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HomeTeams - PLArsenalJack Wilshere v. Aaron Ramsey | In-depth Stats Analysis

Jack Wilshere v. Aaron Ramsey | In-depth Stats Analysis

Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey have a lot more in common with each other than just the club they play for. They have the same salaries, and they’re roughly the same age (Wilshere is 21, Ramsey is 22), size, and position. In fact, on their Wikipedia pages, both are described as versatile players who function mostly as “box to box” midfielders. Both players have even had well-documented problems with injuries, and neither player is known as a prolific goal scorer. But do the similarities stop when physical attributes end and talent begins?

Wilshere Vs Ramsey

There’s no doubt that Aaron Ramsey is a talented player, but there have been a lot more articles written about Jack Wilshere being the future of Arsenal than there have been about Aaron Ramsey. Even in the Twitter world, toward the end of the 2012-13 season when Arsenal and Tottenham were vying for the last Champions League spot, comparisons between Gareth Bale and Jack Wilshere ensued when a Tottenham fan stated that Arsenal would be in “10th place” without Jack Wilshere. An Arsenal supporter replied that Tottenham wouldn’t even be in the top ten without Gareth Bale, and the debate was started. At no time during the debate, however, was there any mention of Aaron Ramsey.

Proving either of those assertions about how good or bad Tottenham and Arsenal would be without those two players is hard to do, but the discussion here isn’t about where those clubs would be without Bale and Wilshere, respectively. The discussion here is if Jack Wilshere is, in fact, the future of Arsenal. After all, there’s a chance Wilshere could be like the new kid at school—he’s new and mysterious, and he seems more intriguing than everyone else because he’s a fresh face, but once you get to know him, you find out he’s just like all the other kids. Wilshere may be the soccer equivalent of that. He’s missed large chunks of time because of injuries, but the flashes of greatness he’s shown while he’s been healthy have been enough to inspire hope among almost all Arsenal fans, but is it an illusion? What if he’s just like all the other players? Has he been great? And if Wilshere is, in fact, “great,” then it stands to reason that he’d at least be better than someone his own age who plays (roughly) the same position – and on the same team – right?

Well, let’s compare Jack Wilshere to Aaron Ramsey and see which midfielder should be the future of Arsenal.

This comparison is made especially easy because not only do both players play similar positions, they also played roughly the same amount during the 2012-13 season. Ramsey played slightly more, most likely due to Wilshere’s late start to the season because of his ankle injury, but their games started were almost identical, and the difference in minutes could be evened out with a handful of games.

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Wilshere Vs Ramsey Defending

The first area we’ll take a look at is defending. Both Ramsey and Wilshere play a “box to box” role, thus putting them in positions and situations where they would need to defend. Wilshere is known as being a bit more brutish and physical than Ramsey, so it should come as no surprise that Wilshere’s 50-50 win % is better than Ramsey’s for both, ground and aerial balls, and Wilshere’s win % on aerial 50-50 balls is significantly better than Ramsey’s.

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One thing that stands out in Ramsey’s favour, however, is that he had more than twice as many tackles as Wilshere while playing only 400 more minutes, but as Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski point out in their book, Soccernomics, more tackling doesn’t necessarily mean better defence. It may mean a player got out of position and he made a last-ditch effort to save the play, and the effort happened to be successful. This line of thinking seems to have some weight behind it since Ramsey was dribbled around significantly more (32 times) than Wilshere was (just 20 times).

It’s also worth noting that Ramsey has almost twice as many interceptions as Wilshere, but Wilshere’s minutes per defensive error (848) is a much higher number than Ramsey’s (522). This means, essentially, that Jack Wilshere makes a defensive error roughly once every ten games while Ramsey makes a defensive error about every six games.

So while Ramsey may tackle more often and more efficiently than Wilshere – and have a significantly higher number of interceptions than his teammate – Wilshere gets the nod on defence because of his ability to win balls and his defensive positioning and discipline which result in fewer times dribbled around and less defensive errors.

+1 for Jack Wilshere.

Next Page: Wilshere Vs Ramsey: Possession


Wilshere Vs Ramsey Quick Navigation

Wilshere Vs Ramsey Defending | Wilshere Vs Ramsey Possession | Wilshere Vs Ramsey Creativity


Brett Boston
Brett Boston
I'm a freelance writer/coach who has a moderately unhealthy obsession with stats.
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