One of the big talking points about Arsenal’s poor form this season has been the reduced impact of Aaron Ramsey. The Welshman was a lethal presence for Arsenal in the first half of the previous season and if he hadn’t been injured we might have done much better.
But the midfielder has looked a shadow of himself this season and has struggled to have the same impact that is expected from him. Especially in the game against Anderlecht, he was singled out for criticism for a forgettable performance.
But ex England manager Glenn Hoddle says that this might not entirely be Ramsey’s fault. According to the manager, the inclusion of Alexis Sanchez in the Arsenal lineup has resulted in Ramsey being forced to play a different type of game and as such he cannot be expected to deliver as much as last season.
I think that’s [centrally] a great position for him (Sanchez), because he can go anywhere on the pitch. With or without the ball.
With Sanchez just in behind, I think Ramsey will play a deeper role, and he will have to choose his moments a little bit less.
Sanchez is a player that plays in the pocket and I call him a striker number 10, not a midfielder number 10. A lot of midfield players for Arsenal play as midfield numbers 10s, who like to link the play but don’t really get in the box.
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Sanchez wants to with and without the ball, so Ramsey has got to play a bit deeper.
Last season goalscoring was a key part of his game, but with Sanchez active in pressing in and around the penalty box, there is less onus on him to get forward. This might be affecting the player’s confidence levels as he has spoken out in the past about his desire to score goals on a regular basis.
With Mesut Ozil in the number 10 role, Ramsey was required to run forward and become an option for the German international to pick out with a pass, or even be a decoy for Olivier Giroud.
Arsenal’s attack has suddenly taken a different shape, and Arsene Wenger will have to choose which way he prefers to play when everybody is at full fitness, with Ramsey’s game likely to be impacted either way.