In comparison to the majority of midfielders in competitive world football, Aaron Ramsey does most things better nearly all of them. He passes, tackles, shoots, competes. At Arsenal, at the moment, he is not doing them as well as he can – and not as well as Song, Arteta, Rosicky or Benayoun. Crippled by under confidence, made worse by the Arsenal crowds tendency to locate a scapegoat, he looks like a player struggling to make decisions wanting to revert to a safer style. His passes became shorter as he was appointed “duty pariah” for the night against Wigan, and consequently, his time on the ball became longer as he was distracted and trying to not make an error. Bereft of ideas he still did not hide and still asked for the ball which showed character.
The Arteta role does not suit Ramsey, really. Ramsey is a young Frank Lampard type with, normally, a more assured touch. Arteta can turn on a pinhead and clip a perfect pass to feet, w If he could add the aggression of Paul Scholes with the focus of Gerrard to his game (no reason he cannot, they are mental) then he need not fail at Arsenal. The problem for him is that he is probably more suited to an away game mentality; absorbing and closing down teams on the ball, and kick starting counter attacks whereby he finishes from the edge of the area.
Obviously Ramsey would not be a starter in the current team if everyone were fit due to recent poor form. The perfect example of how to best use of Ramsey came against Manchester City whereby as substitute he was able to close down tired legs and, late on, make a run through the middle. I am sure Wenger is aware of his strengths and the best way to use them but injuries have necessitated otherwise. I rate Yossi Benayoun very highly and think he deserves another year at Arsenal, but I personally believe he won’t get that deal as Wenger will use Ramsey in similar fashion next year. Next year Ramsey will have had a full season under his belt after having his leg broken and I fully expect his role to be that of the multi-positional, hard running midfielder with an eye for goal. If Robin van Persie does leave, Wenger will have an opportunity to replace him with a more pace-based forward and exploit teams with a counter-attacking style. Should the team evolve in this style, Ramsey could force his way into a side that would make the most of his late runs. At Chelsea, Ramsey could probably find a niche for himself in the style of Raul Meireles or, better still, Lampard – the energetic goalscoring central midfielder.
Podolski (almost a certainty to join it would appear), Gervinho, and Walcott are players that rely on a) receiving the ball quickly in space and b) being able to beat defences with athletic running and dynamic decision making. Such players like them, and (concerningly) Ramsey appear to struggle against the challenge of facing two banks of four defenders when in possession – whereas Fàbregas, Arteta, Rosicky excel. Wenger is right to have secured a squad of players who allow him to chop and change to deal with differing styles. The difficulty lies when injuries deprive him of the players to meet the challenge in question. Arteta’s precision passing and short backlift shooting from distance ultimately decided the game against Manchester City, who endeavoured to provide as little time on the ball as Chelsea will. Ramsey, if selected, must make bold decisions, pass accurately and withstand the power of Chelsea’s six foot plus midfield. I have faith he will deliver the poise and intelligence we would expect of his more experienced colleagues, so get behind him. Prediction: Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea.
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