Arsene Wenger has explained his reasoning behind not using Aaron Ramsey in a holding role at Arsenal, as it ‘kills his strengths’.
Ramsey has recovered from a thigh injury to return to the Arsenal first team at a time when both Francis Coquelin and Mikel Arteta – the club’s two first-choice defensive midfielders – have been sidelined themselves.
That leaves Arsenal with just Mathieu Flamini and the relatively untested Calum Chambers in those positions, with a number of potential signings mooted in January to help out.
Ramsey, who was named as one of 10 players who have been misused this season, has played in a deeper central role before, but Wenger is keen to keep the Welshman on the right-hand side of midfield instead.
“Ramsey is more an offensive player,” Wenger told Arsenal’s official website. “I will use him sometimes there [centrally] when the game demands, but is he naturally with Cazorla a balanced pair? Defensively, certainly, it’s a very adventurous one!
“I used Ramsey on the right because he gives us a balance, because we have Ozil who is an offensive player, we have Sanchez, we have Giroud or Walcott and Cazorla so to balance a bit defensively, I use Ramsey on the right. That’s where I will certainly continue to use him.
“He is not afraid to tackle but he likes to go in the box and he has a good timing of runs and he wants the ball and he wants to go forward. If you take that out of him, and you say ‘look, you have to sit now, and sit there and wait,’ you kill his strengths.
“He [Ramsey] can do [the deeper role],” added Wenger. “It is not that he cannot do it, but he can do it [more effectively] with Coquelin. Cazorla can [play alongside] Coquelin.
“Cazorla and Ramsey is a bit [attack-minded] and you know in my mind I have seen that the turn of our results last season was when I went for a bit of stability and put Coquelin in there. Now I am a bit cautious on that front and I do not want to unbalance the team.
“Arteta is not a Coquelin-type but he is a tactical player who loves to sit now because he is less [focused on] going forward.
“In my mind I always had Arteta and Flamini and Coquelin. But Arteta was injured so I played always Coquelin. Now with Arteta and Coquelin both injured we are of course a bit short. That’s why I play Chambers for 10 or 12 minutes to see how he positions and we are happy because he can do it.”