Arsenal: Ramsey compared to Chelsea legend; Mourinho missing; Campbell tips opponents
November has historically been a problematic month for Arsenal under Arsene Wenger, and this November brings some interesting tests. The Gunners host Tottenham and PSG, with a trip to Old Trafford to face Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United sandwiched in between.
The positive news for Arsenal is that they can attack this programme of fixtures with fresh legs. Granit Xhaka, Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud are all set to return to the side, while the likes of Alex Oxlade Chamberlain and Kieran Gibbs haven’t played too many minutes this season either.
The Gunners have ‘hit the wall’ at stages of previous campaigns, but they have a crop of players waiting in the wings who are fresh which should hold them in good stead. Wenger has been talking about the attributes Ramsey can bring to the team:
“He is a player who is box-to-box so overall he pushes the team forward,” the boss said. “That is what we want in our side. He can play in holding midfield, he can play if needed on the flanks as well. That’s where he is not happy but he can play there as well.
“He has a tremendous drive, he’s a bit Lampard-ish you know, where he likes to get in the box, likes to shoot from distance and has similar quality.”
Arsenal have struggled to get the most out of Ramsey in recent seasons; since his partnership with Mikel Arteta in 2013-14 when he was arguably the league’s best player until his injury in December. Since, it has been difficult to partner Ramsey with the right player in central midfield and his best performances have come tucked in from the right flank.
However, Ramsey has reportedly been unhappy with this position. Wenger will be keen to point out that Arsenal’s wide players do not stick to the touch line, but have license to roam all across the final third. This is the type of freedom Ramsey thrived under at the Euros when Chris Coleman had Joe Allen and Joe Ledley sitting behind him for Wales.
If he can fit into the collective, Ramsey has the quality to push Arsenal up another gear because he brings added goal threat and athleticism. It will be intriguing to see how this pans out.
Elsewhere, Wenger might not face his bete-noir Jose Mourinho when Arsenal travel to Old Trafford on November 19th because the former Chelsea boss could be handed a touchline ban.
Mourinho was sent to the stands during United’s 0-0 home draw against Burnley, and had already been charged by the FA for improper conduct because of comments about referee Anthony Taylor before United’s trip to Liverpool.
Whether or not he is on the bench shouldn’t make a blind pit of difference to the game itself, but it could be a boost for Arsenal’s players not to have the distraction of ‘Mourinho vs Wenger’ on the touchline; though no doubt Sky Sports will be disappointed.
Finally, former Arsenal defender Sol Campbell has tipped Chelsea for the title following their impressive win at Southampton yesterday. Campbell thinks Chelsea’s new found defensive solidity could give them an advantage over their title rivals. The Blues sit just a point behind Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City having recovered from a difficult September to piece together four wins on the spin. Campbell said:
“It’s very professional. Tight at the back, that’s key,’ Campbell told the Premier League’s Matchday Live.
“Look at Leicester how they won the Premier League last year, very tight at the back, nicking goals.
“Okay, they are not just nicking goals, Chelsea, they are dispatching teams as well. But being tight at the back.
“And that’s the right balance, really. The right cocktail, balance, if you need that solid [defence], in those tight games, back end of the season, last day, six, seven, eight games, that will kick in and make the difference.”
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