The deployment of Mesut Ozil on the left means Arsene Wenger can play Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey in the centre together. But is the partnership working?
All three players are outstanding talents and should be more than comfortable interchanging with one another to make the team tick going forward.
Wilshere has started the season with real zest and enthusiasm which was evident after a stand-out performance in the 2-2 draw with Man City where he scored and provided an assist for Alexis.
The England man is the one orchestrating things in the middle of the park, picking the ball up from deep and driving at the opposition before releasing to a teammate.
Ramsey seems to have taken a backseat in the current 4-1-4-1 formation and is essentially stuck in no man’s land between the defensive midfielder and Wilshere.
As a result, his performance levels have dropped significantly from last season when he was the one starting attacks from deep and making late runs into the box to score in a 4-2-3-1 shape.
His passing is not as crisp and without the presence of Ozil as the No 10 and Giroud up front, he is unable to play quick one-twos and combinations.
There have been occasions when Wilshere has turned inside past his marker only for Ramsey to end up on top of him and get in his way.
Wenger hoped that the two could rotate their roles in the middle of the park but at present it seems they both want to do the same thing and Ramsey’s form has suffered as a result.
The shift in formation has also badly affected the team as a defensive unit having only kept one clean sheet this season.
Both Ramsey and Wilshere have attacking instincts and when teams counter with pace and power, like Dortmund and Man City did it leaves Mikel Arteta and the defence horribly exposed.
The Lampard/Gerrard debacle
In a bid to restore some stability to the team, Wenger should be reverting back to last season’s formation and getting Ozil back into the No.10 role.
A player of Ozil’s considerable talent is wasted in the wide areas and for the German to be at his most effective, he needs the freedom to roam across the pitch and pick the killer pass.
The signings of Alexis and Danny Welbeck were meant to bring out the best in Ozil because he would have running targets but that has not been the case so far because he has hardly been on the ball.
The formation change would mean Ramsey dropping back alongside the defensive midfielder, whether it is Arteta or Mathieu Flamini and Wilshere moving to the left or right of the midfield three.
Wenger said he chose not to re-sign Cesc Fabregas as he already had Ozil in that position and to justify his decision, the Frenchman needs to get his star man back in his preferred role.
The Wilshere/Ramsey conundrum is starting to mirror the problems England had trying to fit Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard into the same team.
On most occasions, Gerrard was pushed out onto the right and Lampard retained his preferred central role which is what may end up happening with Ramsey and Wilshere.
That would only happen if Wenger went back to the 4-2-3-1 formation and on the early season evidence I think it is an absolute must if Arsenal want to challenge for silverware again.
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