Aaron Ramsey is arguably the most important player at Arsenal right now, helping to compensate for the loss of Mikel Arteta through injury and making up for the inconsistency which has plagued him to a certain extent since he moved to North London.
The Welshman came off the back of a superb performance against Fulham in the Premier League, grabbing a brace as Arsenal secured their place in the group stage of the Champions League for this season.
There have already been a few subtle tactical changes to the way Ramsey has been playing in Arsenal colours and Arsene Wenger would be well advised to resist the urge to change things again when Arteta comes back into the equation following a thigh problem.
Ramsey seems to have been pushed higher up the pitch with some of his defensive responsibility being taken away from him.
There have been examples in the past where he’s been asked to sit in front of the back four but he’s not that sort of player and the defensive side of his game is nowhere near as productive as his attacking prowess and creativity.
He’s also been moved centrally, whereas last season he sometimes played down the right wing which doesn’t cater to his natural tendencies as a midfielder because he’s not a winger.
He seems to have been pushed up the field alongside Jack Wilshere, which effectively gives him some support.
One of the reasons Ramsey would have been so reluctant to burst forward in the past is because it would have left the defence exposed. He can now play on Wilshere, holding back when Wilshere is forward but he also has the freedom to bomb on, knowing that Wilshere can cover behind him.
He also seems to have been given a more complete central midfield role this season, which isn’t overly confined by specific areas and certain jobs all over the pitch.
Ramsey has always been a superb player in possession because his vision is superb and he reads the game as well as anyone else in the Arsenal senior side.
Having no restrictions means he can pop up all over the field in the way that Paul Scholes used to do for Manchester United. If he spots some space he can run into it and his central role allows him to cover a variety of different midfield positions.
The most important thing is that his confidence is very high at the moment and he seems to be enjoying his football.
Ramsey’s leadership skills, given some experience for the Wales national side, are even popping their head above the surface.
Not only is Ramsey now more productive in the attacking third, his ability to read the game so well is rubbing off on his teammates because he now has the confidence to give some stick to players like Wilshere or Santi Cazorla when they aren’t pulling their weight or haven’t spotted something which he’s seen.
What do you make of Ramsey’s performances this season?
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