Should Arsenal play Aaron Ramsey in the middle or on the wing?

Arsenal expect to have world class players in their side and whilst it’s good to show quality in the position you play, to be versatile in a number of positions increases your chances of getting regularly played. At Arsenal, we face the rather ‘fortunate’ problem of perhaps having one too many midfielders in the middle of the park. So much so that we actually have five well established central midfielders currently in our ranks competing for two spots. The likes of Cazorla can be interchangeable on the pitch, with the little Spaniard having also played CAM and on the wing in the past. However players like Xhaka, Coquelin and Elneny are left restricted to largely defensive roles and this means they have to share a single spot dedicated to a more defensive midfielder. It’s vital that to be a regular on the pitch for the Gunners in midfield, you have to show your quality and your ability to adapt.

One player who has put that exact case forward is Arsenal’s Welshman Aaron Ramsey, who has recently made his return to the squad after a 13 match absence. Ramsey returned from the Euros this summer in great form and was probably nailed on for a starting spot in the team. However he has now returned from injury to a side full of competition for places and he’ll have to work well to keep down a place. One thing that is positive for Ramsey is that he has often been selected by Wenger to play on the wing and although he may not be entirely comfortable playing such a position, Ramsey is happy to just be getting minutes on the pitch.

Following on from the 3-2 win over Ludogorets on Match Day Five of the champions league group stages, Ramsey said: “I prefer to play in the middle of the park, I’ve said that many times. Playing against Ludogorets will put me in good shape going into the weekend, and hopefully I can stay fit now. It was great to be back out there starting again, and to get 70-odd minutes. I’m ready now.”

As Ramsey said, he made his return from injury with a big 70 minutes for the side on Tuesday night. With Elneny and Coquelin in the centre of the park, Ramsey was positioned on the wing, where although he has shown glimpses of hope at times, we can all tell he isn’t really cut out for the job.

The issue with playing Ramsey on the wing in my opinion, is the fact that he lacks pace and his ball control is at times a bit off. Too often we see Ramsey take a heavy touch or place the ball just a little further than he can reach with his speed. This means that Rambo often struggles to beat his man defending on the wing and as a result, many of Arsenal’s attacking chances don’t come from the right sided wing.

It’s positive to see that Ramsey is willing to put in the effort no matter where he is selected to play. He clearly just wants to do his bit for the team. However I think that playing Ramsey on the wing is really only a positive option for Arsene Wenger when we are running low on fully fit wingers. All the time that the Ox, Iwobi and Walcott remain fit, then Ramsey should probably stick to fighting for a place in midfield.

What Wenger said about Ramsey: I just consider the next game and try to find the balance with the players to be in a position where they can give their best for the team. Aaron Ramsey has come back from 11 weeks injury you know, he has to come back, you do not come back [and have that] magic. It takes time but he can bring us his strengths in every single position – wide or central. He prefers to play central, to be central, and I can understand that. But when he plays wide he has enough freedom to be central as well.

“Yes, of course I speak with all of the players about their performances, about their positions. Most of the time I think you want the players to be happy and to play in their best position.”

Where do you think Ramsey is most likely to get a game?



  1. Wilshegz says:

    none, play him from the bench bringing him into the middle

  2. Jansen says:

    I think Ramsey should not be a starter for us but rather fill in for injured players.

    I think his best position is probably central midfield in a nr 10 posisiton.

    Unfortunately for him Ozil and Santi are both better nr 10s. So I would expect if Ozil gets injured that Wenger might want to move Santi to the nr 10 slot. This makes Ramsey 3rd in line IMO for a central role.

    On the right wing Theo is a much better option and a truer wide man with more pace and a better goal scorer. In games Giroud features in, Sanchez is also a better right wing option as is Ox IMO.

    On the left wing Iwobi and Perez are ahead of Ramsey and in DM he is behind all of Coq, Xhaka, Eleney and Santi.

    So for me barring injuries Ramsey hopefully doesn’t get near a strating role. He is not good enough compared to our other options.

    He is a good utility player as a result of his versatitly, who can fill in during times of injury crisis or come on as a substitute.

  3. muda says:

    Good article, but you should avoid some silly mistakes that make your write up less impressive. I.e
    1. It was game no. 4 NOT no. 5.
    2. It was Xhaka coquelin from the start, NOT Elneny coquelin.

    On topic: Ramsey should fight it in there with cazorlas, elnenys and xhakas. He’s no winger, beside the wing he use to play is occupied by our most in form player (theo).
    So case closed.

  4. Wilshegz says:

    in other news, Yaya Toure apologises to Pep which could mean he ll return to the squad.

    what does this mean to Arsenal title hopes considering how influential Yaya can be against sides that should have taken some points of City?

  5. TR7 says:

    i think you’d have asked if he currently have a place in the squad coz no other manager would play him on the wings ahead of TW,OX,Iwobi and Sanchez or centraly ahead of SC19,MO10,GX, COQ and ELN. Its only in AW that he gonna get game time.

    1. Break-on-through says:

      When you say no other manager do you really mean any Arsenal fan. I see managers play players in different positions all the time. Sometimes it’s about getting them prepared physically, other times it’s about game time to help them get back in the swing of things. Sometimes it’s tactically. Sometimes it’s about keeping players happy and keeping your squad large. I’m not a manager, but I’m sure there are other reasons. Fans aren’t nearly the manager they believe they’d be.

      By the way Alexis wasn’t the forward he is now when Arsene first made that change. Theo of last season is the one who Arsene put Ramsey ahead of, everyone wanted Theo gone, so did Arsene not have reason to try it.

  6. Break-on-through says:

    It depends on who we’re playing and where. In a counter attacking side Ramsey may not be ideal. When we’re trying to unlock a stubborn team Ramey has shown before he can be good in that situation. The pacy players have no space to run into, whilst Ramsey has enough passing, shooting, linking, defending, and controlling skills to try alternative routes in trying to break them down. He showed he Ozil and Bellerin worked pretty well together in those circumstance. I think Ramsey can join in in counter attacks as we’ve broke well with Ramsey in the side many a time. It’s just that wide players are usually esp quick, so it’s not like Ramsey’s slow. Ramsey’s probably our quickest CM player actually.

  7. summerbreez says:

    Ramsey did very well in the euro and it showed he is better in the middle I think he is too afraid because if his broken leg or his confidence is low because he is susceptible to big mistakes and at times he seems weak Why is that I don’t know but I know from watching him that he is a very good player dose he suit in the wings ? Nasri played there and was successful and effective I think Mr wenger is trying to mold him that way Football is a game and can be manipulated in many ways one being 442 perhaps he is better suited in that formation in the right midfield but not as a winger so maybe he should share carzolas job I dont know I am not MR Wnger and I have not been out to a training session to judge

  8. gotanidea says:

    Currently he is better in the central role. But if he can be an intelligent winger, like Messi, Mahrez, Mkhitaryan or Draxler, it would be great. A playmaker winger that does not have to dribble forward but cut inside and control the flow of the game. I believe he can be that type of player for us in the future.

  9. Inkfight says:

    Can’t understand a lot of the criticism Ramsey gets. He’s a fine player with a huge part to play in the squad this season, and we all know just what he’s capable of when he hits top form.

    With the right partner, and if he keeps things a little simple at times, he is an absolute beast. It will take him some time to get back into top form – but the moment, he’s more likely to make an impact coming off the bench than starting.

    Out of all our mid-fielders, he’s probably the best at driving the team forward – so yes, that obviously comes at the cost of leaving us a little exposed a times.

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