Arsenal in 2016 have been an advertisement for inconsistency. Players all throughout the squad have struggled to deliver performances of the required standard, crushing the club's title dream and leaving Arsene Wenger more vulnerable than ever to criticism.
Aaron Ramsey is a player who sadly falls into the bracket and the French manager now has to come to the realisation that one of his most valuable assets available to him can no longer command a guaranteed starting berth.
Injuries and inconsistency
Sadly, Ramsey has been plagued with injury woes for much of his career at Arsenal and this season has been no different. The Welshman has suffered a whole host of muscular injuries and has spent a number of spells on the sidelines as a result.
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This has perhaps been a factor in his erratic form this season. A sustained spell in the team has been hard to come by, particularly in 2016, and this cannot have helped his confidence.
Nevertheless, when given the chance Ramsey has not convinced and has struggled immensely with replicating positive performances over any sort of time period.
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Arsenal's last two competitive fixtures have epitomised this point. Against West Brom in the 2-0 victory, the midfielder was outstanding showing the necessary discipline in a deep midfield role while also heavily contributing to the efficient offensive play the Gunners displayed.
Fast forward three days to the 0-0 draw with Sunderland and Ramsey's performance was almost unrecognisable. His first touch seemed to have vanished and it appeared as if he was unable to function in a system which he had flourished in only a short time before.
Consistency is key for a team like Arsenal to progress and if one of their supposed stars is unable to supply it, then solutions need to be looked at.
No nailed down position
Another reason why solutions need to be analysed by Wenger is Ramsey's lack of an actual position within the team. A jack of all trades but a master of none seems the perfect cliche to describe the Welshman at this current moment in time.
As a deep midfielder, his inadequacies are all too regularly exposed. His poor ball retention and high-intensity style mean that Arsenal lack the necessary control from the middle of the park while his trademark bursts forward often leave his partner brutally exposed.
Out on the right seems to have been his most productive position this season, adding support to the midfield, being given the necessary offensive freedom and providing defensive aid to Hector Bellerin.
However, is he a long-term solution in this role? Probably not. The pace and dribbling ability required to thrive in the wide areas are sadly something which Ramsey does not possess.
In recent weeks, it has become obvious that the Gunners thrive with pace in wide areas, with Alex Iwobi an Alexis Sanchez the two illustrating this point.
Ramsey is almost in purgatory at the minute, there seems to be no consensus as to whether he is a vital cog in the setup or just a glorified squad player.
One thing is for sure, his value to this Arsenal side has significantly declined in the last year or so and now Wenger needs to further explore other options. No longer a guaranteed starter while Ramsey's future at the club is by no means a certainty either.
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