Ramsey is the next……Ramsey!

Heddlu Ramsey!

Okay, so maybe Welsh doesn’t work as well as Italian or Spanish: forza Ramsey! But the thought is there. Like many other Gooners I am a big Ramsey fan. The Pundit already jumped me in the line on this topic, but I introduced him to Ramsey, so I’m taking it back. And, after the Wales-Scotland game the geiger counter on Ramsey fans has gone up a notch. Which is causing me some concern. The problem, as always, is trying to manage expectations: having belief, but allowing for growth. This was Wales v. Scotland after all. Unlike the Despised Diaby, Ramsey embodies hope. Unfortunately, hope can quickly turn to anger (um, Diaby) if expectations are not properly managed, such as this posting (note, I like this blog, just disagree with the post.

And I fear the islanders might be heaping unworldly expectations on poor Rambo’s shoulders because of a lack of understanding about his game. Expectations based more on wish than reality, confuse people’s expectations (read the Pundit’s “Diaby Syndrome”). Lets put it in these terms, Ramsey’s nickname is Rambo, not maestro. Right now, no top level team (think Euro, not EPL) is going to ask him to orchestrate the upper-third, no one. That being said he will be expected to captain a team and, crucially, win the battle-space (the mid-50 yard). Why? Because Ramsey’s technical skill are not the equal, even in potential, of Fab’s, or xavi, iniesta, kaka, or even deco. That being said, his commanding presence, potential with the dead ball, and passing and technique lend themselves perfectly to the battle-space wars. This is why he plays exceeding well with Fab, he can sit back, hold, recover, manage, push, fall back, you name it.

I do agree a culture clash between Fab and Ramsey can occur -it’s in the realm of possibility. Ramsey might be more suited to a different formation, at least if the team is to be oriented around him. In this scenario, he might be the perfect replacement on another team: welsh for welsh. That type of team would run a clear 4-4-2. This clash, however, isn’t that big a deal, is unlikely and not even on the horizon. So lets get down the good stuff: formation and player strengths.

Right now, the Arsenal’s 4-3-3 allows Ramsey to play a role his game is perfectly suited to: link up the defense with the offense; impose his will on others; execute precision mid-length passes (ok, still working on this); spread the defense by putting a solid 30-35 yard shooter on the pitch; and, finally, act as the first line of defense to obstruct a counter attack (again, still working, see the AK game). He doesn’t have the technique for the Fab pass in the upper third, nor does he have the pace of Eboue or Nasri. The Wales-Scotland game did show his ability to stay on the ball and a capacity for flair, but the true strength of his goal was his determination: Ramsey was Rambo. That’s why he was juiced, he knew it too. He finally got a taste of the will he can impose.

So what does this all mean? A couple of points. One, Ramsey is immensely talented and is a crucial piece of the team’s future. But he has yet to demonstrate that he’s of the type of player to build a team or formation around, at least for the elite teams. He’s young, so this might change, but look at a smattering of comparisons at their equivalent age: Fab,CR, Kaka. Which leads us to point two, ease off the kid! He has great potential, lets give him a chance to reach it. No one would be happier than me if he turns out to be the next Fab. But I’m tired of people always saying “player X is the next player Y.” Ramsey is his own player, with his own skills and potential. And playing with Fab is raising his game. His technique will only improve making him that much of a stronger player.

preferred line-up, no changes, but lets blood Rambo now. alumnia, sagna, gallas, V2000, the Kid (aka Gibbs), Nasri, Ramsey, Fab, Song, Eduardo, Arshavin

– the student

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