Aaron Ramsey’s return to form could be key to Arsenal’s title ambitions
Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey will look to build on his superb display against Manchester City, writes Reuben Lewis
Aaron Ramsey’s potential is undeniable. Before his horrific injury, the young Welsh midfielder was watering the mouths of Arsenal fans, seemingly possessing the potential to be the fulcrum of the future Gunners side, alongside Jack Wilshere.
However, since then, Ramsey has struggled to sustain any concerted period of form, either due to continuous muscular niggles or lack of confidence. As a result, he received vociferous criticism last season from the club’s discontented supporters, which were undoubtedly unjust.
Against Manchester City last weekend, in what was the Welshman’s first start of the campaign, he answered the questions surrounding his capabilities in emphatic style.
Arsene Wenger’s tactically astute decision to operate Ramsey on the right hand side of midfield in a 4-2-3-1 formation paid dividends. He naturally drifted inside to a more central position, bolstering Arsenal’s midfield. This helped counter Manchester City’s attacking threat, as the Gunners had an extra man alongside Mikel Arteta and Abou Diaby.
Arsenal also had an extra runner deriving from a central position when attacking. The indefatigable 21-year-old excels as a box-to-box midfielder and it was his qualities in this role which helped speed up the team’s transition from defence to attack.
Ramsey was direct, energetic and penetrative. He was involved in the most dangerous Arsenal moves and created the first chance of the game with a delicate through ball to Gervinho – the Ivorian’s first touch arguably counted as a shot on goal.
Wenger explained last year that the reason for deploying Ramsey in a wider position was “to balance the team, especially considering on the other side we have a real winger.”
However, there is a thin line between success and failure, as the Frenchman went on to say: “That’s why in some games like at Everton [last season] I played him on the left. It worked then but at QPR we lost and it didn’t work.”
The most significant positive from the Wales captain’s performance last weekend is that he seems to have rediscovered his confidence. For a player like Ramsey, this is vital. He needs that self-belief, and as we saw last year, his game struggles without it.
Ramsey played an influential role in Arsenal’s impressive display against the league champions, which he will hope to use as the stepping stone for a highly productive campaign, in what will be only his second full season with the Gunners.