Wellety, wellety, wellety, how about the Welsh team, eh? Blasting their way in to the semi-finals with an Aaron Ramsey-inspired performance, no less. I didn’t watch all of the game, only sporadic intervals, but what I did see was a Belgium team that were struck by the same afflictions that plagued England and those Welshies capitalised on it. Fair play to ’em, I say.
And fair play to Rambo too. He’s been much maligned at times by us Gooners over the last few seasons, so to demonstrate his ability on an international stage as he has done, shows just how effective he can be if the right environment is given to him and he’s allowed to operate within it.
Which brings me to Arsenal. I am not sure we will ever see the same Aaron Ramsey as we are seeing at the Euro’s, at Arsenal, because quite frankly we have better players in the position that he could potentially thrive. Mesut Ozil folks. I would love to see Ramsey doing the same, but I just don’t think there is a reliance on Arsenal for him to perform, as there is with the Welsh team. They need him and Bale to be the top dogs. Quite frankly, we don’t. Our set up is different to the welsh. Wales conceded more possession. Wales look to hit on the counter. Wales are an effective unit in transition moving the ball forward. At Arsenal we dominate possession. We probe and we need players who can see that eye of a needle pass. I had a look at where Rambo was playing yesterday, which i’ve listed in the graphic below:
Ramsey is set up to play in the same position he’s occupied many times for Arsenal. But some have said his role is very different. Some have suggested that he has more freedom at Wales and he is able to express himself by moving all over the pitch. The position on the teamsheet is a mere guidance of where he starts on the pitch. The thing is, that’s exactly the same as when he starts wide right at Arsenal. He starts in that position and occupies it a lot of the time, but he’s also given licence to roam, much like he is with Wales. I’ve seen Ramsey pop up wide right, left, on the edge of our box, everywhere for Arsenal. It’s what Arsene does; he allows his players freedom to set their own agendas on the pitch. So this isn’t about where we’re placing Ramsey in the team, it’s about team set up and quite simply, we aren’t going to change our whole formation just to suit Rambo.
You could look at the above formation and say “yeah, but look, they have three centre halves and marauding full backs who can provide width so Ramsey doesn’t have to”, but that happens at Arsenal. Becuase we dominate possession so much, our full backs are able to effectively operate as auxiliary wingers so often, particularly at home. So that argument that Ramsey would have to stick to a zone on the pitch at Arsenal is also negated.
Quite simply, we have better players, in positions who influence, more than Ramsey could even with what he’s doing in this Welsh team.
So what’s the answer for Arsenal if we were able to fit him in to our side? Is it true that rumours of Xhaka’s signing was so that Arsene could recreate 2013/14 Rambo by playing him alongside a deep-lying midfielder who is both hard in the tackle, covers ground and is an effective distributor? I don’t know, but it does feel to me like this might be something Arsene would try. That does also beg the question about where Santi and jack fit in. With Coquelin surely to be relegated to the role of Flamini mkII from last season, it would seem that perhaps Jack and Santi might have to occupy the Arteta/Rosicky roles of squad players, if this Rambo/Xhaka combination is tried. It’s quite facinating to see what Arsene does. It’s probably also why for the first time, I’ll probably be paying more attention to the friendlies that are soon to get underway in a few weeks time, because that will give us an indication of Arsene’s thinking.
Personally, I would love to see a deep-lying midfield of Xhaka and Wilshere. I just think as a combination it would suit us the best and be the best certainly to support Alexis and Ozil, with hopefully a new wide right pacey and tricky winger and another striker up top. But whatever happens, I want to see fluidity of movement in our middle and final third. At times last season that was sadly lacking. Let’s hope Arsene is winding the clock back 12 years with his thinking in that regard.
Right, I’m off to do some canal boating, so I’ll see thee tomorrow.