If the events on Tuesday night and the previous weekend tell us anything, it is that a result should never be taken too seriously. Yet we all love to draw big conclusions from single events; and it’s even better when two single events have the same outcome…. it might lead to a fine theory; or it is often the conception – or the reinforcement – of our very own hobby horse(s).
The Dortmund loss does not make us doomed for winning the CL this year; and beating Villa comprehensively does not make us strong candidates for claiming this season’s PL title. Cups and titles are won by the OGAAT approach: one game at a time, leaving the past behind.
The season has only just begun, and it is hard to draw any conclusions on how it will end for Arsenal. The player purchases have been good to fantastic, although we left ourselves potentially a bit vulnerable at the centre of defence and midfield (DM). The late return of WC stars/relatively short preparation for the new season, the two CL qualification games and the international break – just when the PL got started – have all hindered Arsene in putting his stamp on the team and properly implement his chosen style of play, formation (4-1-4-1) and team tactics.
He clearly is still working on getting his new 4-1-4-1 formation to become the footballing machine he has in mind. The combos of Wilshere, Ozil, Ramsey and Sanchez, or Ox, Rosicky, Santi and Diaby/Campbell – or any combination as you see fit – have great potential. With the right man in front of them – OG, Welbeck, Walcott, Akpom? – and a solid player behind them, this could become a deadly, all concurring midfield foursome.
The notion that Arsene is compromising the effectiveness of the team in order to fit Ozil, Wilshere and Ramsey in, is incorrect. In my opinion, it is actually the other way round: he had a plan and got the players to execute it: and the signing of Alexis has been the icing on the cake.
I am starting to like the idea, advocated by the likes of Gerry (who partly inspired this post) and others, that Wenger is actually after a ‘footballing DM’ – a Bastian Schweinsteiger type, rather than a classical ‘destroyer’ type – but is either undecided who this should be, or has not been able to get his man as yet. However, after years of waiting for a DM, I do not know what to believe anymore.
He might, of course, also be working behind the scene to get one of his current midfielders to adapt to this role. I have no doubt that Diaby could be our ‘Schweini’ but we all know it would be mad to bank on this. Whoever plays the sole, deeper laying midfield role will need to be super fit and able to play (almost) every week. With the best will in the world, this is not going to happen for Abou this season, if at all.
Arteta and Flamini have each been played in the deeper role but they both have limitations, and are best used as back-up going forward. Arteta is the sort of player who initially gets better the longer he plays, and he might now enter a good spell. But I seriously doubt whether he can be our fulcrum in midfield for the whole season. I believe it would be a big mistake to bank on one of Arteta (sorry 17HT 🙂 ), Flamini or Diaby to fill this very important position, or indeed to simply believe that between the three of them the role will be covered this season. In the big games, we need a big player in the Schweini role.
An interesting sub-development is the imminent re-emergence of Theo into the team. Once fully fit he is likely to get a starting role in most games. It will either be as our sole CF, which I very much doubt, or as our (free-to-roam?) right (or even left) ‘winger’. If the latter is the case, one of Jack, Mesut, Alexis and Aaron will have to move…
And I reckon it could be Rambo: not to the bench, but, here it comes….. in the Schweini role. He really has everything in his locker to make it there. This is predominantly a gut feeling, just based of having seen both players in action. But looking at ‘Whoscored’, both players are rated with the similar strengths (both, notably, have no weaknesses, indicating their ‘all-roundness):
|Strengths – Very Strong||Strengths – Strong||Style of Play|
|Ramsey||Passing, Defensive Contributions||Key passes, Holding on to the ball||Likes to do lay-offs, likes to dribble, likes to tackle|
|Schweinsteiger||Passing, Direct Free-Kicks||Key passes, Long Shots||Likes to do lay-offs|
Ramsey has a slightly inferior passing accuracy (this season 85.9%) than Schweinsteiger (last season an incredible 89.9% – he has yet to play this season), and also wins les aerial duels per game (0.8 v 2). The latter could be explained by the height difference or the positions both have been playing in – Ramsey is half a decimetre smaller. But then, Ramsey scores and assists a lot more than Schweinsteiger: 10 goals and 7 assists in 20 PL games v 4 goals and 4 assists in 22 Bundesliga matches last season. The latter could be explained by Ramsey playing in a more attack-minded midfield role than Schweini.
When you read ‘Whoscored?’ valuation of Ramsey you cannot help but think that sounds like a good all-round, defensive minded midfielder to me: defensive contributions, holding on to the ball, likes do lay-offs, likes to tackle…
Clearly, Ramsey’s ability to make clever, timely runs into the box as well as finishing off chances should also have been added to Ramsey’s strengths by Whoscored?. And the question remains whether playing Aaron deeper would deprive us too much of his goals and assists this season. But I would like us to try Ramsey in the sole, deeper laying midfield role a few times and see how he will do. He has the stamina and the passion, and all the necessary skills; and let’s hope he can stay injury free this season.
I have a feeling he would be a revelation and might even become our very own Schweini.
What do you think, fine fellow Gooners?
Written by: TotalArsenal.