Aaron Ramsey 2013

Maybe Aaron Ramsey should have been at this place sooner, but serious injuries get in the way. But Arsenal have a huge need for anyone who can raise their game to the level of someone Arsene Wenger isn’t signing, and it seems that Ramsey, for the first time in three years, is doing that bit better than anyone else.

Arsenal didn’t take any risks on their second leg against Fenerbahce, despite the 3-0 lead they had from their Istanbul visit. This meant Olivier Giroud, Walcott and Podolski up front, with the trio of Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla behind them.

Wilshere, for now, has to be the one doing more dirty work than others in the midfield, even if that’s not what he’s been groomed to do. Arsenal don’t have defensive midfielders, and the young Englishman has to be the one to fill the role Mikel Arteta should have been playing in.

This means Ramsey doesn’t have to occupy the wing, where Wenger has used him too often last season, which is a role that completely wasted his talent. Lukas Podolski isn’t scoring and contributing on a consistent enough level, but he’s not being benched, which gives Ramsey the chance to remain in the middle of the pitch, where he’s more effective than anywhere else, while Cazorla is the one who works better on the wing if Podolski moves to the middle.

Lukas Podolski

But now Podolski is also an injury risk, leaving the pitch with what might be a pulled hamstring. Wenger doesn’t have the depth necessary to use someone instead of him on the left wing, so it means Ramsey needs to hope that he isn’t the one that has to fill in that void, and Cazorla instead is shifted to the left, or possibly Yaya Sanogo gets an unexpected spot in the lineup for the Tottenham match.

Podolski leaving the match meant Wenger used up his substitutions early, giving Jack Wilshere 90 minutes on the pitch, which wasn’t the original plan. It also gave Fenerbahce players about 15 minutes before the final whistle to try and force Wilshere off the pitch by aiming every dangerous tackle and dirty kick at him. Teams know that being physical with Wilshere is a way to throw him off balance, not to mention injure him, and that’s something he’ll have to face for the time being, until he shows he has the composure to deal with these dirty tactics.

Mission accomplished? For now, yes. There were those who feared some sort of complication due to the strong rival they were drawn against, but the 5-0 aggregate score tells us that the difference between a lacking Arsenal side and a strong Turkish side are still quite huge and almost impossible to erase without an insane amount of money being thrown at the problem. That’s not the Arsenal way, but fans, and probably the players of the club as well, are hoping that Wenger does find a player or two to spend money on before the summer is over, and a season without sufficient coverage to his lineup players begins.

Images: Source