Monday night’s performance sparked criticism from many Arsenal fans which was evident on Andy Goldstein’s Sports Bar Show. One of the major debates to arise is Wenger persistence with playing Ramsey on the right wing so that Cazorla can play centrally.

Although, this formation worked at the back end of last season and was successful when Arsenal kept winning consecutively it now seems that it has become a problem due to it becoming predictable. Recently on Monday night football Jaime Carragher analysed the two players and commented that Ramsey works on the right hand side because he helps Bellerin at right back but then come in field to join up the play but this has now become a weakness in this Arsenal side.

Ramsey does not work wide right mainly because he does not have the pace to beat his man which means he comes in centrally which at the same time takes away width. This decision then gets ridiculed because Arsenal have options on the bench in terms of Walcott and Oxlade – Chamberlain who are better suited.

Wenger tried to change this in the opening game of the season by playing Ramsey central and Cazorla wide but once again this did not work. The reason for this being Cazorla does not have the legs to play wide anymore and is better suited to a central role which allows him to dictate the play. It was evident that Arsenal missed Cazorla centrally against West Ham because the tempo was slow and struggled to control the midfield which left Coquelin exposed.

This then creates the Cazorla/Ramsey debate. This debate is likened to that of Gerrard and Lampard in the England national team which many managers had a problem with. So who is the better option?

What does Ramsey offer?

Let’s assume that one of the Ox or Walcott plays wide right, Wneger must decide who is better next to Coquelin. Firstly, let’s look at Ramsey. Ramsey’s strength is that he can get box to box quickly and contribute in both phases of play. It can also be seen that in his preferred position he will get you goals just like the 2013/14 season. This happens because Ramsey can time his runs and decide when to get into the box. However, the major downfall is that Ramsey does not control the play as well in that central area. I can also remember that at the start of the 2014/15 season Ramsey became a bit unreliable in that area often trying to be too clever and losing the ball.


Now let’s look at the contribution Cazorla can make in that central area. Cazorla has the intelligence to be able to play tricky passes in congested areas which allows players such as Sanchez to find room and make a difference in the final third. The other major benefit is that he provides a balance to the midfield due to his understanding with Coquelin and can dictate the play and adjust the tempo accordingly. However, Cazorla does not contribute as many goals in that deep central area unlike Ramsey.

What do you do?

This leaves Wenger with a big decision and this then create three options. The first he persists with the current formation and team and hope it pays off but he will lose width and the ability for the right winger to take on his man. Next he can drop one of Cazorla or Ramsey so that the team can benefit. This would be hard to decide between both players as they both have different qualities however, if I was the manager Ramsey would marginally shade it to play centrally just because of his ability to grab goals but Cazorla would still get games due to rotation.

The third option is try a new system to accommodate both of these players. A system which I believe would work with Arsenal’s midfield options is a narrow diamond with the fullbacks providing the width. This would then allow Sanchez or Walcott to play off Giroud in a front two. A formation of 4 -1 – 2 – 1 -2 would seem the logical choice. Obviously Coquelin would be the one to sit in front of the back four with Cazorla and Ramsey just in front with Ozil at the top of the diamond. This then allows all the players to play in their preferred position. Would it work? I don’t know but then again I’m not paid to make them decisions.


Wenger is unlikely to change formation which means he needs to decide to keep both in the team or drop one. This is not an easy decision but with the in form Oxlade –Chamberlain waiting on the side-lines he must start. This then provide pace on the wings and a directness to challenge the full back. If not Chamberlain, then Walcott would be the choice as he adds goals to this Arsenal attack. Only time will tell but Wenger must act quickly to avoid dropping important points.

Follow Arsenal Latest on TwitterRSS FeedArsenal Latest news on FacebookSubscribe by email


0 #10 steven carrick 2016-08-09 15:37
me i do prefer santi carzorla to ramsey he is hardworking player and energetic
-1 #9 Alvin Paul 2015-09-02 21:27
Ramsey is off for and to make matters worse is playing wrong position, why?
-2 #8 AAA 2015-08-31 06:28
Ramsey is too slow and the manager is slow to thinking of good replacement. He has better options on bench but never used them. He feel he as an answer to everything and he obviously not. His stubbornness will kill the team. Arsenal won't qualify for anything this year
-1 #7 oladapo 2015-08-29 19:39
Y cant we use common sense ?....cazorla is way ahead of ramsey technically n more discplined defensively. Get a good striker and rotate ramsey/ozil.
+1 #6 Raja 2015-08-28 17:04
To blame Cazorla on all of Arsenal's shortcomings is totally ridiculous.Here's why;
1. Ramsey is nowhere near Cazorla in terms of technical ability despite Cazorla's ageing legs. Just look at Pirlo, he stood above all of the younger players at Juventus when they won the league last year.
2. Cazorla, is not the one who slows down the play. It is our favourite Mr "missing in big games" Giroud. Giroud may have the physical presence but not the speed. However, what good is physical presence if his play can be easily read by opponents ?
3. Our mighty Sanchez should be given a chance to play as a lone striker role. He did that for his country in the recent South American championships.
4. By replacing Giroud at the middle with Sanchez we're solving the "either Ramsey or Cazorla" problem because both of them can play now.
5. The juiciest part of moving Sanchez to middle is that we will be giving the Ox the opportunity to play on the left.
6. Now, the Ox (throw in Walcott as an alternative) and Sanchez will definite provide a more explosive thrust in our attack compared to Sanchez-Giroud combination.
7.Of course, Wenger will not use this combination, because his arrogance is his main weakess.
+3 #5 pastor chami 2015-08-27 05:44
Both Ramsey and Carzola should be in the starting 1ST eleven of the first 45 min. and in the second half Carzola should be benched and Chamberlain introduced. This will materialised
-3 #4 Shogun 2015-08-27 01:28
Ramsey needs to come out
+4 #3 Twivil 2015-08-27 00:21
Arsene talks about playing with the handbrake on. Cazorla is that handbrake.Against Lyon when Caz was on the bench we looked a different team-particularly going forward. The best football is getting the ball forward quickly- two or three passes.To do that there must be movement ahead of the ball with pass and move as standard. Wally, the Ox, Sanchez, Ozil and Ramsey can all pass and move. So can Jack. Cazorla cannot. Everything slows to a crawl and defences get set. In reverse- all the above, except Cazorla can press or close down. I have been saying this for two years and now others are jumping onboard. Not before time! More pace going forward and more closing down when we have lost the ball. To me that is wengerball. Why has Arsene forsaken it for crawlball?
-5 #2 afrifa yaw 2015-08-26 20:14
Santi,Ramsey And OZIL are all passers of the ball,now Santo and Ramsey are also shooters of the ball OZIL ISNT!!Santi @10,Ramsey 8,ox or theo 7..Ozil bench,with attacking options on the bench changes would be made earlier than 80mins.unfortunately its not so or anything alike.
-1 #1 Addis 2015-08-26 18:52
We all love Santi Cazorla but its time to decide, he should be sit on the bench and give a chance for Ox.