A partnership between Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey has been something that I have personally always dreamed about. You can check my FIFA career modes dating back to 2011 if you need proof. But with Ramsey returning to the squad in the very near future (we assume), is it possible for the two players, who arguably embody Arsenal the most, to play in a way that compliments both of them?
Yes, I believe this can be the case. However, with the current personnel in the squad, it is not possible for them to be able to both play where they are most comfortable. There is a severe lack of defensive stability in the Arsenal midfield. Believe it or not, it’s 2018 and Arsenal have yet to replace Patrick Vieira. A figure in the mold of Vieira, or even more contemporary mold like N’golo Kante or Nemanja Matic, is absolutely necessary if a Ramsey/Wilshere partnership were to ever be a real staple of this team.
Both Wilshere and Ramsey like to slide in at that number 8 role, play from deep, but also provide an attacking threat when they make a run into the box. In, fact I think both men are perceived to be at their peak when they find themselves in scoring positions. Ramsey was in his best form during the 2013-14 season when he scored 16 goals and provided the team with an FA Cup winner. Jack is still most revered for his performance against Barcelona, when he ran circles around Xavi in 2011.
The lack of a defensive presence in midfield has hindered the development of both Wilshere and Ramsey. Especially when I suspect there is very little direction given to the Arsenal midfielders who aren’t in the number 10 role. Arsene does not play defensive minded midfielders…sure Xhaka is deployed as such…but he is in no way a defensive midfielder, and it is foolish to use him as one. Because there is no defensive anchor, the likes of Ramsey and Wilshere tend to drop back to provide some defensive coverage which is not their greatest strength. But, if they don’t drop back it leaves Granit Xhaka alone to do the defending that he isn’t quite capable of either. So if you were to put out a midfield of Xhaka, Ramsey, Wilshere…there would be three number 8’s on the pitch…not ideal. So, if a Ramsey/Wilshere partnership is something that we’d like to see there absolutely must be a defensive minded stalwart behind them.
Okay, now you’re saying,”What’s your point, I thought you said they could play together”. I did, and here is my proposal. It truly might be worth trying. Neither Ramsey nor Wilshere are strangers to playing out of position. In fact, both have some experience playing on the right-wing. That is exactly what I would suggest.
Take either one and throw them on the right side of the pitch. They would be able to use their attacking ability further up the pitch, while providing better defensive coverage for Bellerin, than the likes of Theo Walcott, for example.
Which of the two should be pushed out?
Look, I know Ramsey, kind of, sort of despised playing out wide…but guess what. Out you go, my friend. He’s coming back from injury and Wenger almost always accommodates Ramsey however he can. But, I would hope that Jack has earned a spot in the first XI for the foreseeable future given his form “every week now”. So, the only way this could work is if Ramsey goes out wide.
Now, this presents a new problem that I’m sure someone will bring up in the comments “YOU WANT THREE LEFT-FOOTED PLAYERS IN OUR MIDFIELD???”
Uh, yeah. The only reason people see this as a problem is because left-footed players tend to be very left-footed. This isn’t the case for Ozil, Wilshere, or Xhaka. At least not in my opinion. Ozil is about as versatile as they come. Jack has scored with both feet time and time again, especially when he is involved in our more famous “Wengerball” goals. Xhaka tends to stay with the left because of his affinity for playing deep long balls and taking shots from midfield. Playing the three of them together would not prove detrimental to the side. Ramsey tends to pull himself into the middle of the pitch anyway, especially with Bellerin as his flanking parter.
If we want to see Ramsey and Wilshere play together with the current squad we have now, it must be in a 4-3-3 with Ramsey out wide. Feel free to attack me in the comments. COYG.