Our victory over Wolves was arguably the most straightforward game this season.
It’s rare that a game of football is over after 11 minutes, but that was exactly the case after two goals and red card to Sebastien Bassong ended the contest.
Robin van Persie’s penalty kick was impudent and arrogant — something deep down inside me didn’t actually like it, sorry Robin — while Walcott’s finish was confident. Two excellent goals scored in contrasting manner and the game was over.
From then on it was always going to be tough for the home side and while Wolves battled hard, forcing Wojciech Szczesny into a superb stop midway through the second half, Yossi Benayoun grabbed a well-deserved goal to seal the result. 3-0, three points and our march towards 3rd continued in style.
Rather than talking about this game too much I’d like to talk about Aaron Ramsey, a player that is dividing opinion at the moment.
Since a strong start to the season it is no secret that the Welshman has gone off the boil a little, a habit of missing relatively simple opportunities in front of goal has frustrated the supporters who expect more.
His deployment on the left-hand side of attack in recent games has also caused people to question Arsene Wenger’s intelligence. Ramsey? A genuine central midfielder on the left side of a front three? With Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain on the bench? You’re having a laugh, Wenger. You’re having a laugh.
Well, no, actually. He’s not.
Anybody who has watched Arsenal play over the last fifteen years knows that Wenger likes balance across the lines of defence, midfield and attack. Whether we are playing 4-5-1, 4-4-2 or 4-3-3, Wenger seeks balance.
When Ashley Cole broke into the team years ago he was balanced with the less-adventurous Lauren. Freddie Ljungberg or Robert Pires was often balanced with a Ray Parlour. When someone on the right is a more attacking player, usually the player on the left will be asked to play more defensively.
Our current team reflects this. Bacary Sagna has had to alternate between playing a more attacking or defensive role depending on whether it has been Santos, Gibbs or Vermaelen on the other flank. Likewise when Djourou has filled in on the right, Santos et al have been encouraged to run riot down the left.
Across our front line Theo Walcott is constantly asked to play as the most attacking winger, a notion that is completely backed up by the statistic that we attack significantly more down the right than the middle or left.
Anybody who is crying out for Chamberlain to be played on the left while Walcott is on the right seems to miss the point of what Wenger is trying to achieve: balance. If an ultra-attacking player is on the right then he requires a player like Ramsey, or in the case against Wolves, Benayoun, to balance things out.
Chamberlain is an outstanding talent but our run of form and results at the moment — marked by Walcott’s propensity to find the back of the net and assist frequently — shows Wenger is getting it right.
Of course none of this would matter if Ramsey had put away a couple of chances. No matter what people say about the Welshman he cannot be accused of a lack of workrate, nor an unwillingness to put his body on the line and get stuck in defensively.
He could fairly be criticised for taking a split-second longer to release the ball than an Arteta or Rosicky and his finishing has been poor but he shoots from long-range as often as the Spaniard and plays the game with the poise of Michael Ballack.
All Ramsey has to do is score a couple of goals and people will get off his back and remember what a fine talent he is.
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