Arsene Wenger Must Deploy Aaron Ramsey in a Central Role to Close Season


Aaron Ramsey has been very open about how little he likes playing on the right wing: “I’m not hiding away from it, I want to be in the middle. I’ve had chats with the manager about it. I showed at Manchester United what I’m capable of doing when I go into the middle of the park,” he said via the Metro.

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Ramsey has indeed proven that he is a world-class central midfielder. Based on’s player scores, Ramsey averages a 7.2 on the right wings and a 7.32 in the center. While it’s not the biggest difference in the world, most of Ramsey’s success on the right comes from drifting center. Not only that, but being deployed in the center against Sunderland, Ramsey took home the highest player rating, the second most touches, a 94% pass completion percentage and defensive numbers that reflect Francis Coquelin (5 tackles, 2 interceptions, 1 clearance)(via

This frustration should actually be a big concern for Arsene Wenger going into the final Premier League match of the season. While any speculation that Barcelona are inching closer to Aaron Ramsey is blind speculation at best, it would do well to quell the Welshman’s frustrations and put Arsenal fans at ease prior to a transfer window that has many question marks surrounding it.

In the long run, Aaron Ramsey cannot possibly be the solution to right wing for Arsene Wenger’s club. While he has done tremendously well there, it’s mainly the result of his liberty to drift center and leave the right wing for Hector Bellerin.

Central Midfield has always been where Aaron Ramsey is at his best and no matter where Wenger puts him in the starting XI, he’s going to drift center, so it might just be best to bite the bullet and start him there. Of course, the problem then becomes who he unseats. Francis Coquelin has proven invaluable and Mesut Ozil isn’t moving, so that leaves Santi Cazorla.

I’ve actually advocated for swapping Cazorla and Ramsey in the past and I’ll do it again. Cazorla is a great midfielder, but his defensive qualities are a tad lacking, mainly because of his size. He has far more experience on the wings anyway.

Aaron Ramsey on the other hand is a box-to-box midfielder with good defensive tendencies. He drives the ball up from the back and would be excellent playing next to Coquelin, yet his opportunities at such a role have been limited by Arsene Wenger’s habit of sticking to a winning formula.

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Now that Arsenal are struggling to take points, somewhat concernedly, ahead of the FA Cup final, a shake up against West Brom is crucial. Even if that shake up only means putting Aaron Ramsey at his preferred role. At least then we don’t have to worry about his mounting frustration and we know he’ll be doing all he can to maintain his grip on the central role.

This midfield is quite the cluster of frustration with Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey both voicing their concerns over not being played enough or not being played where they want. Arsene Wenger has his own way of dealing with internal grumblings, but given how much is invested in these two, I would hope the solution is swift and merited.

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