Aaron Ramsey recently signed a long term deal in the region of 60k a week so you would think he would be in the prime of his career holding down a first term place. Speak to most Arsenal fans and they will paint you a different picture, this season Ramsey and Gervinho have been the figures that most Arsenal fans frustration has been directed towards.
Ramsey has started just 11 games this season and has more substitute appearances then starts with 12 appearances off the bench. He has often been deployed on the wing which is as much a mystery to the Arsenal crowd as it is to the pundits and bloggers that comment upon Arsenal. Brought in as a central midfielder from Cardiff City for £5 million Ramsey was seen as a central midfielder with a great engine supplemented by a wide range of passing and the ability to score the occasional pearler.
In the 2009-10 season he began to fulfill his promise and held down a starting place before a Shawcross initiated leg-break put an end to Ramsey’s breakthrough season. In 2010-11 when he made his comeback he was obviously not at the level he was before and was loaned out to Cardiff and Nottingham Forest to regain his match sharpness.
With the sales of Nasri and Fabregas in the summer of 2011 and the long term injury to Jack Wilshere, Ramsey was chosen in the role just behind the striker for the 2011 season. He struggled to assert himself in games and was earning appearances merely due to the fact Arsenal lacked other options, however at Christmas with Rosicky returning from injury Ramsey was usurped and Rosicky had a great last 6 months dictating play despite not getting on the scoresheet often. At the end of the season Ramsey began to appear as one of the 2 infront of the defence but after a poor performance at Norwich he was replaced by Coquelin for the last game of the season versus West Brom.
This season has seen him deployed at wide with Wenger trying to recreate the Benayoun effect of aiding Arsenal in retaining possesion. However Ramsey is no winger or no Benayoun, he lacks the pace or trickery to beat players and is an average crosser. His tendency to come infield into a more congested central park is not what Arsenal needed but Wenger saw something the fans didn’t and tried this tactic numerous times. Fortunately it seems Wenger has realised this now and as of late Oxlade-Chamberlain has been impressive on the right flank securing himself a well deserved goal against Newcastle.
Ramsey is in a tricky position, his good overall play is built to be a central midfielder in a 4-4-2, a formation Arsenal do not play anymore. He is not defensively adept enough to play where Arteta plays and nor does he have the ability to carry the ball in the position Diaby and Wilshere have played this season. Of the three central midfield positins CAM probably suits him best but with the addition of Cazorla and Rosicky returning from injury Ramsey will find little to no game time there. At the moment the only game time he is receiving is outwide as a substitute to add Arsenal hold on to a lead. Coquelin often comes on as a substitute in the centre to help shield the defence and it won’t be long before Rosicky returns.
I feel if Rosicky maintains fitness he could be the death of Ramsey, he has the ability to beat players and plays at a higher tempo which suits Arsenal. Not only is he a better Central midfielder but he can player the technical winger role in a similar manner to Benayoun and when he does come in off the wing he does it to great effect often picking up the ball before finding a player in space.
Ramsey was a player who once had so much potential but I fail to see him ever breaking into the first team squad of Arsenal, yes he is a useful squad player and would like to keep him though I do not think he deserves 60k a week. I just feel Ramsey will always be on the bench and with talened youngsters like Coquelin, Eisfield and Aneke in the centre of the park Ramsey may eventually be forced to leave the club. He lost the Wales captaincy recently, which is in part due to the fact he is not a regular at Arsenal.
I’d be interested to know your views. For more Arsenal news and pieces follow me @ArsenalMez