Today a post by regular contributor Eduardo which originally appeared in yesterday’s Comments section of PA.
Those with an agenda against Ramsey like to parrot the pundits and commentators who spout rubbish such as:
“Ramsey unbalances the team ‘cos he moves central and [amazingly] to the left, during games.”
This one “soundbite” suggests that many don’t actually know:
1. What ‘team balance’ actually is.
2. What Wenger’s tactics are (despite AW actually having explained his exact thinking in playing Ramsey on the right of midfield).
3. That this is not something new from Wenger.
So let’s shed some light on all of this, starting with team balance.
The Ramsey haters, it seems, only do simplistic thinking. In their world, to have a balanced team you have to have the same sort of player on each side, doing the same things. Of course, this is only true from them when it actually suits their argument. They will therefore tell you we need one attacking fullback and one who stays back. One ball playing CB and one brute. One ball winning CM and one passer. And finally, up front, a big one and a little skilled one. But, for some unexplained reason, we need two line-hugging wide men, who only cut in to have a shot or get in to score. Thus the wide role is the only one where it’s yin and yin – no yang to be seen anywhere! I always knew they hadn’t a brain cell between them, but now I realize they don’t have a yang, either (explains a lot about their —– envy).
This brings me on to point number two – ignorance of Wenger’s tactics.
Well, in thinking about why the Ramsey Haters don’t actually know what Wenger’s tactics are, I would actually suggest that this is a deliberate act. This disingenuity reveals itself when you match up the Ramsey Haters with the Wenger Haters – it seems there is a massive overlap.
So Ramsey, it would appear, is merely collateral damage in the ongoing agenda they have against Arsene Wenger.
Anyway, back to what they fail to understand about Ramsey’s role and the tactics behind it. As stated in point 1, they think we need the same on the left and right of midfield, but that little tactic died a tragic death when 4-2-4 outgrew its usefulness. It was only a bit-part tactic when 4-4-2 was the norm. I don’t see any of the successful teams who use 4-2-3-1, actually using their wide midfielders in a rigid role. I don’t see any of them having similar players on opposite sides, either.
As I said earlier, it is a conscious act to seemingly not know what Wenger’s tactics are with Ramsey wide midfield. Its deliberate nature exposed by Wenger having, on multiple occasions explained the thinking behind it. And believe it or not, it’s all about team balance.
Wenger has explained that the reasons for selecting Ramsey wide midfield has many aspects, including:
a) Wanting someone who brings a different kind of game than Sanchez. Alexis takes on players, dribbles a lot, is more of a striker kind of wide man, whereas Aaron is more of a midfielder type – someone who will help support our central midfielders, especially when opponents put three players in there against our two.
b) Bellerin is a very attack minded fullback, and Ramsey’s game complements Hector’s game in two critical ways. Firstly, Ramsey has the discipline to track back and/or block opponents’ attacking lanes when Hector charges forward. Secondly, the fact that Ramsey moves infield also leaves the space for Hector to run into – that space is not only there because Ramsey is not, but often because opponents have also followed Ramsey infield.
c) Wenger has also explained that it’s a deliberate ploy to have Ramsey pop up on the left. AW wants to “overload” on that side. Opponents already have their hands full trying to plug the holes caused by Alexis and Ozil (and even Santi drifts that side), so in a way Ramsey going there too, is to ‘bust the dam’. Acknowledgement of Wenger’s explanation of Ramsey’s role by these critics has so far failed to materialise, as to do so would be tantamount to accepting that Arsene does, after all, do tactics! And that would never do, now would it?
Finally, point number three – it’s not something new from Wenger.
And no I do not mean, as some like to claim, playing people out of position.
In fact, in his 19 years in charge, Wenger has by and large had different types of player on either side of midfield.
Consider who was on the right when we had Overmars on the left. He was STILL on the right when Pires showed up on our left. I’m talking about the type of player whom many of the AAA/WOB say we should have bought in the summer – a player that for me, Ramsey is most like in so many ways.
Of course, I’m talking about The Romford Pele himself, Ray Parlour.
Was there ever a more opposite player to both Overmars or Pires. Didn’t Parlour, just like Ramsey, drift infield, go box-to-box, but from a wide base?
Parlour was replaced on the right by Ljunberg. Although Freddie, as a player was dissimilar from Parlour, he still played a different role to Pires. He was the off-the-ball runner; he was the guy to get on the end of God’s and Pires passes.
Freddie, just like Ramsey, would pop up all over the place.
Pires and Ljunberg were replaced by Nasri and Hleb. I don’t think anyone would suggest that Nasri and Hleb had similar types of game or roles. Then Theo became our wide right player. Again we never had anyone similar to Theo on our left playing in games at the same time.
And the reason for that, just as it is now for having Ramsey on the right and Alexis on the left, is team balance, and of course tactics.
But don’t shout it too loudly, it might upset the moaners.