a first class centre midfield. Wilshire Ramsey chamberlain chambers arteta rosicky and even flamini can provide ample support.

      With the squad now currently sitting at 25 players classed as over 21 (born 1993) I think only when a keeper (or two) is moved on or a forward (campbell or Wellington) will replacements be sought.

    1. Motta 32!!!
      Thought Wenger was all
      about giving youth a chance?
      May be Wenger just likes
      the number sequence?
      Koz 29 Mertz 30 Flamini 31
      Motta 32 Arteta 33 Rosicky 34 🙂

  3. @Ezat: In another posting I had the audacity to suggest that Benzema was probably a 2nd tier striker like Giroud. Your reply stated that I did not know “jacksh#t” about football for comparing these 2 strikers. Well here are some facts from last season. You know – actual facts.

    Goal Scoring Rate Per Appearance:
    Benzema scored 22 goals in 45 appearances – goal scoring rate of .49 goals per app.
    Giroud scored 19 goasl in 36 appearances – goal scoring rate of .52 goals per app.

    Goal Production Rate Per Appearance: (Goals + Assists)
    Benezema produced 34 goals in 45 = goal production rate of .76 goals per app.
    Giroud produced 23 goals in 36 apps = goal production rate of .63 goals per app.

    Goal Production Rate per 90 Minutes Played: (approx)
    Benzema = .77 goals per 90 minutes (44 starts, 1 sub)
    Giroud = .76 goals per 90 minutes (26 starts, 10 sub)

    So I may know “jacksh#t” as you say but I do know these stats support my position and completely destroy yours – your belief that Benzema is a far superior striker.

    The mere mention of Giroud on this site sends many fans into an irrational tizzy. We all want a better striker. Giroud should not ideally be #1. But we don’t need to dive headlong into the abyss of insanity just because we want a better striker and because some fans have an irrational hatred of Giroud. Giroud is NOT the enemy here. He is just not #1 material.

    1. I am still always amazed when fans “thumbs down” mere facts. Now THAT is denial in its purest form.

        1. Now FACTs are delusions and opinions are reality? Wow. Amazing.

          A Life Lesson: REALITY is NOT Optional

    2. “Gabriel has good stats,” said Wenger. “We look at interceptions, defensive errors, winning tackles, committing to win the ball, set-piece receptions, these kind of things. BUT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS THROUGH THE EYE.”

      So Benzema scored 3 more goals and 8 more assists in 9 extra games…ie the equivalent, if all were decisive goals, to potentially 22 more points. Yet you think this doesn’t show that Benzema is far better than Giroud? Interesting.

      Also, this is merely the statistical analysis. Frankly if you take what Wenger says above, ‘through the eye’ it would take a complete moron to suggest Benzema is anything but a massive upgrade to Giroud.

      1. @champagne, just read your comment again please. The guy came up with facts but in your usual minute thinking ability, you countered by saying “if benz goals were decisive” why couldnt you state whether they are decisive or not or rather tell us the number points he won with his decisive goals.

        1. Perhaps because I don’t hold statistics in as high regard as someone like yourself, strangely enough neither does Wenger…

          I merely find it comical to suggest a few extra goals and assists ‘not’ being reason for someones superiority. Any single game is decided by 1 goal so how is a player who produces more goals and directly leads to others NOT warranted as better? Ridiculous logic.

        2. Yes you have to wonder how many decisive goals there are for Real Madrid to score in an average season. So I had a look. They won 30 games last year, scored 118, scored 9 once, 8 once, 7 once, 5 three times, 4 on 6 occasions and 3 nine times. In La Liga last year Benzema scored 15 and none were outright winners. His only statistical contribution was scoring the 1st goals in 2-1 wins against Malaga and Cordoba.

          He did better in the UCL with 6 goals, one a winner against Ludogorets and the other a solitary winner in a 1-0 against Liverpool. Neither changed the outcome of the group. Scored one in the knock-out stages in a 3-4 loss against Schalke.

          Giroud scored 14 in PL. 1 was the effective equaliser against L’Pool in 2-2 draw. 1 was first goal in 2-1 win against QPR. 1 was a 90th minute equaliser against Everton. 1 was a winner against Palace. Scored both in a 2-0 win against Newcastle. We won or drew every game he scored in except the 1-2 loss to United.

          So not massively impressive for either. But having said that I know I could get similarly unimpressive winners/critical goal stats for Costa last season and Suarez the season before. Would be interesting to know which strikers have secured the most points with their goals over recent seasons. Always difficult to adjudge which goals were critical – last minute winners in single goal victories are easy to spot and record but how do you rate/assess the importance of a first goal in a 2-1 win for instance?

        3. Charlie’s 1st team Schienlen in goal ,and right back and left back and striker and centre back,bottle man ,boot man physio and Sub . Coquelin to fill the other places CB

      2. Why? Because he plays for Real Madrid? Benzema is better than Giroud but not by much. He’s still miles off of being ‘world class’. Not worth the money. He doesn’t score enough, he’s not active enough and he’s not clinical enough to be a world class striker. Benzema squaders loads of straight forward chances when he plays. Not really a striker to be afraid of, and for good reason.

        1. Not worth engaging with such a warped view. ‘Benzema isn’t much better than Giroud’…..*sigh* ok then.

    3. @mohawk,
      Have you ever watched both play?
      It takes an ignoramus to not see that Benzema is on another class compared to Giroud. Just by mere style of play excluding statistics…Benzema is better to watch. We have always had strikers that were amazing to watch. Henry created lots of awe moments, so did RVP. Rarely does Giroud produce an awe moment. Benzema has that factor.
      Then you also have to account for the fact that Benzema plays in a team that plays and centres around Ronaldo and has been like that for the past 6 years. At Arsenal, no one eclipses Giroud. The team is not centred on one superstar so more service naturally comes his way but he does not score enough to justify the amount of service the midfield produces for him.
      Also, where do you get your stats from? I don’t believe in just stats but just out of curiosity I checked two stats based sites that don’t only just focus on numbers but on a player’s ability as well (passing, dribbling, creativity, crossing, finishing, assisting) and Benzema is rated a lot higher than Giroud.
      Since you like numbers….here is one for you, total score on squawka for Giroud is 404.09 and total score for Benzema is 957.57.

      1. Well if you want to use Squawka attack scores, here’s one for you: Sergio Aguero – 1510.96.

        Benzema is still miles off of world class.

        1. So what are you trying to justify here? That we shouldn’t get Benzema because he is not better than Aguero and continue with an average garbage?
          I think I would agree any time of day that Aguero is better than Benzema. But Benzema is nearer to world class than Giroud is and a better fit for Arsenal than Giroud.
          Benzema or Lacazette would do the job with our creative midfield force behind them.

          1. The extra that Benzema would add to the team is not worth the £40m transfer fee needed to bring him here. That’s why I don’t want him. He is better than Giroud, but not £40m better.

            1. Well sorry, don’t think Ozil is 42M either or Sterling is 49M or that Bale is above 60M.
              That’s what clubs pay when they want to win and want to get their man at the moment and it yields results. That’s what needs to happen if this club wants to be great again. Best believe if Benteke is going for 32.5M, you bet Benzema is at least 35M. So 40M doesn’t seem that unreasonable.

            2. Why do you care about the fee? AFC are paying for it. They will only pay if it is worth it.

              I really don’t get why fans get so worked up over fees.

              1. Because we don’t have the money to compete pound for pound with the other title contenders. They all have more funds than we do. We can compete, but the only way we can do it is if we spend our money more wisely than they do – get higher quality per £ spent. £40m for a not so big improvement to the team seems like an awful waste to me.

                1. It’s not my money in the same way it’s not my club. But I still care about and support the club. Once that money is spent, it’s gone. We don’t have a billionaire’s pockets we can just dip in to, so whenever we do spend money, I want us to spend it well.

              2. Exactly. Arsenal are valued at $1.3billion by Forbes May 2015 with a revenue of $487mil, this fan outrage at fees in excess of 20mil is ridiculous.

                The top level is all about nuance, 40mil gets Benzema because he is the incremental difference from good to great….which in turn is the incremental difference potentially from 3rd to 1st.

                Our fans rave about Ozil, but what do the stats say about him vs Cazorla’s contribution? One cost 42mil, the other 16mil…is Ozil almost 3x as productive? Clearly not. I mean it’s as if fans expect a ST worth 40mil to score 20 more goals than one worth 20mil. Absolute ignorance.

                1. My goodness you’re arrogant and patronising. The thing is, you’re completely missing the point. Benzema isn’t a £40m striker. That’s the point. He isn’t good enough. Benzema scored 15 goals in the league last season, only one more than Giroud, far below the level of any ‘world class’ striker. Yet you think he’s worth £40m because of the badge on his shirt – that’s ignorance.

                2. Arrogant because i’m not ignorant? Whatever you say.

                  I’m not missing the point in the slightest, that’s reserved solely for you arguing about a price tag that’s decided by several factors outside of a players ability. See Sterling for measure of how a price tag relates to the quality of the footballer. Whether Benzema was bought for 4 or 40mil is not my concern, he’s a superior footballer in every way to Giroud – except your bias has you blabbering on about him being on equal footing.

                  If Benzema isn’t worth the money, or upgrades us significantly, then why aren’t we challenging for all the major honors? Because to turn your nose up at Benzema must indicate we have some seriously good footballers at our club. Except as ever with the mass of Arsenal fans we “aren’t good enough” during the season when we don’t challenge, and then established world talents playing for bigger and better clubs “aren’t better” than what we have.

                  How does that add up exactly? Benzema has done a mighty fine job conning all of Madrid and Spain to be their ST for 6 years given the revolving door of attacking talent we see go on at that club….it’s def not because he’s a superb footballer though, that would go against your stat book. Tell you what why doesn’t Arsene just go for a swap deal Giroud for Benz?

          2. Many of these comments prove my point. The mere mention of Giroud and his FACTUAL stats sends many fans into a tizzy.

      2. So what are we saying – Benzema is twice as good as Giroud, has more skill, easier on the eye to watch, plays for a bigger team, is more clinical but scores at the same rate? Seems fair enough but paying £40M to bench what you have in the expectation/hope that he will up his goal rate after 10 seasons of top flight football and that goals will start magically start flying in from all angles is bit of a punt. Rather your £40M than mine.

        The Ronaldo “excuse” is laughable. Take out all of CR7’s 113 league goals for the past 3 seasons and Real still scored another 212 goals – or put another way, even without CR7’s goals RM still scored more than we scored in those 3 seasons. And Ronaldo created 182 chances in that time – who were they for? Real created 324 more chances than Arsenal in the 3 seasons! And please, Arsenal set up for Giroud? Do me a favour. You overestimate our midfield creativity – 2nd, 5th and 7th in the PL for last 3 seasons for chances created – and you overestimate the proportion of that service that goes to OG. When was the last time you saw someone get to the bye-line and whip in a cross for him – happens once in a blue moon. He actually gets quite miserable service in my opinion – he is clearly not the main or sole focal point for the team – he is often a decoy as much as a target.

        And Benezma was no goal monster at Lyon – and no Ronaldo there. Not a huge difference between them at international level either, 0.33 v 0.27 goals/game.

        At their very best Benzema is not close or in the same class as other centre forwards such as Suarez, Ibrahimovic, Lewandoski, Cavani, Falcao. Hell, I think Rooney is better than KB both as an all-round player and as a reliable goal source. Aguero is different class as well but does not really operate as a CF.

        1. The Ronaldo excuse is laughable for Benzema, but when Wenger came out and said Alexis was inhibited by playing at Barca because the team goes through Messi….that was relevant. It’s pick and choose on this forum with circumstance. It can be laughable to you all you like but point of fact is the entire attacking sector of Madrid is built FOR Ronaldo, meaning a selfless ST (Benz) is preferential to a goal-getter (Higuain).

          Now Rooney’s better than Benzema, heard it all now. I think what’s evident here, if nothing else, is that too many fans are completely oblivious to Benzema as a footballer. Would love us to sign him just so I could watch all the dissenters wax lyrical and change their tune entirely. Our fans seemingly always need to find a reason NOT to buy top players, Vidal isn’t needed, Suarez last time round was a liability….comical views time and again.

    4. You don’t get to play for Real Madrid for 6 years unless you are top quality, comparing stats is a childs way of assessing players at the best of times (fit for computer games only), let alone comparing stats from two completely different leagues!

      Don’t get me wrong, I like Giroud, but Benzama is a real real step up, no ifs or buts, anyone who can’t see this is an idiot.

      1. I read your comments on here and you are a well-reasoned sensible sort so I am not going to take issue with your opinions. I get it with KB, I really do, he looks the business, is elegant and nice to watch. But the elephant in the room is that at Real (over an extended period of time), at his previous club and for France he is not prolific. He is bog-standard less than a goal every other game. Not wishing to put you on the spot here but if we bought Benzema and Giroud left, what would expect to see for your £40M? You think he would take our CF goal tally to another level with no adverse effect on say Alexis or Walcott’s ability to score – Benzema is a very different CF to OG and whilst many mock OG for his back-to-goal stuff he does unlock space for the likes of AS/TW to run in to. KB likes the same sort of runs/lines.

        I’ve asked the question and started to answer it myself – Benzema is better, won’t get a huge amount more goals than OG, if any at all, and will in my opinion take maybe a little off our wide players in terms of the runs he likes to make. I saw some BS report that Lewandoski was available for £35M – for me I would take him in a heartbeat over KB. Very smart player, very complete and for me has the best all-round CF out there.

        1. the only number that doesnt lie is our league position and cl track record …..everyone agrees that giroud cant make us a team that competes at the top…and anyone with half a fball brain knows that walcott wont do it for us either in CF we need an upgrade on attack front…we are the 7th richest club on planet so spending to do so should not be an issue…if benzema is not it…and he is better than giroud but not a lot…who is that player…carvani certainly isnt that much better and would cost more so wenger wont go down that road….other options seem unlikely to move…surely its time to think whether we would be better off with barca style attacking options rather than classic CF…if so who would best complement sanchez and walcott (not my choice but only possibility unless akpom emerges dramatically)? pedro is underrated on this site, griezman would be possibility or reus or even converting drexler to more forward role…all i know is that we dont have a top 14 set of players to win major titles and the real worry is that wenger cant accept that

        2. I don’t disagree about Lewandowski, I’d take him over KB any day, however that wasn’t the argument.

          Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to see Giroud leave, but supplementing our attack with a player of KBs’ talent would only push the team on.

  4. Jack Wilshere will play a lot
    “IF” he an avoid injuries.
    Ramsey will play a lot
    of B2B and is a very versatile
    midfield sub so will be constantly involved.

  5. Speaking of Ramsey and Wilshere, am I the only one who wants to see them play together in the two central position at the base of our midfield trio? With Ramsey playing in his usual B2B role and Wilshere in the role he has shined for England so oftenly: CDM.

    1. Wilshere has NOT really played a traditional DM role for England – more B2B. It is possible Wilshere can handle that role. But I don’t see Coq giving way very often – he has been solid and is really the only qualified true DM in the club. (Not counting Flamini). Even Arteta was just faking it.

    2. They dont complete each other. One must play, the other has to rest. Still both of them are inferiour to Santi.

    3. I completely agree they can play together Wilshere at the base, Ramsey as a box to box but it think you need a third midfielder.who is willing to drop in when both go forward i.e Cazorla.

      I think these 3 could work in some games less Coquelin and Ozil.

      There is no doubt Wilshere is better in a deeper role, he can dictate from there similar to Santi.

  6. I actually will never believe Wenger denying a possible transfer, dat man will never say YES to whatever he’s asked, we of all fans should be used to that.
    Some says Madrid wont sell Benzema if they cant find a better striker, i dont agree. I honestly think Cr7 is fading as a fringe player, (lately) he hardly get pass a defender but scores for fun.
    The following day Benitez signed, he said “i will like and consider Ronaldo to be the No.9, he can score more dan he already does”.
    I think Benzema could actually be deemed surplus “if” Madrid gets an efficient left wing player and Ronaldo eventually moves to the middle.

    We can get him, the “wait” is just so hard.

  7. I think Wilshere has something good to offer coming in from that right hand side. He’s never been a winger but it was only Ramsey’s class as a well rounded footballer that prevented him looking like a complete fish out of water in that right hand position. Plus, despite scoring a few less goals, he warranted the accommodation in the starting XI that he was getting.

    Assuming no major right-sided signing, perhaps Wilsh will have to contend with at least some of his game-time being out on the right. He needs to be accommodated and Ramsey can’t play on the right forever.

    I don’t see Wilshere as a DM at this point in his career though. Doing it for England against substandard opposition isn’t evidence enough and he’s far too much of a pain for defenders to deal with when he gets dribbling and gets in and around the box.

  8. The CEO of the Premier League has told Tottenham that their plan of relocating to MK Dons and playing some games at Wembley whilst their new stadium is built is not acceptable and will be vetoed by the Premier League. He has recommended that they ask to share the Emirates Stadium with Arsenal until they can move into their new ground.

    Chelsea have offered £11m to use Wembley whilst Stamford Bridge is redeveloped, a bid believed to be substantially higher than Tottenham’s. West Ham have already ruled out sharing the Olympic Stadium with Tottenham. That leaves only 2 options. They play all their games at MK Dons, 50 miles from North London, or they share with Arsenal.

    Tottenham are in for a rough few years. The debt of building their new stadium will drag them down for a long time, just as the Emirates has done to us, though Tottenham don’t have the extra money that Champions League football brings, nor do they have a stable team and management.

    The lack of CL money will be made up for by the huge increase in PL TV rights compared to what they were over the past 10 years whilst we were paying off debts, but nonetheless, Tottenham will struggle, at a time when the benefits of our new stadium will finally come good.

    This should be a good few years for us. I expect us to win the title soon, and with our extra finances, hopefully become a strong force in Europe too. All whilst Spurs suffer. Should be great!

    1. Yes of course…lets care strongly about what Spurs are doing.
      Not Chelsea, not Man City, not Man Utd but Spurs because we are at similar levels.
      I am so happy because Spurs are going to suffer while building their stadium and we are going to take 4th and CL money again.
      Should be great!

    2. @mick the gooner I am not sure I can like sharing the stadium with spurs…not being selfish but can’t see it happening

  9. Sign a true CDM and ST. I am tired of Wenger same excuse every season. Few years ago he was saying once we pay stadium debt we will sign best players in the world and compete with the
    best. Now he only signs leftovers of Real and Barca. Why cant Wenger go all out and sign top players early in the window. He says there is plenty of money but very few top players available.
    How did Barca, Real, Bayern, Chelsea, PSG sign top players ? They didnt wait till deadline day to sign top players. For example if we are interested in Vidal just offer Juventus 40 m they want
    and sign him. Delay and u will lose ur main target.

    1. exactly. Wenger is yet again blowing another transfer window, surprise, surprise. He’s sitting around waiting for things to happen instead of being proactive. If he has a player in mind then he should just bid for him. All this waiting is just going to allow other alternatives to move elsewhere. If Lacazette leaves while we are waiting for Benzema I’m going to flip out. The chance of Benz leaving in the first place are very low.

    2. Please tell me why we need Vidal when we have Ramsey and Wilshere to play this role who are younger and equally effective. Typical fan who wants signings for the sake of it.

  10. I can’t believe people are questioning Benzema he is absolutely world class. He is so much better than Giroud its ridiculous. His style of play is absolute perfect for Arsenal. Regardless of stats his off the ball movement for others intelligence, link up play finishing and finesse makes him the perfect choice to play no 9. I would be over the moon if we brought him in. Otherwise i think the squad is fine at the moment, we are maybe lacking a bit of physicality in midfield but we are overloaded with players at the moment and they won’t all get games as it is.
    This is the first season that i would be relatively content if wenger were to make no additions. We are fine numbers wise even though we could certainly upgrade in 3 areas which are left back, backup DM and Striker. I am only interested in upgrades though which i am sure is wenger’s thinking. Out of these areas, the most important is striker as this is where points are mostly one and lost. Giroud is a decent player but I am sorry he just isn’t good enough to be the main striker for a title chasing team. He is not Arsenal standard. The way we play guarantees and any half decent striker goals. But it is the proportion of these goals that is important. A fit and free Benzema would probably bag 30 goals per season scoring in big games. So many times in El Classico the guy has stepped up to the plate. A link up of Ozil, Sanchez, Benzema would be truly frightening. In contrast to Benzema, Giroud just isn’t a big game player. At Chelsea (home) last year he squandered 3 absolute sitters and i am not even going to bring up Monaco where he could have scored 5 in the first leg. Benzema would have been walking off with the match ball in both of these games if presented with these chances. There are some players that need to have big seasons this year- Oxlade Chamberlain, Wilshere, Ramsey, Welbeck… Unfortunately I don’t really see a place for Theo he done well towards end of last year but unless Wenger is thinking of using him as a back up striker to our No 1 striker there are better options on the flanks. I have high hopes for Akpom as well this year could make a big impact for us.

    Dream strike force (main striker)

    1. Benzema
    2. Welbeck
    3. Walcott
    4. Akpom

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