After a disappointing defeat to Aston Villa in the first game of the season, Arsenal have moved into top gear, winning all but one of their last 11 games in all competitions. Such top form must be by some distance attributed to the blistering performances of the Premier League’s man of the moment, Aaron Ramsey.
Such is the nature of football that it creates no permanent enemies. Ramsey, not so long ago, had the Arsenal fans calling for his head, and had Arsene Wenger listened to them, the Welshman would have been plying his trade elsewhere. Fortunately though, the Frenchman had other ideas. He tied the 22-year-old down to a long-term contract despite his wretched form. He was right.
When Jack Wilshere got injured in the second half of last season, Ramsey got the opportunity to operate in his favoured position and set up a formidable partnership with Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky, enabling the Gunners to pip arch-rivals Spurs to fourth in the table, keeping the virginity of Wenger’s Champions League qualification record in his 17-year reign as Arsenal manager intact.
This season though, Ramsey has added another dimension to his repertoire, scoring goals whenever he pleases, something that had eluded him in the past. He currently sits top of Arsenal’s scoring charts with eight goals to his name. Add to that his 35 tackles-won stat and as well as his ability to cover every bit of grass makes him the most complete midfielder in the Arsenal engine room. Without a shadow of a doubt, Ramsey is Arsenal’s Mr. Untouchable. With Mathieu Flamini performing what Wenger described as the ‘dark role’ admirably, there’s definitely no better partner for him than Ramsey.
This therefore brings me to our last game against West Brom. I was greatly disappointed when I saw Ramsey being played on the right, with his central midfield slot being occupied by Arteta! For me, this was the strongest reason why we didn’t win that game. Arteta sat too deep leaving Mesut Ozil too isolated to cause the kind of impact Arsenal fans have been used to since he joined on transfer deadline day from Real Madrid. By playing on the right, Ramsey was restricted to operating in a small space where he could not express and forge himself space to shoot at goal. Consequently, he was substituted after failing to find his old self. Wenger was definitely to blame. Let’s face it; Arteta had no business in that team. Yes, they played well together against Napoli but let’s not forget that that was the first time in five games that Ramsey failed to find the net.
What do we take then? The passes of Arteta or the goals of Ramsey? Of course, I’d take the goals as they win games. Don’t get me wrong, Arteta is a very good player, but Ramsey is the man at the moment. He should play, and in his favoured position.
Let us wait for Theo Walcott to return because when he does, I’m sure Ramsey won’t play on the right anymore. Then Wenger will have no choice but to play Ramsey and bench Arteta, who will then have to wait for his chance. The injury the Spaniard suffered towards the end of pre-season cost him his place in the starting 11, and forced Wenger to find a new balance, a perfect balance, and there’s no reason to change it. Remember, Wenger, NEVER CHANGE A WINNING TEAM!
Let Ramsey play where he operates best.