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October 2016
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Aaron Ramsey: our undervalued midfield maestro

By Jacko Jones

Ramsey pic clapping

Aaron Ramsey Thanks the Cardiff Fans” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by  joncandy 

At times, Aaron Ramsey doesn’t receive the credit that he deserves. The former Cardiff City man lives in the shadow of team-mate and Germany international Mesut Ozil at club level and Gareth Bale is widely regarded as Wales’ shining knight. Ultimately, Ramsey is often undervalued; and we are perhaps guilty of taking him for granted at times.

Because when it comes down to it, Ramsey is actually a very good footballer. Rambo isn’t necessarily one of the best midfielders in the Premier League but his performances for Wales have given us Arsenal fans hope for the future. Just imagine if we can keep Francis Coquelin, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey and Ozil fit this season? We will win the league by 10 points…and that’s before we even begin to consider any new signings like Granit Xhaka.

That’s probably a slight exaggeration but the premise remains: we will have one of the best midfields in the country when fully fit. A big ask but certainly possible. Just look at Leicester City’s miraculous title-winning campaign. The likes of Riyad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy and N’Golo Kante more or less played every single minute of football. And we could be equally as fortuitous this season – we certainly deserve a bit of luck on the injury front after the last 12 months…


Ramsey could hold the key to our title aspirations. Unfortunately, he won’t be deployed in his best position though; mainly because we already have Ozil to play off the front. Some will argue that there are more important players in this Arsenal squad but the Welshman is influential on both sides of the ball and he is crucial to our chances of victory – whether that’s looking at the bigger picture in terms of the title race or a one-off encounter. He is absolutely vital to our dreams of winning the crown.

And right now, Arsenal are currently priced at 6/1 to win the title in Bet365’s football betting markets. If Ramsey can emulate his Euro 2016 form for us next season, we will stand a great chance of running away with the Premier League crown. An in-form Ramsey will only help to attract attention away from Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud – and the Welshman’s creativity and clever football brain will give Arsenal an edge in most matches.

Mesut Ozil is a phenomenal talent and we are very grateful for his vision, his hunger and most importantly, his assists. But Aaron Ramsey is maturing into a completely different beast. His desire and drive to be the very best, his commitment and dedication to the cause and his natural ability all suggest that he could blossom into our leading man next season.



And after he was slated throughout his early Arsenal career, it would be a fantastic story if he was able to turn his fortunes around. Through hard work and perseverance, Ramsey has managed to develop into an elite midfielder. And at 25-years-old, the sky is the limit – he could become a TOP talent in the not-so-distant future…

31 comments to Aaron Ramsey: our undervalued midfield maestro

  • Richard

    What world do you live in, if he’s given a free role without any defensive duties then that might work otherwise he’s a liability who slows the game down. He was excellent when Fabrigas passed the ball to wherever he’d run to and was available for him to pass to when AR had run put of ideas of what to do, a good reserve but adds little to the team which is why he’s referred to as AWs son. I hope I’m proved wrong but he seems to get picked over others who could do the job that he obviously can’t.

  • smoki

    He is not good enough for the first team, and far away from being an elite player. The sky is not his limit but its Cazorla, Xhaka, Ozil and co. who are far better then him.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    We all wish only the best for Mr. Ramsey – knowing his best would be fantastic for Arsenal. 🙂

  • Leon

    Good article jacko

    (cliche watch) Ramsey and his role within the team has become a bit of a conundrum inasmuch as he occupies the same space as Ozil, and Wenger must be going even greyer trying to figure out how to best play them together in the midfield.
    I don’t don’t enough about team tactics to offer an opinion, but I’d love to have the Ransey of Euro ’16 blended with the Ramsey of PL 2013/14.

  • Notoverthehill

    Özil, is not a defensive midfielder. Özil, is the fulcrum for the Arsenal’s offensive play.

    With Ramsay, we have a player who can run a marathon, and therefore can be a secondary fulcrum, when play dictates! Ramsay, must defer to Özil. Ramsay, can be more of a goal threat than Özil?

  • WalterBroeckx

    Excellent article Jacko.
    Rambo is one of my favourite players. Certainly for what he has had to endure as an Arsenal player. Not just the Shawcross tackle but the abuse from our own fans… FFS…. sigh…

  • Andy Mack

    I agree that Ramsey is far better than many give him credit for.
    But our biggest injury miss last season was undoubtedly Cazorla, followed closely by an in form Coquelin.

  • nicky

    Having already captained his native land, Arsenal could consider making him Club captain next season.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    Curious, all the dislikes on this board.

  • Gord

    I like Aaron, and I hope he has a wonderful season at Arsenal.

    But, between 😈 Mike Riley and his twisted PGMO group that are largely discriminatory neanderthals, and the fact Aaron is Welsh, I don’t think the officials or league will cut Aaron any slack this year. Just like the past.

  • Chris

    Cazorla anyone ? Or has he been sold ?

  • Gord


    This is the Aaron Ramsey love-in. If you are looking for the Santi Cazorla love-in, perhaps you should write it and submit to Tony? 🙂

  • Marcus

    Many people are always quick to say that Ramsey is not a natural winger and that we get is a fool to play him out of position on the wing. However, they fail to realise wengers genius in playing him there when bellerin is playing. Although the line up will tell you he is playing out wide, in actual fact he often plays more as the right side of a midfield diamond with bellerin operating either as the winger in a a 3 -1-2-1-3 formation or as a full back in a 4-1-2-1-2.

    We have a much higher win percentage when Ramsey plays here in conjunction with bellerin and this is surely in part due to the fluidity it gives our team in being able to play 3 different formations when this is the case. I believe in the coming season now he and the team have become more used to playing this sort of game he may truly be able to shine as a player who is given a license to free roam.

  • goonersince72

    I love the midfield. To whom are they creatively passing the ball?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Nice article , Jacko . Hope this year we have no major injuries and AW will have his full compliment of midfielders to chose from. And hope that they all fire from the start .
    Up the Gunners !

  • lee

    Lets hope he finds his form from the euros and not last season where he under performed.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Though Bale stole all the headlines, it was Rambo who carried Wales through.

    Rambo had his best season when we had Arteta along side him. Enter Xhaka, a younger fitter Arteta (by stats).

    I would like to see him wear the captains arm band for ARSENAL. He takes responsibility naturally. Never hides. Always working for the team.

  • finsbury

    I blame Venga.

    For signing the most talented British footballer of his generation. From under Lord Slurgus’ big red nose.
    Dithering! Again!! Vengaaaaaaaaaaaaaarggghhhhhhhhhhh!!!

    I blame the pgMOB for trying to end his career. Anyone out there still mildly confused why France have made three finals in 20 years and England none? Go on. Have a think. Spark those football braincells together.

    Any fool watching the Euro’s could see what’s what. Burgervic. Michu. Fellaini. Where was Venga when all these superstars were signed up to special agents? On a beach! Playing volleyball!! With women!!! And signing Alexis Sanchez. The Scrooge.

    Ladie’s and not so gentle trolls. I rest someone else’s bleating case.

  • Rich

    He had a superb tournament and showcased just how much ability he has.

    Everyone needs to take into account just how ideal that role for Wales is for him, though.

    To return to my obsession- bus football vs non-bus football- Wales almost never play against the bus. Combine that with two workers behind Ramsey in central midfield who are unlikely to bomb forward and you have the ideal conditions for him. He can drop in to do a lot of defensive work when required, yet is free to search out pockets of space, which there are plenty of (because no bus) anywhere on the pitch, including in advanced positions, and can do so without leaving the defence exposed.

    It’s not any propensity for gloominess (though I have that) which makes me want to point this out, more that a conundrum remains about how to utilise Ramsey’s talent in the best way in our team; and, more importantly, it would be helpful if our fans could understand these different circumstances for him in the Wales team to in our own.

    If fans just look at the performance level he showed for Wales, and then compare it to performance level, measured hyper-critically, for us, large numbers of them will be criticising him again soon enough, and blaming the manager for not getting more from him.

    Reasons to be hopeful include: extra maturity from Ramsey; an impressive new addition to the midfield in Xhaka; if we can increase our ability to make early breakthroughs against the bus, that will lead to more of the spaces in which he can shine.

    Still think him playing as part of a central two will be problematic for us- Xhaka looks class but not a man who can do that much if left alone against fast counters in huge spaces.

    Finally, something I’d love to see is Ramsey actually be given the central attacking midfielder role, in front of two strong defensive players in about 5 games, with Ozil either shifting to left or, just once or twice, starting as sub.

    Games I have in mind are against the best teams away from home, especially those who aim for furious starts, as Liverpool, Man City and Tottenham did this year.

    We’ve definitely got the most midfield talent in the league for me, so hopefully it can push us to glorious heights this year.

  • Rich

    Oh, yeah, and to return to my other favourite theme: Ramsey, like Ozil and Giroud, benefitted a lot from normal refereeing in the tournament. Xhaka,too (though he hasn’t experienced abnormal refereeing yet)

    Ramsey was allowed to battle fairly for the ball, defenders weren’t so willing to hold Giroud in the box, and he was given much more licence to fairly use his strength against defenders and in the air; Ozil wasn’t penalised any time he touched someone and got fair protection against fouls. None of them had to fear disgustingly bad challenges at any moment.

    It was great to see but, of course, a bit sad at the same time.

  • Menace

    July 14, 2016 at 3:35 am

    To me in Block 101. Arsenals version of Room 101.

  • i agree that rambo is one of the best midfielders we have, the problem is from wenger who has yet to figure out/realise his best position and perhaps when he does leaves arsenal before he know that

  • finsbury

    Where do these mindless trolls come from?

    “I blame Venga” they must be ‘avin a right old larf.

    What. A. Life.

  • finsbury


    Ramsey’s best period as a player came when he was playing B2B alongside Arteta.

    Many think Xhaka will be (peak) Arteta’s heir in this squad.

    I understand your comment, my concern with him pkaying a tennish role for Wales is that he would struggle switching roles, at least to begin with.
    But then many said that in some games this summer he was playing essentially as a B2B CM, I couldn’t watch all the games so I don’t know.

    We shall see how it all unfolds. At least there are enough CMs to cover for the injuries, sorry I mean the disproportionate allowance of hacking.

  • finsbury

    I am looking forward to spending some of hard earned Wonga watching footballers like Özil and Ramsey do there thing.

    Can’t wait.

  • Gord

    Wonga. I believe this is in Canada too. But, Wonga is a payday loans company.

    Question is, what else is it?

    Wonga-wonga is a vine from Australia: Pandorea pandorana

    Wonga seems to be developing web technology, and has a github site.

    Wonga Road – makes beach and kitchen towels.

    Wonga Beach – Queensland Australia, Daintree region

    Wonga Wonga – Steamship in Scotland?

    Wonga – District of Midwest City, Oklahoma

    And apparently, it is a boys name in some places.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ finsbury – July 14, 2016 at 10:12 am ” … why France have made three finals in 20 years and England none? ”

    MY guess would be that since the French being rather insular , and don’t really speak or read English, have lost the nous to appreciate the very finer points of English foootball coaching by people like Charles Hughes , Sir Alf Ramsey ( the wingless wonders ), Sgt. Wilko , and more recently , Hodgson and Neville .

    Not to mention the input of the awesome combined brain power of Shearer , Lineker , and the rest of the ex-three lions’ great players .

    And with BREXIT , things’ll not be changing any time soon ! Or later !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    From the files of The Medical Division of UA –


    Eat and Drink What You Like, Speaking English Kills !

    For those of you who watch what you eat. Here’s the final word on nutrition and health. It’s a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting medical studies.

    1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.

    2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.

    3. The Japanese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.

    4. The Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.

    5. The Germans drink a lot of beers and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.

    CONCLUSION: Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

  • Rich


    I’m Welsh, so I watched all the Ramsey games with interest. He did indeed do a lot of defensive work to go with his attacking play.

    Those two things seemed crucial to me, though, in allowing him to play to his very best- the fact the midfield was secure being him whenever he wanted to push on, and the fact there was typically so much space for him to operate in.

    Anyway, maybe I need to be more willing to accept that our being a positive attacking team who plays against the bus so often means we will be vulnerable at times to those damn counter attacks.

    I suppose part of my reason for mentioning these things is to try pre-empt the criticism that will come of Ramsey should things not go as well with us as they did for Wales, but that’s silly because the harsher critics will surely never change their ways and will remain ready to groan and wail at the drop of a hat or a misplaced pass.

    He really is a top player, and we’ve really got a huge amount of midfield talent at the moment, so lets hope it produces great things this year.

    Like your attitude by the way. Convinced the team would get a significant boost if nearly all our fans thought that way.

  • Menace

    Some people get it wong & need wonga?

  • Anka

    For me… RAMSEY is an excelent athelete… and he also a very good box to box midfielder.

    The problem is, in Wenger’s tactic he used 2 (two) central midfield to accomodate the Briliant OZIL who never trackback to do defensive duty (cannot blame him, it is his natural play). So Wenger used 2 (two) CM with more of DEFENSIVE INSTINCT than OZIL (ENTER Coquelin and Elneny) but this 2 (two) CM does not have any PLAYMAKER INSTINCT. that’s why the perfect combination was COQUELIN and CAZORLA behind OZIl (….woooww did we flourished when these players fully fit), but it will never accomodate what RAMSEY has… but if i was WENGER, i will never leave RAMSEY out of the Starting Eleven (maybe thats why WENGER tried to played him on the right flank).

    I always dream that we have a player that brilliant on both for DEFENSIVE and PLAYMAKING…that’s why I always admire ANDREA PIRLO, he’s a Genius on both term I mentioned above.

    With the arrival of XHAKA. I see a little bit of PIRLO in His Style of play (HOPE IT IS COMING TRUE)with the Swiss Team. He has the DEFENSIVE INSTINCT and also can be a Deep LYING PLAYMAKER, like PIRLO to MILAN on their days….( remember ARTETA ??).

    I got a feelling that Wenger will try to change a little scenario with the 3 (three) CMs… why you ask ??? my guts tell me it is to accomodate the movement of RAMSEY (whose got more DIRECT ATTACKING STYLE than OZIL).

    So i hope in the future we will see this kind of tactic:

    ————- Giroud —————

    Sanchez ——————— Walcott(…or maybe Gotze??? Finger crossed)

    ——– Ozil —— Ramsey ——-

    ————– Xhaka —————

    It is only my personal opinion… just ignore it. I’m just a dumb diehard fans 😉
    But I agree with ONE THING that already mentioned by others reply before me…. i also see that someday RAMSEY will wear the ARMBAND for us.

    Thank you TONY for this article. Always a pleasure to read your articles.
    COYG – from Jakarta, Indonesia.