Sunday, 1 January 2012

Ramsey’s hard-working performance against QPR gives hope for a happy New Year

On Inside The Formation we'll look at an individual player's performance and analyse their input into the game. Today Joss Bennett looks at Aaron Ramsey's performance against QPR.

As seems to be the case for pretty much every Arsenal player this season (aside from Robin van Persie, of course), Aaron Ramsey has had his ups and downs. Recently criticised for lacking creativity and intelligence against Aston Villa, the Welsh captain – not for the first time – bounced back in style with a superb cameo against Wolves and another solid display against QPR.

In just 20 minutes during the 1-1 draw with Wolves, Ramsey was able to complete one through ball and create six chances. He also completed four crosses (from six attempts), had one shot and made on successful dribble attempt*. An impressive feat for any player, especially considering the small amount of time he spent on the pitch.

Perhaps more significantly, the player who – given the task of replacing Cesc Fabregas – has the world and more on his shoulders, needed just 71 minutes rest after Aston Villa to prove to doubters that rest was all that was needed.

His next game, against QPR (just four days later, and the fourth game he was involved in in under a fortnight), was not much different. This time, Ramsey attempted two through-balls (completing one which Theo Walcott somehow managed to mess up) and create two chances (including the aforementioned Walcott one), but didn’t complete a single dribble attempt*.

Of course Ramsey’s performance wasn’t perfect by any means – often a little sloppy with more direct passes (completing just one of three long balls). Having only just turned 21, and with only 52 Arsenal appearances to his name, ‘Rambo’ is still young and his inexperience showed at times in his decision-making. In the first half especially, Ramsey was constantly looking for the more complicated pass, attempting to set Walcott free behind Armand Traore instead of retaining the ball and waiting for a better opportunity.

But what the midfielder, who celebrated his 21st birthday on Boxing Day this year, lacked in decision-making and accuracy, he more than made for in hard work and determination. As well as one tackle and two interceptions, Ramsey showed his eagerness to win the ball back early with three attacking turn-overs*.

The Welsh protégé also had four shots (joint-most with Van Persie), but showed signs of snatching at his chances a little. Despite two of his four efforts hitting the target, all of them came from outside the area and he barely tested the ‘keeper for most of the match**.

While Ramsey may be cursing his luck at not adding to his four assists and one Premier League goal, his attitude is such that – should he play – an even better performance against Fulham seems inevitable (no pressure…).

If Ramsey can find space amongst his New Year’s resolutions to become more clinical and composed in front of goal and continue to improve as he matures then he could find himself in the perfect position to honour his former manager Gary Speed. A promising future lies ahead for the Welsh captain and more performances like the ones against QPR and Wolves can only be good news for Arsenal and Wales alike.

*OPTA statistics from

**Statistics from Guardian Chalkboards

Joss Bennett is co-editor and head writer of Arsenal blog Arsenal Report - a site for all Gooners interested in tactics, stats and the inner workings of the club. You can follow him on twitter and his read is work at Arsenal Report.

Video produced by CWDailyGoonerCulann Davies is founder, head writer and video editor of Arsenal blog CWDailyGooner - a site for all Gooners interested in analysis of Arsenal's first teamers, youngsters and loanees in video form. You can follow him on twitter and read his work at CWDailyGooner.

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