Aaron Ramsey thriving in the central role; proving he can take Arsenal to the next level

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When Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla hobbled off the away turfs of the Hawthorns and Carrow Road clutching their stricken knees in November, many envisioned Arsenal's midfield collapsing in on itself.

A lot of the Gunners' recent success has been built upon the sturdy yet combative duo of Coquelin and Cazorla, with the two proving an unlikely platform for the rest of Arsenal's offensive weapons to thrive off.

However, in the absence of the two unlikely heroes, there may be a player who could yet galvanise this Arsenal team once again - Aaron Ramsey.


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Back in 2013/14, the Welshman was arguably the finest player in the Premier League when operating from his favoured central position, but in recent times has been forced to slot in on the right to accommodate the emergence of Coquelin and Cazorla as a midfield pairing.

And whilst Ramsey performed admirably in a position he is physically unsuited to, it was clear he wasn't the same player who dominated the centre of the park two seasons ago.

Now, though, Ramsey has been moved back into the centre and shown signs of regaining his previous form; in the three fixtures since he was shifted centrally, Ramsey has recorded two goals, two assists and a pass completion of 89%.

Against Sunderland, where the Gunners struggled to dominate proceedings, it was Ramsey who provided the driving force and energy required to see off Sam Allardyce's determined troops. He was rewarded for his efforts with his first goal at the Emirates this season.

Just four days later Arsenal's frenetic Welshmen was once again vital in helping achieve one of the north Londoners' most important wins in recent memory.

Ramsey was excellent against Olympiacos and provided the necessary steel and tactical nous to secure all three points, his run and cross for Olivier Giroud's opener typifying his impressive display.

And against Aston Villa on Sunday, he once again produced a performance which, whilst not the most eye-catching, was effective in helping Arsenal gain three priceless points.

The speed at which he broke up the pitch to finish his side's second goal after winning the ball in his own half epitomised his sheer desire to help in attack.

Ramsey's passing range and footwork might be inferior to that of Cazorla's, but what the Wales international brings to the heart of Arsenal's midfield turns it into a different animal.

A true box-to-box midfielder capable of providing a match winner is exactly what the Gunners have needed - and Ramsey is proving just that.

Cazorla's contribution to the side will no doubt be missed, but in the Welsh midfielder, Arsene Wenger has a player willing to take games by the scruff of the neck and, perhaps, able to provide Arsenal's first Premier League title in a decade.

Thierry Henry
Premier League

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