Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Ramsey Hopes to Give Wenger a Central Issue

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Ramsey Hopes to Give Wenger a Central Issue

Article excerpt

Byline: BOURNEMOUTH v ARSENAL (Today, 7.45pm, Sky Sports 1) James Olley

ARSENE WENGER once compared the options he had in the No10 role to Brazil's all-conquering team of the 1970s.

"They had Tostao, Rivelino, Pele, Jairzinho, Gerson, Clodoaldo who all played No10 in their club," he said in September 2014.

"They didn't know what to do but they put them all together and won the World Cup in a convincing way. It is ambitious but without ambition you cannot progress. We have that desire to play well altogether and I think we can really achieve it."

Wenger's penchant for players at home with the ball at their feet led Arsenal to build a squad heavy on individuals with a strong preference to play in a central position. Mesut Ozil made the advanced playmaker's role his own following a club-record PS42.4million move from Real Madrid in 2013 and his dominance there had a knock-on effect for others in the squad.

Aaron Ramsey thrived when entrusted with a similar responsibility -- albeit in a different system -- with Wales at Euro 2016 yet found himself surprisingly overlooked when Ozil was forced to miss Sunday's 2-0 win over Crystal Palace through illness.

Ozil is a doubt for this evening's Premier League match at Bournemouth and Alex Iwobi will be favourite to continue as No10 given his impressive display against Palace which was capped by his third goal of the season.

Iwobi has rarely been given a central berth in the first team yet Wenger selected the 20-year-old ahead of Ramsey, who has recently returned to full fitness but found himself restricted to two cameo appearances from the bench over the festive period.

Ramsey has started just two Premier League games this season having suffered, among other injuries, a damaged hamstring in the Gunners' opening-day defeat to Liverpool.

He said: "It felt good coming on the other day so hopefully now I can get some more minutes under my belt and next I want to build it up and stay fit."

"It has obviously been a very frustrating season for me so far, especially coming off a very good Euros with Wales. I wanted to kick on and get going this season but it has been a bit stopstart again. …

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