Where were Arsenal’s wide players against Palace..?

…….On the Arsenal bench of course!

So for a change Arsene Wenger put Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and an unfit Alexis Sanchez in the Arsenal midfield, with Olivier Giroud as the target man in the middle.

Of course I am very happy that Giroud scored an excellent goal against a top side like Crystal Palace, but where where the other central players supposed to play except in the centre?

Wenger was over the moon with Ozil’s performance and you can’t knock the German as he has proved that played in the centre he is formidable. “He had a very good performance.” Wenger gushed. “He was important getting out from the back, getting out of tight areas. It is a pleasure to watch the quality of his passing and the intelligence of his passing.

“What I told you is what I want from him more is a few more goals this season. For the rest of the build-up in the game he was magnificent. He works harder than people thinks he does. He is not spectacular in his defending but he wants to do the job, he wants to help the team. What I liked in his game today was he made many runs without the ball behind the defenders, which is a bit new as he likes to come with the ball. Today he mixed up his game better.”

And of course Santi played a great game down the middle as usual. In fact Wenger made it clear his best position is in that position. “Cazorla is important… the start of the game when the ball comes from our defenders, because he can pass from deep midfield to high midfield better than everybody and get out of pressure.

“That’s why I positioned him more central. He is not any more a player on the flanks who can overlap and cross the ball.”

So what about Ramsey? He has made it abundantly clear that he wants to play down the middle, but he always ends up on the wing and cuts inside as often as possible during the game.

We all also know that Sanchez’s ideal position is also Number Ten, but he is, as always plays as a left-winger, cutting into a central position as always. But there is also the problem that he had a much longer summer break than the others and needs to regain fitness. Wenger even remarked on it today? “He brings a drive forward. He brings the pressure on the opponent. He brings goal chances. When it was 1-1 it is no coincidence that he found the header over Ward [and] maybe it’s a typical Alexis goal. More desire than fitness, he is still a bit short fitness-wise but he is a fighter.”

So who do Arsenal actually have that could be called a real winger. Theo Walcott springs to mind. He is very match fit, and although he also wants to play in the centre, he has made his name as a lightening fast winger, and in fact does that job very well. Where was he today? On the bench for the whole 90 minutes, despite an unfit Sanchez being left on the field for the whole game.

What about Oxlade-Chamberlain? A very fast young winger who is in excellent form and fitness right now. On the bench for the first 64 minutes of course! I’m not sure that having four players that all excel in the centre being on the field at the same time.

Does Wenger no longer think that good football sides even need wingers any more? Especially fit ones????

Tags Cazorla Ozil Ramsey Walcott


  1. Wenger should stop playing Ramsey on wings. It is not good for team as well as for Ramsey.
    also few folks criticized Sanchez today. They should remember that he came to this match without much practice and still he was our main threat. I agreed he would scored at least two goals on other day but because of him only CP defenders were on defense as they knew Sanchez is there. Also 2nd goal will go as own goal but Sanchez made it possible even though he is not tall. Even if he is not scoring, he gives his 100% and no one can question his effort. He is our best player and we missed his passion in first game.

    1. Thanks for your support and faith. I will always give my level best and try to win as many game as possible. Our target is to win league. Hope I won’t disappoint fans.

    2. Sanchez is very close to his best but he missed a lot of chances yesterday some which it would ve been better if he had passed the ball. that being said…he’s gonna be our best player again this season.

      and I ll prefer to see walcott some1 there against liverpool, I know everyone prefers oxlade but the kid is not a constant goal scoring threat and he tends to give away cheap goals. Main reason he can’t play as a central midfielder, he always wanna run with the ball but he doesn’t protect the ball enough for a central midfielder…a pressing team will finish him as a central midfielder.

      I hope we start supporting Giroud as we might not sign another striker, Wenger got Alexis to complement him and it could be great. And stop comparing Aguero and Giroud, they re different. Maybe our walcott can one day be like aguero. or u can compare Sanchez and aguero…

      d fact yesterday is dat man city played so well and created many chances against Chelsea and their defenders and midfielders has scored 5 out of their 6 goals. so it’s not abt Giroud alone wen arsenal does not score.

  2. i’m gonna copy the analysis that @ethangooner wrote in an earlier article about this.

    ” [Ramsey] had a really good game and play an important role even on the wing. In the first 20 minutes the way Ramsey move inside and find space between the lines create a lot chances for us (even the commentator said so). Pardew had to push Cabaye backward to nullify the threat of Ramsey but that also make Palace less creative in attack.

    Another important aspect of Ramsey is that he like to attack the box, we need more player who want to do that. Ozil does not do that, no for Carzola or Chamberlain. Only Sanchez and Giroud are not enough – last game no Sanchez, Giroud cross the ball in but no one in the box. An alternative for Ramsey is obviously Walcott but his defensive game is not great and away from home, against the threat of the best wing play game in the league, a must win game, Ramsey makes a lot of sense.”

    1. Think about it. Bolaise and Zaha were such a threat to Wenger that he had the players double them when they had the ball. Ramsey, Alexis, Santi and obviously Coq are our players who are willing to defend and definitely made sure yesterday that Bellerin and Nacho weren’t 1v1 with them. Yes the Ox defends more than Theo but not as much as Ramsey. Yeah our width was cut out and I’m pretty sure I saw Aaron more on the left than the right, but after a terrible loss last week and given Palace are so strong-willed on their home turf, I see why Wenger thought defensively and gave Ramsey the start. Eventually he did go middle but after Bolaise was subbed out.

      Still would rather him centrally though and pretty sure Wenger favors him. But the guy worked his butt off the entire match on both offense and defense and was part of the build up play in the second goal. He had a decent game.

    2. Great comment ! I’d prefer to see the ox there but it def has its advantages playing Ramsey especially away from home with the defensive duties plus you also get the natural width with bellerin still

    3. This is exxaaactllyy what I mentioned in an earlier article. That Ramsey being on wasnt a bad tactic for those same reasons, and many people just couldnt see it.
      Cut the old man some slack, the tactic worked to our benefit.

    4. Yes, a bit of sanity on the subject from ethangooner – getting bored of the “Ramsey is not a winger” debate. Yes, we all know he is not a winger but newsflash – he isn’t deployed as a winger. And people must know it is not mandatory to play wingers – they are not some sort of game-winning tactical panacea – you can lose more than you gain in some games by stationing players on the touchlines. The discussion would be more relevant if it was a failed tactic in a game we lost – not in a game we won with two goals incidentally that came from crosses.

  3. I’m probably the only one thinking this but i don’t really mind Ramsey on the wings simply because our pacy players other than Sanchez do not have great stamina. Sure Ramsey doesn’t look as comfortable on the wings but he does do a decent job and when he scores he gets praised. Yesterday he did a great job linking up with players and was fighting for the ball and possession and he was pretty much everywhere in attack as he kept switching positions with players. I think it is quite a good strategy to play him as a winger because he is never solely on that wing, makes it difficult for the opposition to track him and he is known for being a goalscorer .
    If you put a pure winger like OX on the wing you expect him to be the typical RW and use his pace and skills to beat the opponents and score. With Ramsey it is another story and i think Wenger tries to remove the predictability of having a straightforward winger that way.
    In certain games we would need that unpredictability because if our wingers are matched up against pacy full backs then they would have a hard time using their skills. Just a thought

    1. dont know what ramsey’s best posn is; but he gives us a lot.
      here’s a crazy idea: why not have 2 strikers: OG and ramsey : ozil behind.
      what i liked most about yesterday was the amount of movement and interchanging positions
      so maybe we shouldn’t get too worked up about positions.
      it’ll be interesting to see if ox or walcott or both will be playing more at home, ramsey more away.

      1. spot on. yesterdays switching gave me a headache myself. Cabaye and McArthur were defensively clueless as to what to do. You have your eyes on ozil and carzola, only for Sanchez to cut in, Ramsey to walk right past through, Ozil out wide, & bamm!! Giroud goal.
        Ramsey just wasnt lucky enough to get a goal. But was good to have him

  4. ‘Does Wenger no longer think that good football sides even need wingers any more? Especially fit ones????’
    Ok.. So firstly, we haven’t played with traditional wingers for years now. Before the whole Ramsey ‘on the wing’ becomes a big thing he’s hardly deployed as a winger now is he?? It’s not like he’s trying to get to the by-line and whip in crosses or take on his man at every opportunity. He plays as the additional midfielder, a creator, an added goal threat, adds to our forward press and has a lot of freedom to roam in attack, join in midfield, or take-up scoring positions.
    Secondly, I thought our width, tempo and the quality of the chances we created was much, much better. In fairness, Ramsey was on the end of what I thought were two of our best opportunities when he and Ozil combined both times. Ozil pops up on the wings when there’s space, and Bellerin and Monreal both made good runs and put in some brilliant dangerous balls. Both our goals came from nice moves involving the wings.

    I see the criticism, and it’s easy to say ‘oh he wants to play centrally.’ But in who’s place? He can’t dictate the play like Cazorla, or win the ball back and defend as efficiently as Coquelin so where does he fit? It’s easy to just say ‘oh play a winger, it gives width’ but Ramsey is far from ineffectual while on the pitch.

  5. I am not a Ramsey lover, neither am I an Akb but what I have noticed in yesterday’s game was that Ramsey was all over the pitch both attacking and defending. He created chances and also has quite a few himself and that is a usual thing for when he’s playing. It is a tough decision for the Manager tbh but he and the player must know within themselves what is best for the team.

    Also, Coquelin is getting complacent. Either we sign a good, next to great DM so that he remember his defensive duties and not drive forward as he has been doing recently. How he played for us in the last half of last season is what made him a starter now so why divert from it?

    1. Am sorry Ramsey is energetic but slow apyday back too slowly on several ocassions ….way up the pitch when palace attack was pressing
      We need players who are world beaters at what they do ….jack,of all trade player like Ramsey are useful bench players

  6. @ The Authro
    I dont understand what your point is, Alexis was extremely dangerous throughout the game and was continuously putting himself in goal scoring positions. He was a little rusty which is perfectly normal given he’s just getting back to full training but his performance was very solid.

    And i read some people hating on ramsey, I think he had a very good game today he was making our game very fluid by finding little pocket of spaces and which also gave mesut more room to operate. Plus he got in good goal scoring positions too, he will find his best form soon because ox will push him from the bench.

    1. The Ramsey – Ozil combo is really growing in it’s influence. His intelligence as a player often gets undervalued IMO. Particularly on the break, Ramsey’s willingness to work on being in the best position, decisions and execution is class.

      1. Yup I agree and I think the combo is greatly underrated and mesut is always finding Ramsey when he makes his lung bursting runs into the box. And wow how about ozil today? He was created chances left and right he’s a wonderful player to watch

        1. The signs were very positive. The elements of our play that were so apparent in our much improved second half of last season were a lot more influential.
          The interchanging positions, tempo, width and overall intent was much more evident. I still think our pressing and willingness to get the ball back can improve and we invited a lot more pressure than I was comfortable with, especially on the flanks.
          It was however, a pretty open game for large periods. With our quality in midfield that’s not really a game the majority of teams will be willing to play against us.
          Palace are going to claim a few scalps this season. Massive improvement from week one and can’t see Liverpool causing us too many problems this week.

          1. I think we will beat Liverpool too but I don’t want to be over confident cause they do have some players that can hurt us.

            But you are right we were much improved and we were up for the game right from the go. I think cazorla alongside coquelin played a big part but our entire attack was on point and interchanging seamlessly. Its gonna be good for ox to have to work for the starting job cause an Ox on form can be huge for us.

            I think the future is bright I don’t get this doom and gloom from everyone, but I still would like 1 maybe 2 additions this window

  7. Next stop Liverpool… They r a bit different from last year but l think it’s a winnable game CYG……. And ohhh ..Morine loud mouth has gone into hidding….

  8. “What about Oxlade-Chamberlain? A very fast young winger who is in excellent form and fitness right now. On the bench for the first 64 minutes of course”

    OX was brought as a substitute for Coquelin who was on the verge of getting a red card. You wonder if he would have sat the entire game were it not for Coquelin ☹

    1. The perks of having a very good squad surely ? I love having players like theo ox wilshire to come on rather than denilson bendtner and Gervinho

  9. Saw a lotta comments about ramsey playing out on the wings. He was great in that game apart from the last ten minutes or so where he lost the ball quite a lot. And with Bellerina playing, we had enough width that did the damage.
    Anyways, it was a great game. The scoreline isn’t reflective of how the game had gone. I lost count on how many blocks the CP players made halfway through the game. I’m really happy with how CP played. They played very attacking football and that made it an enjoyable game.

  10. Honestly, I’m tired of seeing either Ramsey on the right or Ozil on the left.

    Ozil is understandable sometimes because we don’t have a top LW backup to Alexis, but we need to get one like Draxler who is a LW, so that Ozil can play in his best position CAM. Actually, Reus or Greizmann can be very valuable. They can play LW, RW, CAM and up front.

    We saw How brilliant Ozil was yesterday

    There is no excuse for playing Ramsey on the right when both Oxlade and Walcott are fit and healthy

    I would just except the fact that when Ozil, Walcott, ox, Alexis are healthy, both Ramsey and Cazorla can not start at the same time. It would be better to play either Cazorla or Ramsey and keep the other on the bench. Competition is good for them for the box2box position.

    When everyone is fit.
    Play either Walcott or Oxlade on the RIGHT
    Play Ozil in CAM
    Play Alexis on the Left
    Play Ramsey or Cazorla in box to box
    Play Coquelin as DM

    And for the love of God get another DM to help out Coquelin. He can’t play every match and Arteta/Flamini can’t cope with a lot of match time

    Get someone like krychowiak, Busquets, Carvalho, bender.

    1. the same can be said to Sanchez….He can’t play every match

      get either Reus or Greizmann to rotate with him…

      1. if coq gets a red and is out for games, or gets injured, or goes thru a bad form: we really need a backup for him. i dont want to see arteta/flam. sorry.

  11. neeed a new cb like aymen abdennour & cdm (kyrchowaik/bender) else we will keep conceding goals wenger should drop kos for next game & bring in paulista fans often criticize per mertasacker but for me he is better than kos
    kos was at fault for goals in last game & even yesterday didn’t close down he looks the weak link in that def not to mention the own goals he has scored but still he has done okay

  12. Arsenal have won more points (45) during 2015, than any other club in the Premier League.
    Mesut Özil:
    1 Assist
    5 Chances Created
    1 Tackle
    2 Clearances
    54/55 Passes Completed
    98% Pass Accuracy

  13. RealBetis 19 year old midfielder Dani Ceballos is a target for Arsenal whom we have scouted in last 2 yrs replacement for rosicky who could still join Sparta prague despite injury

  14. Giroud is a ‘good’ CF, Ramsey is a machine.

    Players play best when there are played in their best/most natural positions. Play them elsewhere and they and therefore the team will be less effective.

    As for wingers: why not? You need width to get behind when walking the ball into the net straight down the middle doesn’t work.

    Football isn’t rocket science no matter what some people would have you believe and over complication nearly always Upsets the balance.

    1. football isnt that simple either.
      you have to play wide sometimes.
      you have to mix up your strategy so others dont know what to expect.
      you have to choose a lineup based upon who’s injured or in form or who the opponent is.
      maybe not rocket science, but its not just putting 11 good players out there like wenger was doing in previous seasons. now he seems to be mixing it up depending on opposition, has a specialist DM. and he seems to want his forwards to all be somewhat interchangeable which was best seen against CP yesterday.

  15. Wenger has since the days of yore always used wingers who cut in. I think Overmars was probably our last “true” winger. Most of our wing play and width comes from overlapping full backs. This can work brilliantly but it puts a HUGE strain on the full backs and makes them pretty much the pivotal part of Arsenal’s attack if the opposition sits deep.

    That said, we ALWAYS look better when at least 1 midfielder stays wide until the oppurtunity to move inwards presents itself later into the final third. It is currently frustrating me beyond belief that Wenger has not noticed this. I understand wanting to have a free flowing midfield with deep runners from defence but when we are completely allowing teams to stay narrow in defence and shut us out, it seems wholely ignorant to me.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t actually believe playing Ramsey or Ozil or Cazorla wide is the end of the world. Just if you DO play them wide, the other wing HAS to have width. Ramsey right, Alexis left has no width because BOTH players are coming inside. Our left wing will never have width without a natural left footer there, thus you NEED to play Ox or Theo on the right to stretch the defence.

    That said – did anyone else think Ox didn’t look like he was at the races yesterday? I’m wondering if maybe Wenger had planned to use him but he just didn’t seem right in warm up/pre-game. It definitely didn’t feel right when he came on…

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