Replacing Aaron Ramsey should be Arsenal’s prime target for creativity this season.
Arsenal had a couple of glorious chances to qualify for the Champions League next season. But, they failed to take it.
There were many factors which made them play the Europa League again. Defensive calamity is the major reason, without a shadow of a doubt. Albeit those continuos conundrums, they can amend other departments with proper strategic players.
Goals galore from Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette dragged them this far – fighting for a Champions League place. But, the duo is not who they are without proper supply from a playmaker behind them from the midfield department.
When the Gunners were on a victory note until they were torn apart by Liverpool days before the New Year, Aaron Ramsey played a cardinal role. Unai Emery recorded 11 victories, 2 defeats, and 1 loss from the 14 games when Ramsey started for Arsenal in the Premier League last season. Those two losses came against the top two sides Liverpool and Manchester City, who looked miles above the rest. Had the Welsh International featured in the starting eleven more often, he would have assisted them to finish in the Champions League place. It proved to be a fatal mistake for Unai Emery.
Ramsey is the type of player liking to make forward runs inside the penalty box. He is also solid defensively and protects the defence with that element. The 29-year-old averaging 0.9 key passes per game, has 6 assists to his name. He is also a decent dribbler with an average tally of 0.4 sprints per game. He has nimble footwork and exquisite eye for pass and goal.
In the defensive department, he averages – 1.2 tackles per game, 0.1 clearances, and 0.6 dribbled past per game. The figures are not significant, that’s being said, he’s an attacking midfielder, primarily.
Unlike the Welsh, Mesut Ozil does not play enough – mainly because of the work ethic. It is something the Spaniard demands from his forwards – to be on the move, on their heels throughout the game. Arsenal have bagged just 11 victories from possible 20, managing just 55% win record with him in the eleven. The unerring figures proves the glaring variance between these two players.
Ozil, on the other hand, averages 1.9 key passes per game, but has only two assists in the Premier League last campaign. It shows that he is further up the pitch, a position which does not suit Unai Emery’s philosophy. In the defensive duties, Ozil is no way near his teammate Ramsey.
He has an average tally as low as 0.5 tackles per game, 0.1 clearances, and 0.8 dribbled past per game. Albeit staying further up the pitch, he has fewer assists than Ramsey. Additionally, Ozil can disappear throughout a game, whereas, Ramsey has produced that moment of magic to change Arsenal’s fortunes.
These two have played seven games together in the Premier League last season. Against big teams, Unai Emery has not dared to start both because of the lack of defensive solidity. While starting games together, the Gunners have bagged 13 goals and conceded six. The Citizens beat them, whilst they conceded two against Cardiff City – proving the substandard defensive shape with the duo.
From the above numbers, it is viable that Unai Emery requires a replacement for Aaron Ramsey desperately. The Welsh International provided a perfect balance in the defensive and offensive transition.
Arsenal need a player like him, not just because of the balance, but for the excessive creativity needed for the striker duo. With the presence of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, the Gunners have no shortage of pace and lethalness in front of the goal.
Donny van de Beek, Nabil Fekir, or Nicolo Zaniolo would ideal options for Unai Emery. Arsenal’s number 9 is a good creator, but an exact replacement for the outgoing Welsh will increase the output in the final third.