Do Arsenal now have England’s left-sided problem?

12:18 04 April 2012


Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates scoring their third goal of the game


Plety of options on the flank for Arsene Wenger, but none seem to be working

Arsene Wenger does not take kindly to people questioning his managerial acumen, and some would say his record probably gives him the right to do so.

But when two different journalists inquired as to why the Frenchman had decided to play Aaron Ramsey in a left-sided attacking role at Loftus Road on Saturday, he probably knew what they were getting at.

The Welsh midfielder looked like a fish out of water shunted out on the flank and was replaced by Gervinho for the final 20 minutes, and the media weren’t the only ones wondering quite why Wenger had asked him to play there.

“He played there because I picked the team and told him to play there,” said Wenger, tersely. “It is not something new, he has played there before.”

He may not play there again, however, after a truly anonymous display that was one of the many reasons Arsenal created so little going forward against QPR.

The decision highlighted a new selection problem for Wenger, which has its roots in the impressive form of Tomas Rosicky. The Czech midfielder has excelled in the last month in the central attacking role that used to be the domain of Cesc Fabregas, and briefly that of Ramsey.

With Alex Song and Mikel Arteta the mainstays in front of the back four during the recent winning run, there are no places available in central positions, but that is not the case out wide.

Arsenal’s left-sided problem is not yet on the scale of England’s, who have struggled for about the last 20 years, but it is becoming an issue.

It is even more of a shame given the excellent recent form of Kieran Gibbs, who looks to have the technique and energy to be an attacking full-back in the mould of Ashley Cole.

Wenger’s problem now is to find the solution to the man in front of him. Cole had Robert Pires operating ahead of him, a partnership that was nigh-on perfect and saw the Gunners win four trophies in three years between 2001 and 2005.

There is certainly no Pires now, even if the great man can be seen on most match days at the Emirates. Gervinho has had an indifferent season, even more so since his trip to the Africa Cup of Nations where his miss for Ivory Coast in the penalty shoot-out final defeat to Zambia appears to have drained his confidence.

The man who started the season in the position, Andrey Arshavin, is now back in his native St Petersburg on loan, while Yossi Benayoun is another who Wenger seems reluctant to play there despite his decent track record of doing so for Liverpool and Chelsea.

Ramsey has been given the job almost by default, but there is little doubt who most Arsenal fans would like to see given a game or two on the left or in fact, anywhere, and it is not Marouane Chamakh.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain only came on after 81 minutes at Loftus Road, but in that brief time showed more appetite for the battle than most of his team-mates had done all afternoon.

Wenger feels the 18-year-old is not 100 per cent fit at the moment, which might be behind his omission from the starting line-up for the last three games.

However, after Ramsey’s display at QPR, Wenger might feel he has little alternative but to unleash the Ox on Manchester City on Sunday.

Related articles

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
2 3 4 5 6

Latest Arsenal news

Friday, November 27, 2015
Dann wheels away in celebration, chased by his delighted team-mates.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

We have another London derby to look foward to this weekend and Arsenal, West Ham and Palace are all heavy favourites but will we see more upsets? Our editorial team make their Premier League predictions.

Friday, November 27, 2015
Mesut Ozil celebrates with Alexis Sanchez (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

The ulitmate fantasy football worry is being left behind by not owning the players the rest of your league have so we’ve put together a simple guide to the most selected XI ahead of Fantasy Premier League gameweek 14.

Friday, November 27, 2015
Alexander Tettey of Norwich City and Saido Berahino of West Bromwich Albion compete for the ball.  (Photo by Alex Broadway/Getty Images)

Norwich will be without midfielder Alex Tettey (groin) for Sunday’s visit of Arsenal.

Friday, November 27, 2015
Mousa Dembele's 25-yard strike secured a late victory for Tottenham at White Hart Lane

All the latest stories from around London’s football clubs on Friday morning.

Friday, November 27, 2015
Alexis Sanchez scores Arsenal's third goal (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Arsene Wenger has praised the staying power of Alexis Sanchez and likened the Arsenal forward to a hungry lion.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...


MAC Makeup

MAC are renowned for their flawless, fabulous make up that is used worldwide by the stars. You too can have the chance to have the perfect makeup to suit your needs with £1,000 to spend on all the glam goodies you like!

Read more

You are never far from an Argos, wherever in the country you may be. They are like a magical cavern where whatever you need they seem to have it out the back behind the counter. So why not put them to the test with this great MyOffers competition to win £1000 to spend in-store.

Read more

Latest Tech News