Good morning all, over the last few days I’ve spent some time talking about our defence so now I’ll move onto the midfield and rather than breaking it down into right, centre and left midfielders I’ll compose it as central, wide and Ozil…I joke, just central and wide.
So to start with our central players I think it’s worth discussing which formation we play with, again. A 4-2-3-1 gives us 3 central midfielders (2 deeper and 1 in the number 10 role). However, when we play a 3-4-2-1 we effectively have 4 midfielders (2 Holding as normal and effective,y 2 number 10’s).
For one reason or another I feel a lot of our midfield players have benefitted from the change in formation as well as the defence (and pretty much everyone else as well). But Xhaka is someone who has slowly grown in stature as the season progressed. If you think back to when we first signed him and our reluctance to start him in midfield it suggested the manager had some reservations about him but following Cazorla’s injury the manager didn’t really have a choice. There isn’t another player in our team who can pick a pass out like Cazorla can besides Granit.
Granted, pretty much everyone in the squad besides Per is more mobile than Granit and wasn’t and never will be able to replicate the wizardry Santi possess when travelling with the ball but partnering Ramsey and Xhaka seemed to allow Ramsey the freedom to move forward a bit more, which is undoubtedly the best way to play him but also meant that Xhaka had a bit more time to get his head up and pick out crucial passes into the two number 10’s we have further up the pitch.
I can’t see the manager wanting to disrupt the partnership Aaron and Xhaka have built up over the last 10 games or so but at the same time, Ramsey’s inability to stay fit is something that will no doubt be in the back of the managers mind and as we don’t really have another Ramsey-esque player in the squad might it encourage him to head into the market to find a replacement? Maybe.
I guess that will depend somewhat on how we handle other players in the squad such as Wilshere. Should we sell him? Yes. Will we sell him? Probably not as he’s injured (shock). I loved Wilshere when he first broke onto the scene. He was fearless, direct, tenacious and had a bit of bite to his game whilst coming through the Arsenal youth system which meant almost every Arsenal adjourned him just that little bit more.
Then came the injuries, they didn’t stop once they started and last season, despite him staying fit for majority of last season you could see when he did play he was t the same as he used to be. Paul Scholes once criticised Wilshere saying he hasn’t progressed at all whiched absolutely hit the nail on the head. Is that purely his fault or can some blame be apportioned to the club and manager? I don’t think we, as a club can say we done all we could to make him a better, more robust player but neither can he.
Anyway, I believe he should be sold this summer. It hasn’t worked out for him and I wish him all the best with the remainder of his rpcareer because he still has the time to establish himself somewhere and become a truly great player. I just don’t think Arsenal will be that club.
Another player would I wouldn’t be opposed to use selling is Mohammed Elneny. Since joining us he hasn’t really secured a place in the team, when he has played he has t really lit up the pitch, although I don’t recall him ever having a bad game.
Don’t get me wrong, I think he is a good player and is the closest player we have to matching Aaron Ramsey’s relentless running but he isn’t really a great defensive midfielder in that he doesnt do what Coquelin does. He doesn’t have an eye for a pass like Ramsey or Xhaka. He certainly doesn’t have the technical guile of Mesut Ozil and although in his time at Basel he scored a few decent goals, we haven’t seen him do that for us either besides the consolation goal he got against Barca last season.
However, based on the above, I think we could afford to lose him and replace him with a player who brings more to the team although I think it is unlikely to see him leave this summer.
Besides that I don’t think I would change anything else about our midfield. Coquelin will be crucial for our team to compete domestically and in Europe but I wouldn’t want him to be one of our two starting midfielders on a regular basis.
Cazorla is still out injured (since October) so I would t expect to see him play until late this year, early 2018. When he is fit I would say he is our best player technically which is something echoed by a lot of our squad whenever interviewed. I think he could slot in alongside Xhaka and they would dovetail well.
Cazorla offers better distribution than Ramsey, is a better dribbler than a Ramsey and the quality of his dead balls is also something he brings to the team.
However, Ramsey runs around a lot which swings in his favour, Cazorla is tactically more aware when playing so picks up better positions around the pitch meaning he will get caught out of position a lot less often than Ramsey.
What would you like to see happen with our midfield this summer? Let me know in the comments below.