Wenger and Ramsey Are Teaching Us a Lesson

Yesterday’s game against the team with five As in its name was very pleasing on the eye. It was obvious that Galatasaray did not care much about the match as they attacked without vigour and defended without much care. There was so much space and time to play the ball round for us, and for once the team had their shooting boots on from the start. Alexis will have been nodding his head sagely from the comfort of his couch, massively encouraged by the quality of the finishing by his fellow team mates.

Happiness is a warm Gunner, bang-bang-shoot-shoot, and both the Pod and the Ram showed the Turks where to put their post stamps from now on with stunning technical shots into the left-hand corner of the goal. The game was over in no time, with Ramsey’s beautifully placed pile driver sealing it once and for all.

There is a balance to be held in our Arsenal team: one of hard workers on the one hand and high technically skilled stars on the other. Flamini, BFG, Giroud, Sanogo, Nacho, Welbeck, Koz and one or two others are the hard workers, and the likes of Ozil, Wilshere, Ox, Diaby, Walcott etc are the truly gifted ones. The latter group will have to put in a shift as well in order to become first teamers in Arsene’s regular eleven, but this is not their natural strength.

Of course, we also need players who have a lot of both, grafters and craftsmen in one if you like; and we all know who they are: Alexis, Gibbs, Debuchy, Chambers (still needs developing though), Arteta and Ramsey. Arteta is getting on a bit now and will need replacing, although he should be retained in the squad for a few years to come.

Getting the balance right is key and for that Wenger would love to have his whole squad available. Hopefully soon, we will have a fully fit (or there about) squad available and then we can truly judge the quality of our team compared to other top teams.

The spine of the team is so important, and in the middle of the spine we need a good DM AND the engine….. the box to box midfielder, the linker between attack and defence.

And for this, Ramsey is very, very important (and so is Wilshere but that is for another post). It looked for a while that he just was not able to get back to his fantastic form of last season, as if the b2b-Beast potion he had swallowed back then had finally ran its course. His passing was heavy and his goal attempts were rubbish, and it just looked like he would continue to struggle for a long time.

Many fellow Gooners felt he should be benched and other players should be given a chance. But, as I have explained on a few occasions, Wenger does not work that way. He knows that Aaron is out of form, but also that he has not lost his qualities or drive.

It was simply a matter of having trust in him and giving him confidence. This is not done by benching a player and showing him the competition is ready to dump him on the bench for good, or worse. Management by fear and sanctions is not Wenger’s style: he is a Y-manager and not an X-manager, using McGregor’s classification of managers. He believes in players being self-motivated and keen to succeed and that they need support and confidence in order to do so. Carrots and strokes rather than sticks and ridicule.

It may have taken a while and cost us a few points, but Arsene’s patience and trust in Aaron is paying dividend now. Three goals and two assists in the last three games are very encouraging: let it be the start of a glorious remainder of the season for both Ramsey and indeed the team as a whole.



If Ramsey is on a role, Arsenal’s motor is purring, and boy was it a joy to listen to it during the first half v Galatasaray.

‘I’ll take 50% efficiency to get 100% loyalty.’ Samuel Goldwyn.

‘The thing I was attracted to as a little girl was Kirk, Bones and Spock, and their utter loyalty. There’s nothing more powerful than that.’ Jolene Blalock.

Written by: TotalArsenal.

29 thoughts on “Wenger and Ramsey Are Teaching Us a Lesson

  • Nice one TA. Ramsey came good last time he was equally out of form, so we can only hope that this is his time again. But as you rightly point out, the opposition will be stronger than this, even at the bottom end of the premiership table?
    However, there is no denying it, when he is hot, he is REALLY hot.

    (clipped from the backend of the previous post) …
    Take it as read that I was deliriously happy with the first half, somewhat tempered by the thought that some of the Gala players may have been saving themselves for their domestic battles? I was keen to see who got on from the teenage melange on the bench.

    Ahead of the game it was more than likely that Debuchy would need to come off towards the end, but I wonder just how much thought went into it?

    Calum Chambers was doing really well compared to his previous game, but he is also a half decent right back. It did not take long to see where O’Connor would be best suited? It wasn’t right back. Putting him in on Koscielny’s position seemed to me the most logical, especially at 3-nil up? I think Mert would have been happier playing the ball forward from the right side too, as time and again it was on Chambers side where space opened up.
    But that was not the only option either. A straight switch back for Bellerin would have been better. Sadly, Bellerin will not be used out on the left in the league, as he clearly showed he cannot tackle with his left foot. He got tighter in the second half, but would be exploited mercilessly by any right winger in the premiership?
    Whereas O’Connor had the opposite problem on the right, apart from his continual drifts towards his natural home in the centre. I feel he would have been more comfortable wide on the left, if it was deemed unwise to upset the existing CB partnership.

    The other two substitutes were brought on earlier out arising problems, but again I felt sorry for both. I said before the game that Maitland-Niles (or as AW says it in his Gallic way, Niles-Maitland) was the perfect sub for Ox or Ramsey, but with Flamini coming off at the same time, he had to do the defensive midfield roles of both, and lost his chance to show his more attacking side. However, I do think he, out of all three of these academy players on show, was the one that did not look out of place, and can be well pleased with his efforts.
    Zelalem suffered. Not only because the Turkish side were given a wake up call, and worked a lot harder to get in position to shoot, badly for the most part, but also our front runners no longer had the drive to go forwards, shorn of the energy and experience of Ramsey, and the stability and experience that Flamini could give. That and the fact that Sanogo was having a bit of a ‘mare in keeping possession, and Campbell’s flashes of skill were woefully undone by poor passes, or passes that were not made and should have been. Although to be fair, it was his first start, and he could improve enormously if he gets a feel he is part of the team?
    All in all, this reduced Zelalem’s famed creativity to zilch. He is better than this showing, but is still a work in progress?
    I would have much preferred to have seen Kamara replacing Flamini, or may be Akpom for one of the aforementioned front guys. But Akpom may just jump to the head of the queue without playing. Interesting if he gets the nod on the bench on Saturday?

    One final note for young talent. I urge all to watch the Chesea v Sporting Lisbon game, not just for another viewing of William C, but to cast envious looks at the Chavs Loftus- Cheek (or Cheek-Loftus?). On a skill level for this 90’s born generation, this lad seems to have been given a double helping …. Just enjoy.

  • Good observations, Gerry. I watched on a stream and missed quite a bit of the second half. It looked to me that we had the foot off the gas after Ramsey and Flamini went off. I reckon Arsene had said something like let’s keep it to a margin of three; if they score, go on attack and score again. I have seen Gardiola and Klopp do the same to us at times. This was not good for the young ones of course, as they wanted to go out there and attack full on, much to the dismay of 11 fingers…. 😀

  • From BBC:
    ‘Ramsey’s left footed half-volley barely dipped, such was its power and reached a speed of 53mph, taking just 1.1 seconds to hit the net from a shade under 30 yards.’

  • A really super Post, TA – well done and thank you. 🙂

    I am not sure that Gala were not interested in last night’s game. They set off at a good pace but were rocked by an early goal but skewered by two others and responded by getting physical.

    In the second half, our team who had hardly played together were further changed and did well to hold off Gala who were playing for their pride, and I think Maitland Niles and the sublime Zelalem played well within themselves.

    I do not like to disagree with Gerry, who knows his football, but, as I said, I thought Z’s control and passing in tight areas was excellent. Psychologically the game was won and I think the team were playing to instructions not to extend themselves and to keep a clean sheet.
    This did mean we were defending to deep, and Per should have said move forward to the Arsenal players, but apart from a stupid refereeing decision, leading to a wonderful free kick goal by Schneider, we would have done so.

    Altogether an invigorating display, and it lifted the spirits after a shabby few days made worse by some very disgruntled fans.

  • Great post, so I’m hoping that Wenger has stumbled upon a key system which doesn’t necessarily need the implementation of a number 10 role. Ramsey and Chamberlain were really effective and knew they had a DM (as much as we don’t really have one) behind them.

    That free’s up the Ox from a wide position and puts him centrally where he can hurt the opposition with his dribbling, passing range and long range efforts.

    Out wide it’s made for Theo and Sanchez to offer width and a goalscoring threat, CF would need to be rotated with Welbeck and Giround.

    The only conundrum we would then have if (and a big if at that) is where does Ozil and Wilshire fit in amongst them, and we all know that Wenger will want to play them together at some point.

    Interesting times once we have a fully fit squad!

  • Aaron’s wonder goal was just what he and the rest of us needed, and I am very happy for him.

    The fact is tho’ that he is still either over hitting the ball when passing, not that he is alone in that, or under hitting 2 yard passes, and it is obvious that he has been frustrating himself.

    The goal shows what he is capable of, and bodes well for him and the team in the second half of the season.

    Incidentally, everyone goes on about poor old Diaby being perennially injured, but that is also true of Walcott, who will have been out for almost a year before he is back and match fit – if he is fit that is. And Theo has a history of drawn out injuries so more in the future would be no surprise.

  • Thanks and welcome Roy. Playing 4-1-2-3 is a great prospect. Yes we need a good DM for this and Jack and Ozil can play in the ‘2’ instead of Ramsey and Ox…. Or compete with them for the honour… Happy times once all are fit. 🙂

  • Well, TA, I certainly would not fall out with Gerry about Zelalem’s performance last night, as he only played a bit part in a belt and braces team missing 12 first team players due to injury or resting.

    I suspect that we will all see a wonderful player when he matures – and that will be pretty soon in my opinion. The youngster has ‘class’ written through him like a piece of Blackpool rock candy! 🙂

  • Yes Redders, Theo has been injured a lot, and in the position he plays, he will easily get injured again. Tough one. I reckon you are right re Zelalem but I thought the same about Eisfeld. Sometimes it is hard to predict whether a player will make it.

  • It was an excellent first half display only let down by Bellerin’s lack of ability on the left (out of position so no huge criticism there really) and Sanogo not really producing anything up front and Campbell showing flashes of skill only to mess it up at the last with a poor pass or decision.

    At half time there SHOULD have been three substitutions;

    Ramsey (slight hamstring niggle) – Maitland-Niles
    Debuchy (not to over work him) – O’Conner
    Sanogo – Akpom

    Flamini should never have been substituted, what was the point?
    He was on a yellow but he is an extremely seasoned professional he had to simply adapt to that situation. Putting on Maitland-Niles to fill that role (a very young, eager to impress, inexperienced player) could easily have just as much chance of getting a yellow quite early and then being in the same situation as Flamini.
    I said this to one of the lads I was watching the match with and they said it was to save Flamini from a red card in the competition so he is still playable in the later stages. If we are still relying on bloody Flamini as our defensive midfield option in February (after the TW) then Wenger needs to be shot – was my response.

    It should have been Maitland-Niles taking up Ramsey’s position, Akpom up front and O’Conner partnering BFG in the middle with Chambers shifting out to RB and the team should most definitely have kept their 4-3-3 formation it was a joy to watch, some bloody fast flowing attacking football for once!

    ————The OX———————A-M-N———–

    Now that team in the second half could have gone on to score the six we needed to go top!!

    Instead AW wimped out and reverted to our boring congested over passing 4-2-3-1 formation, played players out of position as usual (A-M-N as DM and O’ Conner as RB) and threw on Zelalem who looks physically challenged sometimes in the reserves let alone in a tough tackling game away at Gala.
    With Sanogo holding the line about as well as my little niece and Zelalem having trouble picking out the now diminishing Campbell and co my expected exciting second half had successfully been reduced to a normal league game performance.

    Good performance overall but stupid subs made for a crap second half!

    There I bet you lot weren’t expecting that piece of miserable moaning from such a high scoring result lol, but there you have it

    And Bah Humbug!


  • Yes Steve, just for you he should have done what you are suggesting. 😛

    But I was expecting it. It is simple: not enough youngsters and kamikaze football and Steve’s eleventh fingers is in an awful twist. Others would have wanted Arsenal to sit it out and protect the win, and, most importantly, avoid further injuries. I realize more and more what a big shock it was for you when we went out in the League Cup so early…. 🙂

  • TA, Not enough youngsters? I’m not saying that mate, he used the perfect amount imo I wanted three brought on and he brought three on lol. The problem was he made a mistake bringing on Zelalem and not Akpom, then proceeded to play Maitland-Niles and O’ Conner out of their normal positions (why would i expect anything less from bloody Wenger). The final nail in the coffin was the switch from 4-3-3 to 4-2-3-1 which killed the game, how can you say it would have been kamikaze to continue with 4-3-3? We had scored 3 and conceded 0, change the formation and we score 1 and conceed 1 (familiar story with us and that system).

    I’m not complaining about what he did (playing the youth and making the subs) just wish he did it right!

    Can’t have everything i suppose but a great opportunity missed, Gerry will know what i’m talking about. 🙂

  • Fair enough, Steleven 🙂

    The second half was a bit of damp squib. But I reckon that is what Wenger wanted. Learning how to see out a game is high on the ‘must learn quickly’ list, I reckon.

  • RA – I am not going to disagree with you about Zelalem, because what I said was his ‘creative’ passes were virtually none existent. Yes he did those 2 and 3 yards passes very well, even the 5 yarders back and forth … but a brick wall can do those?
    What was missing, and what he is very capable of doing, are those knife through butter passes that split defences wide open … when there are willing runners. But they had stopped running. He had so little opportunity because the front players were either too close, too static, or well marked. Not his fault.

    Steve – just what I said. I disagree with you on Flamini though. It is not because he would miss the February encounter. He was taken off because another yellow, and we would be down to 10 men? I actually like the fact that he took the decision after just 35 minutes, as that is when Ainsley said he was told he would be playing. In fact a double half time substitution is twice as good 😀
    Mind, and this is with a little bit of hindsight, I would have had Kamara on for Flamini, and let the M-N do the creative stuff with what was left of the Ox. Chuba can shine when he comes on against Newcastle?

    By the time we get to that quicker double header, QPR & WHA, Campbell might be given another start in one of them, especially if Ox is deployed in the middle again? By then we should have a chance of seeing Hayden too.

    But tonight, Rubens Loftus-Cheek is the one to watch.

  • I completely ignore Rubens Loftus-Cheek Gerry, because he’s very talented, a youth prospect, English and plays for bloody Chelsea 👿 How annoying!
    Still we have enough English lads at the Arsenal to keep me happy 🙂

  • TA – RTC had to wait 80 minutes before he replaced our ex.
    Shame the useless pillocks couldn’t get him one earlier, but he still looks good.

  • Gerry, I reckon UEFA really frown upon teams using their B team in their competition, so it might be a reason you did not see him.

    Shame about Roma.i like the way they are managed and set up.

  • Hi

    only saw snippets, but we looked solid enough. AR getting some drive back is good news. Amazing how some injury time off can throw off that last step of form…

    Newcastle will be tough. I saw the beginning of Stoke and we looked very average. Thankfully I had to leave at half time …

    Regarding other aspects of the post. We need that Vieira but that’s old news. I think we also miss the creativity of Ozil and drive of AR/JW/Theo. But that’s my opinion. I equally think that Ozil et al do put in the graft but it goes lesser noted, when we look for energy and motion more than thought and precision. For opposite ends of that spectrum with equal, IMO, impact I give you Sanchez and Ozil …

    Either is fine, especially if you are winning, but if not winning then the motion often wins hearts and minds. In the actual game, again my opinion, energy wont take you there without precision and vice versa, so … we will have to wait and see .. Thus, is my take on the balance argument.

    Now I head back towards NZ and the 34 hours of flying to get there.. sigh, and of course there is another train strike today…

    cheers — jgc

  • All agreed, Geoff. Have a safe flight. Once you are settled, it would be nice to get one of your typically analytical posts again…. Would be very nice

  • Missed a day there, but I’m up early (again) and have time for a little football talk…No need for the sandbags (nor the snowthrower) quite yet, but the winds have been crazy. I don’t want to jinx anything, but I don’t believe we have any damage from any tree-fall…

    This is a(nother) very good post, Total, and I agree about the squad. Interesting that you include players like Diaby (who has played exactly 0 minutes this term…) but don’t mention (one) Santi Cazorla. I’m not sure if you just forgot about him or are just trolling me by leaving him off your lists… 😉

    I really don’t want to make this about Santi but he will be a very important player over this next stretch and, I think, along with Ramsey (and Alexis–just because you cannot stop him from trying…), is the key guy for linking back to front and bringing others into the game. Against Galatasaray, the Ox did extremely well in a similar role and used all that time and space they afforded to great effect. Everything is quicker (and much rougher) in the English matches, of course, but surely he (too, along with the goal scorers) will be buoyed by the performance in Istanbul.

    Looking ahead (and dispensing with all the disgruntlements of the youth team watchers…) I think the Newcastle match will be a VERY good opportunity to use what was gained in the trip to Turkey. I associate the Northern (and esp. the Northeastern) clubs with a very physical style but the squad Pardieux has assembled is all about pace and technique, albeit on a (slightly) lower level. In other words, I’m pretty confident, if we go about our business with the proper focus, that we can outplay them. Getting the result, of course, is another matter entirely, and they will bring confidence in that regard after slaying the little South London club with all the money… Still, it’s very good at least a couple of extra guys (Rambo and Lulu) have their shooting boots properly laced… (Also, to me, it seemed that there was a lot more confidence at the back in our BFG, marshaling his youngsters and reintegrating the first choice RB. It likely helped having his old(er) #1 behind him…)

    Back on topic…Now that he’s gotten his goals, I think AR will go even further in trying to put others in for quality chances. His trickery doesn’t always come off, but when it does, if the final ball is working, it’s quite a display. (His first goal, while not as spectacular was also very, very well taken…) Hopefully the assist late vs Southampton was just as satisfying. As long as he’s running freely (i.e., no lingering muscle issues) the big ideas (his confidence, bordering on audacity…) can get the proverbial “happy ending” we all enjoy… On the skill vs graft idea, I tend to side with the professor, that there’s been good effort from everyone, even if some of the more technical guys are sometimes seen as more dainty…

    In other words, the effort has been strong even if the level of performance and the results have suffered from all the injuries and playing some guys who aren’t fully fit (Rambo for a few, the LBs more recently…)

    Those pesky results…While some prioritize run outs for the youth prospects (or even believe, somehow, that that is the path to better results…Sorry F11ngers…) it was good to have the recent match fully in the bag very early, allowing all the quibbles about who got a chance and who didn’t and the formations and the decision to protect rather than run up the goals to take center stage…

    Back in the real world, however… 😀 … We remain in extreme OGAAT territory, what with the supporter protests and all… The successful trip to Turkey and the choices about who did and didn’t travel in midweek and the chances given AND taken (notably, by older, more established–and heavily relied upon–players…) will only enhance the desire and collective will in the team. The rested fellows will want to emulate. If it’s all about getting behind the guy who runs the show (the manager) and sending a message to the support–ahead of a small break and then the madness of the holiday period (when surely a kid or three will get some chances…) all the better…

  • There is, HT, a time when the ‘real world’ can come unstuck, and the having some where else to look can have a beneficial effect on results?

    Take this Saturday for example. Koscielny is a doubt, Monreal might be too …
    and Chambers is suspended, unless you are unlike myself, because I had forgotten that.?
    So temporarily, looking on the gloomy side, who are you going to turn to …
    Ghostbusters? 😀
    It is moments like these, and they are sure to crop up again, during the hectic period, when you just might be glad that somebody did finally get a run out and can fill the gap?

    It is not just at CB level either.

  • Don’t get me wrong, Gerry, I agree… And it is good that those guys got to play…Also, it’s a true shame that others who seemed ahead in their development (Hayden, Ajayi) didn’t… In truth, with the storm around here and my physical troubles (better at the moment, but I’m not totally out of the woods…) I just can’t keep up with the “scouting” (for solutions…) that you and Steve are able to discuss. Keep at it, of course, and I appreciate all efforts to contextualize re: the first team…

    Speaking of…I didn’t see the whole match, but in the part I watched, that Greek fellow we (supposedly) scouted came as close as anybody to keeping the Sheiky Boys out of the CL elims last night… Shame that…

    Like you say, the first team may not be quite as ready and rested as I’m hoping…Thanks for the, er, expectation modifier, as reasonable expectations tend to lead to reasonable levels of happiness… 😦

    Personally, I think things are well positioned for this one, which has a special place in my heart, having attended the same fixture 2 seasons ago, but AA WTF DIK?… 😀

  • I think Newcastle have injury problems too, so it may be more of a level playing field?

    It seems problems of health with bloggers is doing the rounds. Hopefully mine is only temporary, but I had to douse myself with paracetemol tablets to watch the match on Tuesday. Earache giving me a headache. Had a lousy night sleep, got through Wednesday just, and reasonablly okay today.
    Mind the weather here is a bit of a so and so too. I was up early this morning, around 4.30, and while I was in the garden with the dogs, I felt a few spots of rain. Next 10 seconds is it absolutely lashing it down. I made it to the door, but poor old Saffy was caught doing a ‘biggie’. She got soaked.
    The wind has been pretty strong here too. I got blown round the corner with help from the dogs. I don’t think I have run that fast in the last 5 years. Luckily we missed the high tide, as huge waves were still sending showers of spray over the foot path, even 20 odd feet above the normal sea level. We missed most of the rain though. Much the same, if not worse tomorrow.
    I’m not looking forward to that one tiny bit.

    I hope you get through your problems. Stress does not help, so don’t let the minor matter of footie ruin your day.

    Now I’ve been awake for 15 hours I am getting a bit drowsy, so I am shutting down the machine for a while.
    Take it easy ..

  • Cheers 17ho 🙂

    Where to place Santi…. Not sure. He has got graft mentality but not the body for it. He has very good skill but not always at the required level… But agreed he will be important for us this season with Ozil and Jack sidelined.

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