Time for Arsenal to put Ramsey back in middle?

It has been yet another season disrupted by injury problems for the Arsenal and Wales international star Aaron Ramsey, with his latest problems meaning that he has only managed to start 20 of our34 Premier League games so far. And it is fair to say that for most of the year Ramsey has failed to hit the heights that saw him voted as last season’s best player by the Arsenal fans.

However, it now looks like the Welsh wizard is getting back to his best, highlighted by his goal and fantastic assist against Hull City on Monday night, even though he is currently being played out of position on the right. We have seen the boss do this before with Ramsey and Wilshere, usually as they are searching for form and fitness after a lay-off.

But with Ramsey now looking sharp, is it not about time for Wenger to put him back into that box to box role which is surely his best position. I know that Santi Cazorla has done really well in that deeper role but it is not the Spaniard’s best position either so we have two players out of position.

We are getting away with it very well at the minute but we have some crucial games coming up, especially Man United away and Aston Villa in the FA cup final, and we need Arsenal to be as good as possible. Does that mean playing Ramsey in the middle? And if so, would you put Cazorla on the flank, in the number 10 role or even drop him for Welbeck?

Tags Cazorla Ozil welbeck


  1. Ramsey is playing well. His little flicks and passes are great to watch, plus he’s getting goals and assists. But moving him back to the centre is different. Γ–zil and Cazorla are both playing well. No need to drop either of them. Don’t change a winning formula, and the Γ–zil-Cazorla partnership has been central to our form.

    1. I agree, but then again I think that not having a pure winger on the right side is having a negative effect on our attack – we become more predictable on not attacking through our right flank – and when we ever so rarely do, it’s exposing us to counterattacks as it would include Bellerin going out of his position. We would benefit from playing Walcott or Welbeck from the start vs. chelsea i dare to state. Might not be as solid in defense, but having more strings to play on in the same line-up is exactly the way to beat Mourinho.

      I’d like to see Walcott start on the right against ManUtd and bench Ramsey.

      1. And why is Sevenitti being thumbed down? Ramsey is not a winger and if you have watched all the games he played, he always moves inside. Any tactical team will exploit that because we will have to many players concentrated in one place. That is why we got a draw against Chelsea, 2 natural wingers would have stretched Chelsea defence and we would have got more that 1 shot on target! Anyway many Arsenal fans dont care as long as they are winning! Those small details make champions! Thumb me down all you like but I know I am right.

    2. Difficult lot to please aren’t we? Domestically since new Years Day we have won 16 of the last 18 games, drawn one and lost one. Do we give AW even the merest hint of credit or have at least some confidence that he has a pretty good idea of why he is doing it? I haven’t got a problem with Walcott or Welbeck starting on the right if AW elects to do so – but big problem with people moaning about a balanced, winning team just because, according to them, a player is out of position. Even more so when it patently works and the offending player, Ramsey, is performing and contributing very well. Mata plays on the right for United and Valencia provides the width from FB/WB, Milner/Nasri are no wingers (Navas is about the closest to a true winger in the PL but close to useless), Willian hardly gets involved in any wing play for Chelsea. A poster says below we might not be quite “as solid in defense” with say Walcott playing – exactly. Exactly the thing our favourite anti-hero Mourinho would go for.

      Bellerin/Ramsey – yes please. Bellerin/Walcott – not just at the moment please.

      1. Totally agree @jonestown1. Our width often comes from the overlaps of Bellerin, Montreal etc not necessarily from playing out and out wingers. If you looked at Ramsays positions he drifts inside or out as he wants and the team has developed an understanding such that Bellerin etc take up the space. It is currently a very fluid team with a rotating front three and much the same in midfield excepting Coquelin who gives us stability by being anchored to the central midfield role. Much credit to Wenger for building this.

        1. Its only that we haven’t been exposed to solid and counter attacking team. Go and replay Chelsea’s game and we could easily have lost that game 3-0. We only had 1 short on target, a poor one for that matter…..and people here are saying its working yet we were at home? We need width from wingers not wing backs.We couldn’t force the 2 centre back wide because we didn’t have enough wing play.

          1. Probably a whole host of reasons why we failed to beat the PL champions who have lost just 2 of their 50+ games this season. Which “wingers” have exposed Chelsea this season? To suggest that playing Theo and dropping either Ramsey or Ozil (not sure what you would propose) was the key to beating Chelsea is an easy card to play, and as with all this revisionist, fantasist stuff, impossible to prove.

            Chelsea CBs do not get drawn out of position. Watch them.
            Chelsea have the best one-on-one full back in the league at RB.
            Chelsea are the best defenders of crosses in the league.
            Chelsea have the most potent left-sided AM in the league.
            Arsenal have a talented rookie RB who is presently better going forward than going backwards.
            Walcott is rusty, just back from ACL injury, so-so defensively and cannot cross.
            Ramsey is in form, can do a job in a variety of positions, is better defensively and is scoring and assisting regularly.

            On balance, easy decision really. You arguments would have a lot more traction on the back of half a dozen defeats – appears slightly crazy at present.

      2. May we have some Wenger out brigade give some respect to the man at least for our run of form since the New Year? Doesn’t he deserve it?

        1. We have the strongest and the best depth in the EPL right now. Tell me which other team can afford to bench Walcott, Rosicky, Wlshere, Gabriel, AOC, Welbeck? So whatever run we have, we deserve it!

      3. Disagree strongly,Wenger said himself in the papers that he doesn’t know what this good form is down to,this a fact.The reason we’ve played well has been down to injuries,because when ever1 is fit Wenger can’t pick the right team because he has so many favorites(i.e Arteta).The fact that he stumbled across Coquelin this season shows that he deserves very little credit.
        An unless your a new fan we all know Ramsey doesn’t play well on the wing from past experience.Against Chelsea he was ineffective there,an part of the reason for our lack of bite in that game was a lack of width im afraid.Its the Ramsey,Ozil,Cazorla connundrum,and unless Wenger understands this problem of balance we won’t suceed.Remember how balance the team was against City away with the Ox on the right,Sanchez on the left,Santi in the middle with Coq an Rambo?Thats the way to go,not playing CM on the wing.

        1. If someone can be that bitter on the back of a reasonable run of form then I am kind of glad we disagree. Even the most vociferous AOBs on here have displayed a touch of class and decorum in the past few months and sought to at least try and enjoy the moment even if they still have fundamental reservations about Wenger. If you want to come on here and proclaim to the world from behind your keyboard, with zero knowledge as to the true day to day workings of AFC, that you understand something that Wenger cannot grasp then fair play mate – at least I can admire the size of your nads.

          1. but wht do you know about the day to day workings of afc?.cleatly nothing,i didn’t comment on the day to day workings mate,im commenting on Wengers very own comments,he said he doesn’t know what the good form is down to,fact.Why would i be bitter im a die hard gooner?im just not convinced mate,you have to look for the details,this where Wenger an people such as yourself fall down.im not an Akb or a AoB im just a gooner an Wenger needs to go

          2. Bitter why would i be bitter?im just not convinced by Wenger an the way he does things,ti notice how your comment was all waffle no facts,how come you didn’t talk about Coquelin,a player i’ve been saying since last season wud do a much better job than Arteta.ow come Wenger didn’t see it?Most honest fans know Arteta isn’t good enough how come Wenger can’t see that?Whats ur explanation?My point is Wengers so far gone he can’t spot things we can

  2. No absolutely not – Don’t change a winning formula.
    We are tearing just about everyone apart at the moment with Cazorla & Ozil central.
    Ramsey is doing well where he is, look at his assists/goals in his last 7/8 games.

  3. It doesn’t matter where Ramsey plays
    We’re finishing third anyway
    And just 2-3 games left to play
    Oh, I hope Muller makes my day πŸ™‚

    1. Yes we want it and that is why we are not leaving anything to chance! Its going to be tough next season, so we need to be at our best.

  4. I think Wenger has lost faith in theo if he plays ramsey on the wing rather than him. Alot of ppl has been crying out for a dm this coming summer, but I actually think our key area to strengthen is the right wing.

    On current showings coquelin is as good as a dm could get. The right wing, on the other hand, could do with a good upgrade and I believe there better options available than walcott or chamberlain. Wenger is right. We’ve got a big squad with sufficient backups in all areas. We should be spending our transfer budget on 1 or 2 world class signings to upgrade our squad, not continually spending 10m on backup players

    1. I don’t think it is a quality issue. Ramsey fits with the style better than Walcott. So does Ox. Walcott has to adapt or play centrally in this lineup. Otherwise Arsene will need to adapt this system to Walcott.

      There are more moving parts in the offense than there have been in several years. Sanchez, Ozil, Cazorla, Ramsey, Wilshere, Ox, Rosicky. All are guys that will move around and find space and they do it constantly. But someone has to fill the space that they have vacated and Walcott doesn’t do that very well. He has to be more aware of his teammates’ positioning and adjust to their runs. It is something that comes with time.

      In Walcott’s case, he is a completely different animal. He uses space to draw defenders to him, giving others space. He can mix wide runs with runs into the box, and can mix diagonal and straight line over the top runs (though Alexis is starting to mix in some diagonal runs). He is an important piece for me because no one else on the team plays that style. However, I still think he will be best centrally with the team adjusted for him to play there (would mean eliminating most of the hold up play).

      As a wing player, I think Walcott works better with a RB that will stay at home more often than not like Debuchy. If Bellerin can sit back more often, it will be fine, but the plan has to be for him to stay back or else Walcott has to cover on defense more than he has been asked to in the past (and I do think the issue is that Arsene WANTED him to be on the shoulders of the defenders for counters – something we need much less of with Sanchez and Ozil in the lineup).

      You have to realize that the issue is not just that Walcott is not in top form, but that the team has changed drastically while he has been out. A fit, focused, and in form Ozil, Coquelin, and Sanchez have changed the team. For the better I believe. But Walcott pretty much had one style of play for years. It may not work the way the team is set up right now. But with the right setup, Walcott will still destroy teams with his pace. The questions for me regarding Walcott are whether or not he can adjust his style to better fit what the team is doing; whether or not Arsene changes the style of the team to try to accommodate Walcott; and whether Walcott should stay out wide or move to the middle.

      Arsene has the summer to figure things out, so we need to make sure he stays healthy until then.

  5. what if barca wins the champions league?? πŸ™ πŸ™ πŸ™ πŸ™ πŸ™
    dall be dreadful πŸ™ πŸ™ πŸ™ πŸ™
    and the curse continues πŸ™ πŸ™ πŸ™

  6. I can understand people questioning Wengers decisions whenever we lose a game or are playing very badly. When we are winning and playing our best football in years that is when i say no you can not argue our boss on player choices positions substitutes or basically anything. Maybe you can say why was this not the case earlier but we know injuries played a part as well as Wengers mistakes in beginning season.

    As long as Arsenal are winning and playing very well i dont care if Wenger puts Bob Wilson on the wing and Steve Bould in goal. Arsenal Winning that is our no1 aim.

  7. lionel messi…beautiful

    my gosh how lucky are we to have ronaldo an messi in one generation

  8. why change a winning formula?hopefully the OX gets back soon but until then play ramsay where he is and theo as his sub (earlier on)

  9. Ramsey is extremely versatile and the ONLY problem with him playing as a wide man is that he limits our width a little. That said he is an amazingly gifted technical player and does brilliantly in tight space so often is able to retain posession in tight wide areas. In our current formation it is not proving an issue to play him there as we are creating space elsewhere. 1 defence has stopped us despite him playing there and that was a resolute and very organised Chelsea who have shut out anyone they wanted to all season (except in the CL where they were DIABOLICAL).

    If you ask me the real question is do we play better with all 3 of Rambo, Ozil and Cazorla playing or with more width? Is it worth dropping one of arguably the 3 best attacking midfielders since Xmas for a winger OR is a slightly narrower team worth having all 3 on the pitch? I certainly see no problem in having it as our starting line up while having options to come on depending on how the game goes. Theo, Welbeck, Jack are all deadly options to bring on who can change the shape of the team and do serious damage from the bench. Starting with Rambo wide has been effective – there is no need to change it without a match demanding it. Man Utd game MIGHT need to see that change for us to win – we’ll see.

    1. For me it is the style of play. Width is important, but it has to threaten the defense or they will just ignore it. Walcott is aiming toward the middle too often to be a viable threat out wide, and when he plays the RB has less chance to overlap because they need to sit a bit deeper. So, honestly Walcott doesn’t really give much more width. Ozil, Cazorla, Ramsey, Sanchez, and Welbeck are all perfectly capable of sitting wider and firing in crosses. In most cases, it isn’t speed that beats fullbacks to get crosses in, it is skill and the threat of dribbling inside. Speed certainly helps, but it doesn’t mean much if you use that speed to make runs into the box rather than staying wide.

      No, the issue is that the team is set up to play narrow. Arsene seems to believe that crosses are too inconsistent to be used regularly (statistically he is right) but doesn’t account for the space it opens up in other areas. I think the team is fine playing the narrow formation we have right now, but if we continue to play with it I would like to see more long shots to vary the offense and maybe a few more wide overlaps from Ozil and Cazorla.

      If we play with Walcott or another winger, we will have to give up one of the Santi-Ozil-Ramsey trio and most likely have to give up some possession and passing stats. Otherwise, we can try to get the guys out there to vary the attack more, including more wide runs and crosses.

      These are good problems to have. Finding the right style for a team with the level and depth of talent that Arsenal and the better teams in Europe have is incredibly hard. And then you still have to choose 11 players with contrasting styles, get everyone to buy into the system, and be able to adjust tactics on the fly.

      Arsene just needs to have the the right setup to start next season and the right players to adjust for the inevitable injuries, as well as a lot of luck with injuries and in games, and we could very easily win the title next season. Gosh, I shouldn’t make it sound so easy!

    2. Thanks FFFanatic, this is the most measured analysis I have read today. But the problem with Wenger is he wont make any substitution until its too late. At 60 mins I expected him to do that against Chelsea but he ddnt!

  10. Now it’s difficult to bench any of Ozil and Cazorla and Ramsey must play. Very tough decision for the coach.

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