Aaron Ramsey could quickly find himself as the primary midfielder at the Gunners this weekend, if Arsene Wenger decides to leave Jack Wilshere on the bench ahead of ankle surgery and if Mikel Arteta doesn’t recover from a pulled calf muscle.
It’s an ironic twist of fate because Ramsey is one of the Arsenal midfielders, in a very talented group of players, who has been heavily criticised for his performances in all quarters this season.
If Wilshere is confined to the bench and Arteta doesn’t play, Ramsey needs to step up in big fashion because the cauldron like atmosphere could be the biggest test he’s faced so far in his Arsenal career.
Santi Cazorla will of course be the creative force behind the midfield heading into the match with Newcastle, which Arsenal must win to guarantee themselves a shot at the Champions League.
However, what Cazorla does not guarantee is that ability to pull the strings in the middle of the pitch, setting the tone for the team’s performance and creating a strong feeling of authority.
There’s going to be massive pressure on Ramsey if his two teammates aren’t available because it’s definitely going to be an area which Newcastle boss Alan Pardew looks to exploit.
Arsene Wenger has a big decision over whether to slot Wilshere in next to Ramsey from the start, which risks making his troublesome ankle problem even worse, just before an operation designed to sort it out entirely.
Ramsey is going through his first full season as a Premier League player so his experience is limited but he does have the quality needed to control the middle of Arsenal’s team.
It’s the biggest game of his career because if he puts in a solid midfield display, without the help of higher quality players, it’s the making of him in an Arsenal shirt which will simply increase his confidence.
It will also give Arsene Wenger a big headache heading into next season over which combination of players to use in the middle and the sort of role he should give Ramsey in any starting team.
If he doesn’t play well, Arsenal draw or lose and Spurs beat Sunderland to go back into fourth, he may always find himself confined behind the trio of Wilshere, Arteta and Cazorla.
That would be extremely bad news for Ramsey considering Arsenal are being tipped to sign some midfield cover in the summer transfer market.
Have faith Arsenal fans because he should be able to pull it off and Wenger is an experienced enough manager to know the right sort of protection and complimenting players to put around him.
Can Ramsey carry the Arsenal midfield?
image: © wonker