Why Arsenal do NOT need a new Central Midfielder

Why the Xhaka-Ramsey partnership is good enough for Arsenal

Hello Gooners!

The medias have been saying that our midfield has been weak in the past couple of years. While it is hard to disagree with that, I still believe there are many reasons to feel optimistic about our new Xhaka-Ramsey partnership.

At the end of last season, we saw both Ramsey and Xhaka shine together and lead us to a third FA Cup in three years. Besides good form, there are a few reasons to believe this midfield duo can work.

First of all, the switch to a back 3 makes the team less vulnerable and less reliable on a strong midfield. It also suits Ramsey, because it allows him to play as a box-to-box midfielder, which has always been his best position. He can then focus more on offense, and make runs that other defenses always find difficult to stop (that goal in the FA Cup final!). It makes our attack much less predictable, and more enjoyable to watch. With his incredible cardio, Ramsey will still always be there on defense, and so will not be a liability on that side of the ball.

His partner, Xhaka, can, with the new formation, avoid having to play emergency defense (which we all know he has to improve, because some of his tackles, damn…), because we always have three defenders. He also doesn’t have to be our offensive spark. He simply has to focus on distributing the ball, and sometimes finding the key pass, which he is brilliant at! We also know he is still young, and can only improve after his first season in the Premier League.

Ramsey will always bring energy and movement, while Xhaka brings calmness, composure and good positioning. I do believe this duo can make us champions again. Here is to seeing them make wonders again, in a couple of weeks!

What do you think?


Francois (gooner from Canada)


  1. TongaBull says:

    Ramsey yes he is a Duracell but quality wise no. He is a good second choice/ backup

    1. neil says:

      It would be interesting to see the stats on whether these two played together for the 10 wins out of 11 in the new back 3 formation ?
      I think there might be a CDM addition for those big matches but for lower teams Xhaka and Ramsey should work well… esp with the 3 CB’s meaning Xhaka doesnt have to go sliding in as last defender !

      1. Incarnate says:

        Swap Chamberlain for Fabregas, afterall Fabregas is homegrown.

    2. gotanidea says:

      Yes, Arsenal needs better midfielders than Ramsey, Xhaka, Coquelin and Elneny. Actually 3-4-3 means Arsenal only has two central midfielders, which requires better midfielders to dominate the midfield area.

      3-4-3 is not a magical tactic that always works. Tottenham has beaten us by having more central midfielders, using 4-2-3-1.

      If Arsenal cannot find central midfielders that can possess the ball longer, work harder, have better vision and skills, they will not be able to dominate the other top teams. I hope they can get Seri, Rafinha and sell Ozil.

      1. Quantic Dream says:

        Lol…if recent rumours are to be believed, Ozil is just about to sign a monstrous totally undeserved 280k-per-week deal brother! What do you have to say about that?

        1. goonerkhan says:

          Sanchez doing one last chore for his buddy ozil

        2. ZA_Gunner says:

          We want to wear Prada shoes but we can only afford Adidas pants.

          1. Dalinho says:

            That headline is funny mate! It’s the weakest area of arsenal and the reason why our attacks are slow and defence is open! Xhaka is slow and basically arteta with better long range passing and Ramsey is immature in his play and not disaplind enough so there both mistakes wenger has made which means they will always get a chance coz wenger wants to proof he’s right instead of buying what we need! 35mil for seri and 30mil for carvalho would change arsenals future quickly with xhaka, Ramsey as back up that’s a serious midfield but wenger won’t admit he’s wrong! Wenger is the only human on planet earth that would choose xhaka over kante and now he’s trying to prove he was right while arsenal drop further down the table! Also wenger could easily sell giroud and buy dembele from Celtic to freshen up the attack and move on from the frustrations of giroud but he won’t bcoz he’s not serious about winning so he won’t make moves like every other manager in world football

      2. ZA_Gunner says:

        But honest truth Ozil is mugging this club.

  2. rkw says:

    precisely the kind of thinking that has allowed wenger to get away with 13 years of underperformance … you dominate a midfield with power, mobility and skill … preferably all but certainly two are essential … we have none of these to a level that allows us to dominate against serious opposition .. personally i would give up a bit of power for more skill and mobility which is why i think we need another carzola type urgently … but i appreciate there are other ways … but without a top quality option in midfield this window any chance of competing at the top again will be gone for another year … that will be 14 barren years … back to the future with the yoghurt man it seems!!

    1. Foolishgooner says:

      I see your demand of “Power, mobility and skill” and Give you cardio, careful and vulnerable. Our midfield is dominated by teams who press, breakdown, and exploit with numbers! Ramsey, Ozil, Giroud never get close/hurry/bother passes/the player they are suppose to be defending. Xhaka is smart and strong but lacks top speed. Francis Coq is pacey, brave and energetic but is offensively challenged! Yes, we need more skill ( Healthy Cazorla), more power (?) or a midfielder when combines those qualities. Defense is ok with LK, Mustafi and Nacho as ambacn three. Young chambers and holding can be adequate cover and cup games. I think we need to give serious minutes to young guys like R Nelson, Iwobi, m- niles ela.

  3. simon says:

    nice insight

  4. Grimlar says:

    I feel Arsenal do need another midfielder or perhaps two.
    Firstly, I dont see either Xhaka or Ramsey providing what Cazorla gives the team, and even if Cazorla does come back into the team earlier than feared, he’s the wrong side of 30 and had a lot of injuries in recent years. It could easily happen again.
    Secondly Ox seems like he is determined to leave, if not this summer, then next.
    Thirdly, Arsenals injury record across the team as a whole suggests that relying on both Xhaka and Ramsey to stay fit for the entire season is a bit hopeful at best.
    Some of the younger players may come good in the future, and need playing time when they can get it, but are probably not up to providing cover in the big matches if someone gets a long term injury.
    So from that point of view I would say that Arsenal need to let a couple of players go, Wilshere, Elneny, Ox if he wont sign a new contract and get some quality replacements. Lemar if possible, or maybe Mahrez, Carvalho, Seri.
    The problem Arsenal are gong to run up against soon with buying so many players from abroad is not meeting the number of home grown players requirements, which may be one of the main benefits that Wenger sees in the younger players getting promoted to the first team.

  5. Frank says:

    Typical arsenal supporter…xhaka and ramsey wont get us even top four,why is it that we forget quickly?!

  6. Break-on-through says:

    I’m all for giving Ramsey a chance with a system that might suit him. The thing is, is if he’s the first choice ..what do we have on the bench. Ramsey can still pick up injuries, or teams could find a chink in our armour. With Ramsey being all of a sudden our best candidate, you would have to worry about our quality to play confident football whilst controlling/dominating our games. I’m a fan of Ramsey, but he hasn’t really dug deep enough yet, he hasn’t got the 100 yard stare. It would be unwise not bringing someone in who knows he will compete with Ramsey or Cazorla for a first team spot. I like Elneny he’s a good squad player, but at the same time I could see the sense in losing a squad and gaining a probable first team player. Would have preferred if it was another, but either way it sounded about right when I heard we would sell one or two.

    1. ZA_Gunner says:

      My honest opinion is we sell Ramsey and look within or another British player that is better suited to our play style to fill the English quota. I really do not think Ramsey’s play style fit our system and we really shouldn’t let sentiments get in our way. If we are to succeed then we need to behave like a top team and make the ruthless decisions and cut ties so that we don’t have to keep accommodating players.

  7. Dom says:

    Ramsey should have today a Fabregas-like influence on the team (both in terms of technical skills and distribution )…unfortunately he is very far from achieving that level. He has never really recovered from his injuries and I doubt he ever will.

    1. ZA_Gunner says:

      Ramsey and Fabregas are two very different players with differing playing styles. They will never be alike. Ramsey will not be able to operate in tight spaces which Fabregas is better at.

  8. chris says:

    And when one is inured and the other suspended ?

  9. Waal2waal says:

    Although we seem to witness a renewed vigor with ramsey in the fac theres no certainty hes about to keep the momentum for the season ahead. Dispite his “incredible cardio” we cant afford to be reliant on his fitness record without exploring contingency. If we honest about it for much of 2017 he was Sh** We need more CM partnership options in a season duration – reliance upon ramsey to have the impact he showed 3 or 4 seasons ago is a risk. We really do need to ring in the changes by adding quality to midfield, a new swag and winners mentality at afc.

  10. crispen says:

    Ramsey is not a consistent player. He does not have the skill. He will always lose the ball. Even the season he scored many goals he was losing the ball too much.
    Ramsey is an excellent sub . we need a first 11 player for him to deputise.

  11. Waal2waal says:

    Opinion on aaron ramsey here is clear as daylight it shows we simply cannot rely on his contributions if we’re to get to where we need to be…we need more.

  12. Quantic Dream says:

    One of Xhaka or Ramsey should be sold…am just not sure who..maybe both. Xhaka is neither an attacking nor defensive midfielder…Ramsey on the other hand is no midfield general…their replacements on the other hand El Neny and Coquelin are simply hopeless and not top 4 quality leave alone title winning quality so…I don’t know but we need a clear out.

    1. John0711 says:

      Xhaka in my opinion never should have been bought
      Too slow cumbersome and hot headed, look at the midfielders we’ve had
      vierea, febregas, Petit, silva, corzola, all were far better technically and all could tackle

      1. Dalinho says:

        Yes! Xhaka should never have need brought FACT and now we’re stuck with him bcoz wenger wants to prove a point! Kante was all done then wenger decided on xhaka so goodluck convincing wenger to get rid of his own mistake lol arteta was brought in to fill cesc gap then ended up becoming captain lol xhaka Is just like arteta so we’re doomed! IF wenger left this summer the new manager would buy 2 CM’s straight away and probs sell xhaka coz he’s made for the Dutch league

  13. Arsenal_Girl says:

    As we saw last season, Ramsey and Coquelin are not consistent enough. Wilshere may be sold, but is injury prone anyway. Eleny is average. Ox may be sold.
    Cazorla is injured

    We need at least one Top CM ie. Gorertzka, Carvalho, Seri

    Other teams have Pogba, Gundogan, Matic, Kante, Carrick, Dembele, Wanyama. We need to be excellent in all positions to compete for the Title

    We always need to improve our quality when we can.

    1. Abel says:

      Have you watched Gundogan play for City or are you just spouting names for the sake of it?

  14. brett says:

    ramsey could cover in a few positions,in any formation.brilliant on bench,but need a carzola ,but would that suit a pairing with xhaka?sortit out

  15. Waal2waal says:

    Ross Barclay although another risk the more i think about it the more it makes sense brining him to add some healthy competition to the arsenal midfield.

    1. Abel says:

      Ross is another overhyped English youth product much like sterling. His best attribute is his shooting although his dribbling isn’t bad either. He is actually poor defensively despite his compact build, and makes the wrong decisions most of the time. He is not a finished product yet although he thinks he is judging by his attitude at Everton that saw him benched by Coeman and publicly criticised during the season. He never bosses the midfield but has moments of brilliance which either culminates in a fantastic long range goal or a shot way over the bar!

      1. Waal2waal says:

        @Abel – i sense you like him too (smile). Coming to arsenal he be coming to a better team and have many more chances to shoot, score and play euro competition. His levels would improve do you see?

        1. Abel says:

          @waal2waal, you do have a point. I did like him a few years back but he has stagnated and has not improved in the past few years but instead his attitude worsened. He may in fact do better at Arsenal but you can’t guarantee that can you? We are still waiting for Ramsey to developed into the midfield General his potential suggested and we can also say the boat has sailed on Walcott developing into a world class striker!
          There are very few self motivated players who always want to improve themselves and not depend on natural abilities that were fine tuned in the accademy. Stephen Gerard and Lampard being the blazing English examples. Although Harry Kane is getting there. They all have one thing in common ; humility a fantastic attitude. Ross lacks that.

    2. jermaine bryan says:

      If ox and wilshire goes he would make an adequate replacement as understudy to alexis and Ozil roles. He has the ability to shoot outside the box if defense sit back. (But only at the right price)

      Ideally Leon goretska should be our top target he has it all and like xhaka his season before joining Arsenal he showed he is one of the best in the bundesliga

    3. Waal2waal says:

      hes an england internstional and so will want to make an impression before the world cup. Where better to do that than at arsenal – im sure pochetino is looking at him too. And like somebody here said we aint gonna get many more years out of carzola.

  16. John0711 says:


  17. Vishaad Pillay says:

    you must be deluded to believe that Ramsey , Xhaka , Elneny and Coquelin are good enough to dominate the midfield – Hazard proved last season how easily he shrugged off Coquelin as well as the rest of our defenders like rag dolls . Strength , Power , Steel , ability to control the midfield and convert defence into attacks with precision passing and the technical skills to wiggle out of tight situations . Coquelin cant pass to save his life , he has turned from a pitbull to a chichuahua , Ramsey constantly looses the ball and is not strong enough to hold the ball up , Elneny is pathetic – all he does is pass the ball aimlessly , Xhaka seemed to be the answer but his tackles are reckless and he cant cope with the pace of the Premier League .

    if Arsenal are to challenge for the title , Elneny needs to be sold and Coquelin . if we can replace them with the likes of Fabhino , Grzegorz Krycowiac , Geofrey Kongdobia ,Adrian Rabiot or Willain Cavalhio then we would be able to go toe to toe with the big boys .

    if you look at the current premier teams who have won the league or are genuine title contenders then they all have powerful & skillfull players in the centre of the park
    Man Utd – Paul Pogba
    Tottenham – Wanyama – Dembele
    Man City – Yaya Toure
    Chelsea – Kante , Matic

  18. Abel says:

    Everton has done really well signing Wayne Rooney to replace Ross Barkley who refused to extend his contract.
    Rooney, although ageing, will pull strings in the midfield better than Ross ever could and will still score the occasional long range goals. Not forgetting that Rooney was on set piece duty at United. Arsenal have a lot of young English unfulfilled potential, we do not need more especially with the baggage Ross will bring.

    1. Waal2waal says:

      what baggage is that then? I remember we had a brilliant defender who managed to captain the side. Arsene came in and got more productive sesdons out of Adams who we all knew had drink problems. Yet he lifted the league with us as captain and as I recall managed a beutiful goal in a 4-0 win against everton. Your statement about baggage makes no sense.

      1. Waal2waal says:

        …productive seasons…

  19. ThirdManJW says:

    No, and for two reasons.

    1) Quality – Neither of them are good enough for a start. Xhaka has potential, but was very poor last season. I’ll excuse that as it was his first season, but he has to come good this season. As of now we’re not sure what we’re going to get from him. Ramsey definitely isn’t good enough! He’s had more than enough opportunities, and is only in the team because Wenger loves him. Not to mention the fact this guy is very injury prone. Without Santi, we haven’t got another WC central midfielder when looking at all of our other options for that position.

    2) Quantity – With Santi out for most of the season, and Wilshere likely to be sold, that leaves us really short on numbers. Only four recognised central midfielders for the entire season, and one of them (Ramsey) likely to miss a chunk of this season through injury. We have to sign one more at the very least.

    1. Phil says:

      I disagree. Ramseyperformed extremely well during the 2013/14 season as a CDM in a 4231.. The idea being that someone would stay behind (Arteta/Flamini), and he would play more as an all action CM who had a free role to do as he pleased. The result being he had the most passes completed in the premier league, the most tackles, the most interceptions, the most goals and assists for a central midfielder and he actually performed in big game matches and scored game winning goals and provided match winning performances. Since that season he has only ever CONSISTENTLY played out wide or at right back during emergency games. I’m not saying we would see the same Ramsey from that season but it’s definitely not a coincidence that his best form has come in the last 10 games, during the same time that we switched to a 343 and gave him a free role in the CM position. Give him a chance, it’s been 10 games and he hasn’t messed up yet.

  20. Chuks says:

    more to come from Xhaka. but wit Ramsey Arsenal will never see top four.Ramsey is not d type of player we need to challenge for title.

  21. Joseph Isaac Wricketts says:

    With 3-5-3 system the 3 fullbacks need strong insulation from attack and that why a 100% defensive minded player should command the midfield either you play two destroyers ( Nayangolan) or One destroyer ( if a captain the better) and a very good distributer who is a little defensive minded ( RENATO SANCHEZ). Özil should do a lot of tackling, Theo Walcott should do same defensively either than his regular wing play. Competition for Olivier by lacazette is very good. Aside these the attack is ok. Now the issue about xhaka Ramsay and coquelin and these three players are synonymous with the word INCONSISTENCY and all these came about as a result of injuries they sustained playing for us, Ramsay hasn’t been the player we knew after his injuries, Coquelin alone can’t do the defensive work of the entire team and this account for his sending off and reoccurring injuries, Xhaka attitude is great except the cards if he can work on that he’s soo good to go.Its either we reinforce the midfield with a player who will be consistent and has the character to defend with a high ability to read the game the better for us next season. Now in the absence of the two German’s and the FRENCH at the back GABRIEL hasn’t shown enough quality to play his given role and if possible the central role neither. MONREAl is a fighter unlike Gabriel ( he must up his game its three years already) . Do we need Monaco LEMER ?? NO unless we are selling. Go ARSENAL BE ON THE THRONE AS KINGS OF LONDON AGAIN.

    1. Valentine says:

      3-5-3 formation? Three fullbacks? ????

  22. simeon says:

    To me,i feel xhaka is well needed in dis new formation(d 3-4-3) n moreso,he is a typical arsenal kind of player…can hold on to d ball n distribute it with precision…all we need to succeed with dis new formation is to get a combative football playing midfielder dat can win d ball n move with it…in d mould of naby keita,verrati n even Everton’s gana can do d job or better still,take renato sanchez on loan…doubt if he is going to get enough playing time as he would want at bayern dis season again coz of their luxury of midfield player,not sure if he will be in d 1st team with vidal n thiago alcantara unbenchable n anceloti having a soft spot for kimmich(just as wenger has for Ramsey) I think if we propose a loan deal for renato sanchez dah bayern will grant it

  23. Milton John says:

    First of all Ramsey is not at all consistent. He’s in the good books of Wenger and so in the team irrespective of form. Also Ramsey will spend some time or majority of the time in the treatment table every year. Xhaka can be tempted too easily and that makes him to get suspended. Boy will need time and care to become mature. Hope Per can do and contribute in this. I still feel with Ramsey, Xhaka we need Isco, Goretzka and Seri is what all we needed in the midfield. Apart from Santi all the rest can go not on loan but for ever.

  24. Ack77 says:

    i am actually on both sides of debate concerning ram-xhaka combo. ram and xhaka will work well against team that rely on physical play and aggressive man-marking e.g stoke, burnley and big teams like chelsea or man city depending on what system they are using. why u ask ? these team have a strict game plan which is neutralized by a rabid forward making runs player like ramsey ( watch closely and u will see both ozil and sanchez appreciating ramsey selfless running and the timing of this forward runs either creating space for sanchez or giving an option or decoy to ozil) and long ball distribution by xhaka which defensive mobility is protected by 3 def as is ramsey defensive lapse.

    BUT ramsey/xhaka combo will simply rarely work against intelligent tactical teams like bayern, liverpool( talking about their pressing which is more tactical that it seems like), barca or a barca-styled man city. for them we require a santi/coq like combo as in a santi like mid who can glide across the pitch, avoid tackles and take the ball out of hot situation and a def-mid like how coq played in his best season; tackle, intercept. harass and give the ball either to santi or a ball playing def. wilshere would have been good for the santi role but his not dependable. veratti would be dream signing, he’s caz with a nasty attitude.

    seri, goretkha would all be good signing for replacing ramsey but i struggle to find players who could replace caz, any suggestion ? a Deep-lying playmaker

  25. Sri says:

    “because we always have three defenders”??? go and watch the first goal of Man-City in FA cup semis this year. All 10 players were in opposition half, damn.

  26. amb98 says:

    I hope they prove me wrong but I do not think a midfield pairing of Xhaka and Ramsey is good enough to win the title. Although I like Xhaka and think he will improve next season, his disciplinary record is concerning and isn’t the best tackler. Ramsey has an engine and makes good forward runs but is constantly injured, does not work hard enough defensively and dwells on the ball for too long. I actually feel in our current system Ramsey would be best behind the striker, like where he plays for Wales. What makes Santi so amazing is that with only 1/2 touches he will go past players or open up space for others, quickly releasing the ball. I think we need at least one central midfielder. Seri, Diawara, Goretzka, Danilo Pereira and William Carvalho could all be suitable signings. Personally would have loved Naingollan but it seems like he’s staying at Roma

  27. B9 says:

    You make a good point .But…there’s no argument against adding quality to the team,esp in that position. With Santi,Wilsh and Ramsey all injury prone!…I say we at least get Seri …

  28. Viera Lyn says:

    That tandem isn’t good enough to get 4th place let alone win the EPL…the fact remains that when they play together Ramsey spends far more time inside the opposing teams’s final 3rd which means that Xhaka has to drop even deeper to compensate for the freedom Wenger gives to his beloved Welshman…the obvious problem with that is it exposes the weakness of both players

    Ramsey has had one good season for us since his horrible injury, he needlessly gives the ball away much too often and his finishing is even worse than Giroud’s…once again we have fallen in love with the idea of what could have been…Ramsey has only scored 2 meaningful goals in his entire Arsenal tenure: one in Turkey and the other in last year’s FA Cup, which is not near enough to make him a centerpiece of this offence…likewise simply his presence on the team sheet has led Wenger into making horrible tactical blunders because he will force Ramsey into the lineup even when it doesn’t make sense…just think of all those games when Ramsey was played out wide on the right, which forced the RB to come up into the play far more often, and deeper, because Ramsey invariably would find himself in a more central position leaving us far more vulnerable to the counterattack..don’t get me wrong, I like Ramsey, this isn’t personal, he clearly shows a different sort of leadership and flare with the Welsh national squad, but this is largely because the style of play is different and that squad revolves around him and Bale

    Xhaka, who I like, or at least I like the Xhaka who plays for the Swiss national squad, has shown to be in way over his head in the premiership…of course he showed late in the year that he can stretch the field with the long ball but our squad isn’t really set-up for that style of play…most of his long passes are in the air not on the ground and our squad without Giroud, which should have been sold the minute the transfer window officially opened, is one of the smallest in England…we need someone who can pick out the runs of our forwards in the lanes and who is fast enough to come forward into space without conceding his defensive responsibilities…we rarely see him shoot or even be in a position on the field to do so, we rarely, if ever, see him used for set pieces and it appears that the only person at the club who has ever coached him up when it comes to tackling is Coq, which explains his atrocious disciplinary record…maybe it’s me but didn’t you see him coming in and contributing more from an offensive perspective, with his killer left foot, than a deep-lying midfielder…if that wasn’t the case we are the stupidest team alive for taking him over Kante

  29. Antonio Gooner says:

    Arsene is that you? We have NO chance with Xhaka and Ramsey.. you doubt it? Look at last year.

    Also tell me which was the last team to win the EPL without a PURE DM?
    I can start:
    Last year – Kante
    Year before – Kante
    Year before – Matic

    Do not fool yourself.. as I read here 3-4-3 means 2 playersin the middle of the park and one needs to be a pure DM

  30. wilshegz says:

    do you need to be reminded that Ramsey is inconsistent? he was poor last season till d final few games.
    It was in d final few games when formation was changed that Ramsey began to play well… his poor form for most of d season was why we missed Cazorla n felt Wilshere’s absence gravely.
    …last season like 2seasons ago, our season basically went down a downward slop from d moment Cazorla got injured..
    …Cazorla n Wilshere are injury prone, Ramsey is inconsistent…hence we have no reliable CM.. we need a reliable n quality CM

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