The wheels have fallen off Arsenal’s title challenge in recent weeks. Supporters have come up with different reasons for this; Arsene Wenger’s tactics have been wrong, the players haven’t tried hard enough, some fans have not supported the team in the way they should… the list goes on.
There have been several injuries and that certainly hasn’t helped. There has been one notable absence in the form of Aaron Ramsey, but just how much have Arsenal missed the player that performed so well for them earlier in the season?
The Welshman has only played in 18 league games this season but despite that, he has still attempted the second highest amount of tackles with 66 behind Mikel Arteta’s 77 attempted tackles. What is even better however and only serves to illustrate how much an impact Ramsey has had in this respect, is that he has been the most successful Arsenal player at winning tackles with 56. Similarly, he has attempted 230 ground duels which only puts him behind Jack Wilshere and Olivier Giroud, and by winning 113 of these, he is second only behind Wilshere on 199 successful ground duels.
Ramsey was lauded earlier in the season for his creative impact on the team. It goes without saying that he has fallen behind in some of that stats behind other players who have had longer spells without injury, however the gap is not as big as you’d think. He has created 26 chances for Arsenal this season, which means he is the sixth highest chance creator. However, he has made six assists from open play which is second only to Giroud’s seven assists from open play. As with tackling, he is still leading in one area of creativity despite being out injured for so long. The midfielder has created nine clear-cut chances for his team-mates, two more than Giroud with seven.
In fact Ramsey has created the fifth highest amount of clear-cut chances as shown above. He’s not played for so long yet he still finds himself in the Top 5 in the Premier League for creating these. It’s an indication of how well he was playing and how much he was contributing to Arsenal end product.
Even looking at this area of his game, the stats again illustrate Ramsey’s impact for Arsenal this season. He managed to win possession of the ball back 71 times in the middle of the park which is the third highest in the team behind Arteta’s 74 wins and Santi Cazorla’s 81 wins. Even when you consider that he is only sixth in terms of winning the ball back in the attacking third of the pitch with eight, you would think that other players such as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Wilshere would be higher given their longer spells in action.
This has been the area of Ramsey’s game where he has won the most plaudits this season. Giroud, quite understandably, leads the way in most of the statistics. However, Ramsey is not far behind in many of them. Looking at goals first, the Welshman scored eight goals before his injury halfway through the season. Despite being out for so long, that still puts him second in the team’s goal scoring behind Giroud’s 13. The midfielder has also had the third highest amount of shots on target with 22, behind Cazorla’s 23 shots on target and Giroud’s 29 shots on target. As he attempted 40 shots in total, this means that his shooting accuracy of 71% which is second only to Mesut Ozil’s 80%. Finally, his clear-cut chance conversion of 67% is second only to the joint 100% efforts of Cazorla, Wilshere and Arteta.
Ramsey was in great form for Arsenal before his injury this season and it’s clear that he has been massively missed by the team in the time since then. He may not be at the top when we look at his statistics but it is amazing to see that he is still second best in some cases despite playing in just 18 games. Wenger said in his press conference before their game against Manchester City that Ramsey is perhaps only two weeks away from a return to action. One thing is for sure, his return can’t come soon enough for Arsenal.