Arsenal are back on track, more or less. Massive game coming next weekend concerning Leicester City. They slaughtered Manchester City, and are now, incredibly, favourites to win the title. It’s a mad season. If they win the league then Wenger has to go, there will be no defence for him. His vision will have been put to shame by a team with far fewer resources. Arsenal simply must win the title this season.
They made some progress in restoring faith with a largely simple win away to Bournemouth, a team that can play football, fortunately, Arsenal nullified them. Much of Arsenal’s gung-ho approach was down to Ramsey and his unmatched energy. He’s player of the week, an assist and an assist-assist – he was pivotal.
He’s been hung out to dry through his partnership with Flamini, but he can still put in the occasional winning display even when he’s out of form. When in form he’s a different beast. He wins games on his own. But we haven’t seen this side of Ramsey for a good few months now. What we have seen is a side that’s more concerned about the team than his own personal hunt for fame. Making him to sit with Flamini has forced him to take the responsibility to defend and halt his attacking instinct – which will always be there, and is the one of the reasons this midfield problem needs sorting out quickly. One solution would be Wilshere, whenever he returns. The Englishman can take the ball and turn and play, in the same way Cazorla or Arteta can. If there’s no replacement for Santi coming then Jack is the only answer left. Even then, Wilshere as a defensive midfielder isn’t preferable, although it would see him less injuries.
Ramsey’s influence isn’t always so straightforward that you can pin it down to key moments during the match. More often than not his impact is down to pure energy, flying around and hassling players, starting moves and rushing on the end of them. But he was everywhere dangerous in the Bournemouth match, popping up all over the pitch. He could have bagged himself a goal with a clearer head, but it was irrelevant by the time the final whistle blew. His assist wasn’t flashy. It was effective. The Welshman picked up the ball in the hole, turned and stabbed it forward to Chamberlain who dispatched with a point to prove. I’m happy for Alex, he needs to start pulling his weight. We’ve seen him annihilate Bayern Munich twice and Milan, both from central midfield, so there is an abundance of talent buried somewhere inside of him. It’s as they say: time to unleash the Ox. Ramsey’s other impact came in the form of a deep cross to Giroud’s fancy forehead. Ramsey again found himself in the centre with loads of time to get his head up. Giroud did the rest and Ozil slammed home, which held a strange sense of added significance in knowing that if Arsenal do win the league then it is all on Mesut’s shoulders.
It was nice to see Sky award Ramsey Man of the Match for his performance, because it highlights that you don’t have to be in the spotlight to influence a football match. Almost all of Ramsey’s impact comes from his relentless attitude around the pitch. He always covers the most ground and him picking up the ball in the danger area is no accident. Ramsey’s game is built around smelling blood. When he starts scoring again it’ll be because he’s in the right place all the time. It’s a pity he ran out of steam when barring down on goal. In hindsight he should have squared it to Giroud, but we’ll forgive him because of the important win and he was dead on his legs. Being shattered at the end of every game should tell you how hard he works for the team. He’s gone goal shy this season, but because of the heights he’s reached in the past, every ordinary performance from him is still a solid effort. This is why he’s a nailed on starter, no matter which eleven Wenger has to chose. I wouldn’t mind Ramsey as captain, he’s guaranteed to start every game, so it’s a step up form the shambles of Mertesacker and Arteta. This is another problem with Wenger’s management. Name another team that’s captain and vice-captain aren’t good enough to start? Anyway, Ramsey was the best player on the pitch on Sunday and he desperately needs a complimentary partner, or shift him out to right wing. It doesn’t really matter, he has just has to play somewhere. It’s something of a problem, much like Wilshere. He’s too good to leave out, but never bad enough to be dropped.