Aaron Ramsey Proving that Arsenal Need a True Right Winger


Aaron Ramsey has been holding down the right wing slot for the past four matches and based on statistics alone, he’s done superb with it. Two goals and three assists (via WhoScored.com) is a fantastic four match return. But Aaron Ramsey is a midfielder, not a winger. He lacks the pace and the width to stay out wide. It’s no fault of his, but he drifts into the center and leaves the right flank bare.

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At a time when Arsenal are firing on all cylinders, there appear to be no glaring mistakes, but there were several times where the lack of a true right winger hindered the team. Whereas Alexis Sanchez on the left can blaze down the side and penetrate from the corner, Arsenal don’t have that option on the right. Hector Bellerin overlaps on occasion but I’d rather not have him trying to double up as a winger when our defense is far more important.

Mesut Ozil had times where he shot down the right as well, but the lack of pace on his end found him caught as well, and goal scoring opportunities were lost.

in a 4-2-3-1 formation like Arsenal has been excelling in as of late, the lack of a right winger can be a bit of a problem seeing as how the formation is designed for two wingers. That position used to be owned by Theo Walcott, but his lack of prowess on the ball has rendered him a bit of a liability as well.

The answer lies in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but it’s not a simple answer.

Like I said, Aaron Ramsey has been excelling at the right wing spot, but only because he’s drifting into the center of the pitch and swapping with Mesut Ozil or even Alexis Sanchez when he gets a tad rambunctious. But one winger does not for a good counter attack make, and that’s all we have.

If you look at Aaron Ramsey’s chances created based on what part of the pitch he creates them (Squawka.com), around 90% of them are made from the center of the pitch and only 2.6% from the right wing. Compare that to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s 37% of chances created on the right wing when he’s split time at other positions as well (also through Squawka.com).

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Aaron Ramsey’s natural tendency to drift into the center is proof that he needs to be playing more centrally. Arsene Wenger has a tendency for playing players out of position, and given the excessive amount of midfielders Arsenal currently have in form, it may just be a painful necessity to start some of them out of position. Santi Cazorla even creates around 40% of his chances from one wing or the other (Squawka), so while he lacks the pace, maybe it would be best to swap him and Aaron Ramsey.

Right now, it’s not much of a concern because Arsenal can do no wrong. But come times when we desperately need a counterattack down the right, the attack fizzles and dies because Ramsey and/or Ozil don’t have the pace to drive the attack down the flank when the oppositions right back is hounding them down. Jack Wilshere’s pace actually looked more like a true right wing in the thirty minutes that he had.

There’s no need to change anything now. But when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain returns, it may be time to do some shuffling. The problem there is that no one in the starting eleven deserves to be removed.

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