Arsenal shamefully threw away a three-goal lead at home to Anderlecht last night in the Champions League, effectively ending their chances of finishing top of their group.
There were several below par performances from the Gunners, but Aaron Ramsey stands out amongst the rest due to his tactical naivety.
Arsene Wenger said in his pre match press conference: “A midfielder is a player who
defends well, attacks well and keeps his priorities right.
“He's not a goal scorer, so he has not to be obsessed by that. I just want him to do his job well. The goals are the consequence of the quality of his game. I don't believe that he has to be obsessed by that.”
Ramsey failed to take this advice on board as he looked to get on the score sheet,
leaving his midfield partners Mikel Arteta, and later on in the game Mathieu Flamini, isolated.
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This has been a consistent flaw in the Welshman’s game this season, through consistent
failed flicks and a lack of defensive discipline. Ramsey appears to be forcing play in order to recreate his impressive goal scoring record of last season.
According to the stats Ramsey averaged 3.7 tackles per game last season in comparison to his 1.9 per game this season. This lack of tactical discipline has cost Arsenal points this season, as they have consistently been vulnerable to counter attacks.
Last season he was seen as one of the best midfielders in world football and will no doubt get back to this level. The key to last season's form was his all round game and that lead to him arriving late to score goals. Ramsey picked his moments to go forward last season admirably, however this season seems to attack at every opportunity.
Change in formation
The last three games have seen Arsenal in a 4-4-1-1 formation, with star man Alexis Sanchez operating behind Danny Welbeck. This formation requires the two central midfielders to remain disciplined and not get caught out by counter attacks.
In the two games prior to last night it was evident that Wenger wanted his central midfielders to concentrate on defensive duties, by dropping Ramsey in favour of lesser attacking players in Arteta and Flamini.
Former Champions League winner Didier Hamann also had harsh words on Ramsey’s
performance, labelling the Welshman’s performance as “selfish," according to Goal.
“He wanted to get on the score sheet. He wasn’t interested in the team's success, whether the team was going to win or not concede and secure the three points," he said.
Wenger will not be happy with Ramsey after last night and will be sure to have a stern word with him. Arteta was covering cracks left by Ramsey well in the first half and Flamini was not capable of doing the same when the latter had to come off with a hamstring injury.