Saturday, May 21, 2022

Wenger hints at Ramsey-Xhaka partnership for new season

Arsene Wenger has been speaking about Aaron Ramsey and what kind of role he envisages for him for the upcoming season.

The Welsh international has spoken a number of times about his desire to play centrally, but has been frequently used on the right hand side – a move Wenger says is to provide balance to the team.

However, with the £35m arrival of Granit Xhaka to add to the midfield, the Arsenal manager has hinted that he sees Ramsey playing from a deeper position this season.

If we make the assumption that Xhaka was bought to be a starter, it suggests he’s thinking of Ramsey and Xhaka playing together – with Mesut Ozil further forward in that creative role when he returns to first team action after his extended break.

“I have played him wide sometimes because I feel like he can balance the team well,” said the Frenchman of Ramsey.

“Of course he wants to play centrally, he wants to play behind the striker. What is the most important thing when you put players in positions is that you have to consider their psychological and physical profiles.

“Aaron’s psychological profile means that he always wants the ball and always wants to be available, so that’s in the heart of the game

“If you consider his physiological profile, he can absorb all the positions,” he continued.

“He is certainly most suited to central midfield because he’s a box-to-box player. I think he likes to come from deep and make runs going forward, so I would think that at the start he would like to play from a deeper position in midfield.

“That’s more suited to him and therefore that gives him a tactical responsibility for us that he may not have for Wales.”

Today’s pre-season fixture against Man City should be informative, with both Ramsey and the Swiss international tipped to start, so we might get an idea of what the manager is thinking from that.

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Not sure where that leaves Santi when Ozil is back, I really love seeing him on the pitch. He was a huge loss last season, hope he’ll feature more regularly than I think he would.


Santi’s so good at running games, like we saw against Viking, of course it’s preseason but he did that on the regular before we signed Özil. The manager dropped him deep because he’s so good at ball retention and can pick the right passes for counter attacks, but with Xhaka there now, who can do a similar job, I don’t think we ‘need’ Santi there now. He’ll probably get to revert to his old attacking positions? I hope we see a lot of him because he is world class.


We won’t see Santi alot I guess. He’s not young anymore and Wenger has options. He would be wise to be cautious with someone as important as Santi.


Back out left perhaps with Wenger viewing Alexis as a striker again maybe?


Ramsey’s not good enough to play in central midfield. He could do a good job in Ozil’s position but Mesut must play.


Agree. He´s a good player but too slow and not strong enough for the midfield battle of the EP.


….and technically he is also not good enough.

arsens army

I’m starting to question if xhaka was a wise investment. Arsenal have a plethora of central midfielders. I like the idea of pairing Santi with Eleneny or switching Santi for Ramsey. Obviously the number 10 role belongs to Ozil. I just think maybe that money could have been better served by using it in the pursuit of that elusive striker. I really think Eleneny should start though, he has settled in very well indeed.


Xhaka is definitely a long term Santi replacement at the DPm roles.


And where does that leave Elneny and Coquelin? Really have a strong squad in midfield.


I am sure the injury Gods will sort it out! 🙁


The answer has to be Mesut and Santi for the playmaker(10) position.Aaron and Elneny for the deep lying/box to box player and coq/xhaka for the DM. Wilshere has his work cut out. Also, sad we can’t play Ramsey at 10. His best position IMO.


You could also have Ozil at RW and Cazorla at no10


Don’t worry mate Arsenal being Arsenal I’m sure all our midfielders will get a run of games when our injury crisis hits come February 😉

But yes our midfield does look stellar – not just in terms of talent but also more importantly depth.

If only we could say the same for our strikers…


Wouldn’t rule out seeing Santi on the left and Alexis on the right. Santi can theoretically provide similar balance. Whether he has the necessary pace is another question…

chopra gooner

I feel Cazorla should play in the middle when Özil is back. Ramsey was poor last season, but was good at Euros, but I’m still not convinced with Ramsey, he doesn’t suit our game.


What’s our game, exactly?

Dial Square Charity XI

the waiting game?

Thierry Ennui

the crying game more like


You guys made my day.


Does a central midfielder with poor touch and limited vision who takes too long on the ball and has no tactical sense or positional discipline fit into any style of play?

Gutbukket Deffrolla

The “Didn’t have Xhaka last season” game.

Smashed them for 8

The blame game


Ramsey is not a natural number 8, rather a number 10 which occupied by Ozil. I think we should play one of them in that role.


Wenger said before that he didn’t see Cazorla as a wide player anymore.


I think Cazorla will do a great job wherever fielded: Left mid, #10, Deep in midfield, Right mid even… he is surely up there as one of the most talented players we have seen at Arsenal and in England. The guy can take corners and freekicks with either foot, his level ball retention is unrivaled, and his passing range and vision are flawless. I just think he will be wasted a little out wide. You want Cazorla in the thick of the action – somewhere central basically. You don’t want him exhausting himself tracking runners on the wing. With us… Read more »


Would love to see that as well. Cazorla must be on the pitch regardless, he’s just too good. Saw how he combined with Xhaka in a recent preseason, mouthwatering. And him being on the left feels like the best balance to the team what with Alexis and Ramsey both always bombing forward all the time.

Gutbukket Deffrolla

With all these possibilities it will be a disaster if Wenger doesn’t rotate the midfield on a regular basis. We need to develop all of the potential combinations so that we always have an effective pair/trio in midfield Santi/Xhaka, Santi/Ramsey, Santi/Coquelin… well, there’s about a half dozen other combinations in there where the players need to be completely familiar with eachother and interchangeable as far as possible. It’s no good playing the same 3 players to death and then they get injured one by one and the midfield loses its fluency as rusty players are brought in at short notice,… Read more »


Cazorla was tried on the wing the season before last and it was a disaster. He’s brilliant in the centre though.

chopra gooner

Wenger always starts the season with Ramsey in the middle. Then after a few games he realises that the team aren’t playing with good flow and Ramsey takes too many touches and can’t find a way around the pressing. Then he turns to Cazorla.
The truth is Cazorla is a way better player than Ramsey and should be starting ahead of him.

David C

agreed! or move Ramsey more forward either on the right or through the middle and shift Ozil to the left and Sanchez to the right. Inanimate Carbon Rod or Owen Goal as the striker until Giroud is back, of course.

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Cazorla isn’t better than Ramsey but his game is tidier.


So essentially you are saying, he is better!

Gutbukket Deffrolla

That was in the old days when we didn’t have Xhaka. You have to take into account that Wenger has made a good signing this summer. Don’t get depressed before we even kick a ball because you think Ramsey will be used exactly as he was last season. It’s quite possible this season he will be used differently, or with better support around him to allow him to do his thing (no, I don’t mean the run a bit and get dispossesed thing).


This. Xhaka was bought to be paired with Ramsey.


It leaves us and Santi in a position where we can rotate equally great players so we don’t bollocks them!!




Personally I would restrict Ramsey to the bench purely on account of his hair. And make him wear a cap during warming-ups.

Super Joshi

Messi copied him. Shud he be benched too?



Dennis 'What a First Touch' Bergkamp

Benched against us for sure when we play them in the Knockout stages as we always do. And also bench Suarez and Neymar while we’re at it.


Xhaka-Ramsey pivot with Ozil ahead of them is tantalising. Throw Cazorla, El-neny, Coquelin and (maybe) Wilshere and it’s almost impossible for us to put a bad midfield three out. Yum.

Gutbukket Deffrolla

As long as they have all had plenty of time playing with eachother in various combinations. You don’t form partnerships with other players by watching them from the stands.

Ducks sake

Aaaarfghhhhh PIVOT. Who brought that into football language.

Anyway I’d play Ramsey up front. False 9. Sanchez one side, Campbell the other. Best finisher in the team, gets in great positions and will work the defenders into a deep sleep with his running.


A pity to let Elneny and Coquelin aside for Ramsey. Let’s not have short memory, guys: when Ramsey was injured last season, we all applauded the Elneny – Coquelin axis as much better than Ramsey – Coquelin.
Ramsey is only good when it can be good for his career: against Barca and during the Euro. Rest of the time, he is highly frustrating.

Ducks sake

Argghhhh Axis. Can people stop using crap words.


Santi being out was the biggest reason for our poor form last year. The only player we have who can consistently escape the high press and take the ball from defence out . Ramsey played centrally from the turn of the year on and did not perform by any measure


Get ready to hit the thumbs down people, but it’s natural that playing people out of position reduces performance, as this club is now run like a business perhaps it’s about time players are played in preferred positions rather than trying to cover others due to injury etc and let players reach their potential…


The club IS a business. People forget that clubs have to be well run in several different ways. Of course the football has to be up there (and it has been) but whether or not the club can financially stand on its own is important too.

I do NOT want a billionaire owner who plays fantasy football with Arsenal. If you want one of those, go support a other team.

Ducks sake

Do you want a billionaire owner who invests nothing instead? To be honest I’d rather have the flashy cash sort.


The RamXhackle axis!


If Cazorla’s fit he has to play, whether it’s in place of Rambo or Ozil.
Cazorla is easily our best player.
It’s great that after a decade we’ve finally fixed our midfield.

The Doff

Özil just created the most chances in any of the 5 big leagues by some distance and Cazorla is “easily our best player”?
It’s his body language, isn’t it?


The midfield is unbelievably strong. Its great that we could potentially alter the midfield to fit the opposition. With that in mind I think that for the liverpool game, elneny has to start especially if cazorla isn’t fit. Hes a passing metrononome and has the stamina and strength to deal with the Liverpool high press.


Now if only we could sign another world class wide player to swap flanks with sanchez during games and a really killer forward to finish the 162833954 chances we create.

Gutbukket Deffrolla

Walcott will be able to do that once he develops a bit more and his understanding of positioning kicks in.

[Oh, sorry, a random thought from 10 years ago just popped in there.]


Draxler and Higua.. Iwobi and Akpom


Ramsey isn’t good enough to play centre midfield, end of story. Santi is miles better in there and it’s not even Santi’s best position. What’s Elneney done wrong exactly? The guy’s passing is automatic and he always puts a shift in for the team. Ramsey is best floating about near the striker but the problem is there are others better than him to play there. Basically it’s a wenger special, putting his favourites in at the expense of what’s best for the team


Elneny looked top-class when he played last season.


You’re getting a lot of thumbs down but you’re spot on. Wenger just cannot help trying to prove he can turn players with potential into gems. He likes it better than buying proven class and winning trophies.

John C

I agree with you, my biggest fear is that he’ll go back to the Ramsey/Wilshere partnership with Xhaka behind, and Ozil moved out to the wing in a 433.

What we’ll get again is a Ramsey/Wilshere wank off to see who can hold on to the ball longer and get depossessed most often like last time he inflicted it upon us

Ducks sake

El Neny took a shot from outside the box once, that’s why he’s being demoted by Wenger.

Cazorla scored from outside the box against Vikings so he’s definitely dropped, Wenger might even terminate his contract I’ve heard.

Hence Ramsey and Coquelin to start the season as an double pivot axis of evil North Korea.


Nice lead up play Duck


I like Ramsey, I really do but I think he’s best as a ten, playing better behind the striker and getting forward. I don’t think his strength is in a two, we’ve seen that numerous times, he has a habit of giving pocession away infront of the back line. His problem unfortunately is that he has Ozil infront of him so his chances of playing as a 10 are limited. You can get away with playing him in a two against Hull & Burnley but against Liverpool and their pressing game you need a Coq & Xhakha midfield. If Ozil… Read more »


Agree with most of your comment, except for me it’s gotta be Xhaka-Elneny for Liverpool. I have a lot more faith in both of those players’ ability to pass out of a high Liverpool press than I do Coquelin. In fact as nice a surprise as Coquelin’s 2015 comeback was, I think Xhaka’s stronger all round game might spell the end of Coq as an automatic starter. Not to say he won’t be a very important squad player as the season goes on (potentially even a starter in big european away games), but I think for most of our games… Read more »


I think a 2 is fullback. You mean 8.


Its certainly a great ‘headache’ to have.

Xhaka, Cazorla, Ramsey, Wilshere, Coquelin, El Neny – are such a great and versatile option for us.

We will need these different options during the season. I can see Ramsey possibly playing on the Right against bigger teams like Chelsea or City to add that defesive balance; unless Chamberlain carries on his form, then he adds that balance also, with more dynamism and pace going forward.

Stewart Robson's therapist

Most handsome midfield in history.


I dont know if this deserves an upwards or downwards thumb. Ill give it both to cover all bases


The truth is Cazorla and Ozil are better players than Ramsey. Still I really hope this Xhaka-Ramsey partnership works well and Santi is kept as a super quality back up.

We urgently need a striker though; we are not gonna challenge for the PL with Giroud and Walcott again in that position.


Ramsey needs freedom in a central position to be most dynamic and effective and perhaps Xhaka can shield for him when Ramsey surges forward while also in a similar manner to Santi, distribute the ball and control possession from a deep lying position. However, we are not Wales as we have Ozil playing the position that Ramsey craves most and even the most die heart Ramsey fan would be hard pressed to put him ahead of Mesut. Moreover, Xhaka still needs to get accostumed to the premier league, especially defensively so it is a risk starting the two of them… Read more »

Gutbukket Deffrolla

If Santi is kept as a super quality back up, he’ll get rusty and Ozil will end up injured…. and you can already guess what is likely to happen to Santi a few weeks later.


Wenger wenger, am sorry but santi has to start in fact must start, he was one of the reasons we lost the league last season, ramsey is good but not santi good


Ramsey was a disaster last year every time he got an opportunity to play centrally. International football is miles below top level club football at this point, I’m really not sure why his reputation seems to have been boosted on the basis of a few games against Russia and Slovakia. I give Ramsey 3 games back in the center before we’re all reminded why he can’t play there.

King Kolo

Why was he so good in central midfield two years ago? Was it all fluke? Some decent ex footballers have him down as potentially the best midfielder in the league. Ramsey with Arteta worked well. Yes he might only flourish with a certain kind of partner but why not give him that partner if he can score 10-15 goals from that position? With only Giroud and Sanchez likely to score any goals in this team, we need a scoring midfielder. Xhaka can be his Arteta again.

John C

The same season we lost 6-0 to Chelsea, 5-1 to Liverpool and 6-3 to City because our midfield went missing?

Gutbukket Deffrolla

Defence must have gone missing too then. Wow we must have been shit in those days. Perhaps if Wenger was to change the style of our play a bit… Oh he did, and that season didn’t get repeated since.

John C

Yeah he did change our style of play, he replaced Arteta and Ramsey with Coquelin and Cazorla. Not a very sensible idea going back to something that didn’t work especially as every time Ramsey’s been put back in the middle he’s looked crap, irrespective of who he’s been placed with, as he looked just as bad with Coquelin as he did with Flamini.

Ramsey should be sold and the proceeds should be used to help buy the striker we need.

King Kolo

Yes that season. Do you decide that Ramsey is the mistake in those 3 games, when he’s offered you so much in the others? I wouldn’t come to that conclusion. A better defence, keeper and Arteta allows you to keep your standout offensive players in the team. Fabregas could have become one of the best players in the world at Arsenal had Wenger signed Xabi Alonso instead of sticking Denilson and Song next to him. You lose 6-0, 5-1 and 6-3 because your system is wrong plus the standard of your team not because of your goal scoring midfielder.

John C

Fabregas was and is one of the best players in the World, he was twice the player Ramsey is now at 17!!

And yes when i watched those games and many others the conclusion i came to was Ramsey was missing and easily bypassed, no amount of goals scored covers that fundamental failure in his game.


I think Ramsey only played during the 6-3. He got injured for about 3 months after the December period. I doubt he played during the 6-0 and 5-1

Stewart Robson's therapist

Ramsey didn’t play in the Liverpool or Chelsea games you refer to.


So true. I wish people wouldn’t look at Ramsey’s performances for his country as justification for being a nailed on starter in midfield. It’s all well and good when Ramsey’s playing in a Wales side who build their team around him, but a completely different story with a team who looks to control possession who already have one of, if not the best no10 in the world playing in Ramsey’s most effective position. Wales can afford to set up their team to get the best out of Ramsey (given he’s their best midfielder), whereas we have a lot more quality… Read more »

Ducks sake

I don’t want Ramsey to start ahead of Cazorla but Wales don’t set up their team around Ramsey at all. They don’t even set up their team around Bale. It’s all about hard work and they don’t carry any passengers. bale and Ramsey work just as hard and probably harder than the rest of them.

Luis Boa Muerte

Tbf Ramsey’s chances at CM last year coincided with Flamini playing at DM, leaving him with way more responsibility than he would with Xhaka or Coquelin. He does need to realise though that he doesn’t have to do everything at CM. For example he needs to pick and choose when to run beyond the ball and when to attempt killer flicks i.e. when we need a goal, rather than all game every game. I feel like a lot of his sloppiness (his slips, treading on the ball, letting his man go etc) are down to running himself ragged trying to… Read more »


I think you’re generally right – it is his decision making that let’s him down rather than his technical ability. We’ve all seen how good he can be but he needs to be in a position that allows him the freedom. Maybe having Xhaka next to him will give that extra bit of space he needs. He does need to learn to move the ball a bit quicker, which maybe also comes with being able to be in a more advanced position as it allows less time for dithering. Personally I don’t have him down as a definite starter, but… Read more »


The only reason Ramsey would get a game ahead of Santa is because he is a Wenger favourite. Let’s be honest, Elneny is far better than Ramsey in the box to box position. Like with Walcott, Wenger is forcing one of his kids project down our collective throats. It would never work out well for Arsenal FC. Players like Ramsey are simply not good enough for a team challenging for the title. This is the season Wenger’s kids like Ramsey would be exposed for the mediocre players they are; because we really have a good squad to show them how… Read more »


Would hope he could get in ahead of Santa


Me too…. Santa is a bit Grant Holt-ish, although surprisingly quick. Looks good in red and white, too 😀


The right colours are there it’s true


Mediocre? Seriously? Its more a matter of how we get the best out of him surely

King Kolo

Perhaps we should sign Drinkwater or Albrighton who are good enough for a title chasing team…


I think I’d stick with Ramsey personally


Can’t believe somebody thumbed this down …

King Kolo

So would I mate. I was pointing out that nobody would class Danny Drinkwater as a midfielder you buy if you’re chasing a title, yet there he is, league winner.

John C

I guess that’s the difference a top manager makes

A Different George

Maybe people would take your arguments more seriously if they weren’t so over-the-top. Is Ramsey really “mediocre?” Do you honestly believe that Wenger plays players he thinks are inferior because he likes them personally or is trying to prove some point about his ability to develop them (this is different than disagreeing with Wenger about who is the best player)?

John C

A Different George have you only just started supporting Arsenal?

Wenger’s been playing his favourites and trying to prove he’s the best at developing players for years now, how else can you explain the hundreds of games given to the likes of Denilson, Diaby, Eboue, Senderos, Walcott, Bendtner, Ramsey and numerous others?

The Beast

And there’s still Iwobi and the Jeff to throw in there wow!

Santi is two footed

I know that Ozil is brilliant as the number 10. And is probably the best in that position. But honestly Ozil is also brilliant on the flanks. Can’t he do a similar job like he does for germany. Imagine Santi as number 10, then alexis and ozil on both wings? Ramsey and Xhaka behind them? Surley that’s a strong team?

Yohanes Tobir

I think xhaka will play with cazorla on deep middle and ozil will play like playmaker.. and our right mid will be ramsey like wenger said


The impact of losing of Santi was immediately noticeable last season. Ramsey had an excellent Euro tournament, for sure. He’s capable of world-class attacking production. But, he was frustratingly inconsistent and too frequently a defensive liability most of the time last season. Too many giveaways, not tracking his mark, not filling the pacing lanes, etc. Just not regularly playing at his best. Maybe it’s a positioning thing, maybe not. Elneny was a great, cheap, young buy. Xhaka is also a great add, even at the much higher price. There’s actually a bit of redundancy with those two it seems. And… Read more »


this is tonights best line up, will we line up similar to this against the scousers? i hope so!

cazorla, ozil, the ox
xhaka ramsey
monreal holding chambers bellerin

Just wish kos was there to half the number of inexperienced centerbacks!

Gutbukket Deffrolla

At least the inexperienced CBs will be playing CB and not having to play RB like in the bad old days.


This back line reminds me of the 2-3 at Stoke with experience (per & monreal) on the left and inexperience (chambers & bellerin) on the right. Now its the Holding Chambers smack between a very attacking right wingback and the lone experienced Nacho on the left. Still, fingers crossed ?


Wenger certainly will have some selection challenges when all the midfielders are fit, but hopefully that will be a positive and continually push players to their best to get playing time. He is not one to like to rotate too much, but I really hope that Elneny and Carzola especially get their opportunities this year. Then you’ve got Wilshere and Coquelin as well to find time for in the middle if you consider our wide players as Alexis, Chamberlin, Iwobi, Campbell and potentially Walcott if we do bring a striker in.

Little Mozart

Wenger’s aim seems to be to get Ramsey back amongst the goals like he was in the 13/14 season, and Xhaka as our new Arteta-esque pivot will be vital in that plan. However, we also have Coqzorla for matches that require a different style of midfield dominance, so the tactical balance can be changed accordingly.


Ramsey always loses the ball when he plays deeper, I feel again Wenger does not know his player best position. Ramsey should play as a #10 when Ozil tires, like he usually does around the 70th minute.


I think we might see Ramsey playing up more alongside Ozil (4-1-4-1) when we’re on the front foot in a game, so that the two of them can create more space for each other, with Xhaka shielding the back four. It could be really effective.


You might be right you know. Özil and Ramsey combined well in Özil’s first season. No reason why out can’t happen again.




Wenger will be playing several different formations this season to accommodate the central midfield depth we have, and rotating our starting 11 on a regular basis will only benefit Arsenal as the opposition will not so easily set up against us. Elneny and Cazorla have been excellent in the preseason, and both deserve as much of a shot at winning games for us as Ramsey and Xhaka do. I think Wenger will have the luxury to set up his midfield depending on the opposition, which should give us an advantage. Coquelin and Wilshere seem to have a little steeper hill… Read more »


I think it’s time to downsize our midfield a little and make some $ on guys like Ramsey and use that money for the positions we are shallow in like CB and Striker. That is of course if we were a normal club that spent the money on players that are needee


I don’t know any other club who spend so long to figure out which role their players are best suited to fill.

John C

Absolutely, it’s ridiculous that we don’t know what position Ramsey at 25 plays in or Walcott at 27, or The Ox, or Welbeck or Wilshere.

It’s absolutely shoddy management.


Is the match on TV now ? If so what channel please.


Great defending from Gabriel on sterling for their opener


Watching Arsenal vs Man city. Alexis upfront is an absolute epic fail! Wenger must buy a striker before 31st. Any striker. Also Ramsey at 10 doesn’t seem to work. Too wasteful. He belongs to CM in my opinion. Or maybe these are side effects of watching too much Özil/Cazorla.


Pep isn’t going to find our league easy!
Fucking well played boys!


The real questions re: Ramsey is: what does he offer that’s different/better than other players? The team doesn’t REALLY need wingers (but glad to have Mahrez…), and there are now 5 central/holding MFs (Elneny, Xhaka, Le Coq, Santi, Glass Jack). He’s really only valuable playing in front of those guys. And that’s Oziltown. If he can back up/spell Musut, great. But methinks he won’t be pleased to do so. He’s nice to have, but not a necessity, unless several other players are expendable.


I dont know why Arsenal fans always have to find something to moan about There is so much versatility in pur midfield I think Granit can partner with any of Ramsey Jack Santi Coquelin and Elneny Also we have seen the Coquelin Granit pairing which hopefully can be deployed to control games when we need to close out a tight lead. We know Santi works well with Coquelin Both Jack or Ramsey can play in place of Ozil should our record panic buy get some unfortunate injury hitherto unknown to AFC Or Santi can also orchestrate from there Elneny is… Read more »

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