Newcastle vs Arsenal: The reason why Aaron Ramsey must be moved back to central midfield - or dropped from the starting line-up

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain needs to come into the squad against Newcastle to give the side the width and threat it's desperately lacking

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The Independent Football

Aaron Ramsey is wasted on the right hand side and needs to be used centrally or not at all this weekend against Newcastle.

With a lack of a world-class striker in the side and only two goals for the North Londoners in their opening three Premier League outings, Ramsey’s lack of width and ineffectiveness on the wing is only adding to the bluntness of the side going forward.

Arsene Wenger has continually opted to use his star central midfielder out wide instead of using the more natural, pacey option in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, leaving many fans perplexed.


Ramsey was prolific in a central midfield role when he scored 10 goals and added 8 assists in his outstanding 2013/14 Premier League season, despite missing half of it through injury.

Gunners’ fans may be concerned when you compare this to his record out wide so far this season, where he is yet to score or assist and has a pass success of a low 82%.

His form is a worrying reminder of his year in 2012/13, when the Welshman was used largely on the right and was harshly criticised by Arsenal fans.

Despite having a goal wrongly disallowed for offside against Liverpool on Monday night, Ramsey has struggled on the wing and it is clear he favours a central role in the side.

The Welshman told The Independent in pre-season that he wanted to win his place back in the middle of the midfield this year. He said: “That’s what I’ll be looking to do. That’s where I think my best position is, that’s where I feel comfortable. Obviously, I did a job for the manager, which he asked me to do at the end of last season and, hopefully, I can get back in there.”

This desire to play centrally causes Ramsey to wander from the wing, leaving Arsenal with a lack of width and meaning the right hand side is exposed. This causes problems for first choice right-back Hector Bellerin who had problems against Liverpool on Monday night when the wandering Ramsey meant he was caught out and exposed on the break.

It’s not the first time that Arsene Wenger has been guilty of playing his star midfielders out wide either, as Mesut Özil could tell you.

The horrific period when the dreaded 4-1-4-1 formation was deployed with Mesut Ozil languishing on the left hand side resulted in a bad time for Gunners fans, and perhaps even more frustrating than Ramsey’s current situation out wide.


This season Ramsey has also picked up an annoying sloppiness to his game, misplacing several passes every week and trying largely unsuccessful and unnecessary flicks. He looks frustrated on the right and, as he said himself, he was simply doing a job for the team at the end of last season on the wing.

It is becoming clear that using the Welshman on the right hinders the side both offensively and defensively, so why is he being deployed there?

The issue Wenger seems to have at the moment is he is trying to fit Santi Cazorla, Ozil and Ramsey into the same team. It just doesn’t work. It would (ridiculously) almost benefit the side if one of the three were to get injured to ease the manager’s selection headache.

Mesut-Ozil.jpgIt is clear that the Arsenal boss favours Spanish playmaker Cazorla over Ramsey in the deeper midfield position alongside Francis Coquelin, but with Wenger still wanting Ramsey on the pitch he is misusing him out wide.

Get Oxlade-Chamberlain on the right and the Gunners could be devastating going forward with the combined pace, power and talent of Alexis Sanchez and Chamberlain on each wing taking on and terrorising full-backs week in, week out.

Unleash ‘The Ox’ and he can add another dimension to the side… pace, power and no fear.

Wenger does not appear to like playing two out and out wingers from the start, but using two quick wingers like Chelsea do can bring out the best in the team including Özil, who can thread passes to the exciting wide players which will add a different dynamic to the side.

Wenger decision to omit Oxlade-Chamberlain is puzzling

More running in behind will create even more chances and more goals that the team is craving, especially if Arsenal can buy a world-class striker in the final days of the transfer window.

After an underwhelming, slow start from Arsenal this season, a big performance is required at St James’ Park this weekend. It is simple, Chamberlain has to get in the side on the right and either Ramsey plays centrally, or is benched in what is a big game for the Gunners.