Aaron Ramsey’s hat-trick on Saturday offered the perfect example of arriving at the right place at the right time to score goals. Compared with Jack Wilshere’s exceptional form over the past few weeks, controlling games effortlessly with a drive that has carried the whole team forward, it begs the question of who should be first choice?
Ramsey brings an energy that contributes enormously to our pressing strategy which disrupts opposition flow whilst (as Saturday showed) he also brings a goal scoring threat from midfield. Obviously his most important goals being the two FA cup winning goals evidencing his ability to do it under pressure and on the big stage.
Wilshere offers exceptional dominance of the central midfield area, the perfect example of how to ‘boss a game.’ His trademark combination of close ball control and quick acceleration means he can burst past opposition players, progressing the team forwards. Such drive combined with exceptional technique, a wide passing range and a toughness in battle offer the very definition of a complete central midfielder. It shouldn’t be forgotten that Jack also chips in on the creative side of the game, mostly with floated balls in behind. The debate is effectively goal scoring midfielder vs. deeper lying “boss” of the game.
Considering the downsides for a moment, Ramsey possesses such energy and goal scoring instinct that it can lead to a loss of discipline whilst he is also edged out by other midfielders in terms of creativity. There is also the issue that when his form dips he is prone to giving the ball away. Wilshere (aside from his injury problems) will not get goals on a consistent basis whilst there is still a question mark around if he can retain his exceptional recent form.
Playing them as a two is not feasible given you would sacrifice Ramsey’s energy and goal scoring contribution or Wilshere’s drive. Arguably the best solution is to employ a 4-3-3 with Xhaka or Elneny anchoring both so they can both blossom playing their natural game. Ozil in such a system would operate from the right when defending with a total free role in attack. Such a system would need to be balanced by a Mkhitaryan or Welbeck on the other side, adept at working hard alongside the central midfield three.
Overall Wilshere given his discipline and the control he brings to our midfield (that already contains a wealth of attacking talent) is the more pivotal. Ramsey’s tendency to vacate midfield in big games and the fact we don’t exactly lack goals from other areas also tips the scales in Jack’s favour. The future makeup of the team has to be built around Wilshere’s unique blend of aggression and technical excellence.