A concussion sustained by defensive-midfielder Mathieu Flamini during the first-half of the Gunners’ ‘Invincibles’-reminiscent 4-1 destruction of Norwich City needn’t be a gut-wrenching concern for Arsenal fans ahead of their side’s Champions League Group F clash with Borussia Dortmund.
Arsene Wenger’s charges could well be without the screen that protects their defensive modesty against the Germans, whom they are 23/20 to beat in the first leg of their upcoming double-header.
Aaron Ramsey averages three more tackles per game than Flamini in the Premier League.
While the former Milan man’s blustery style would suggest that his colleagues should be trailing in his wake when it comes to successful opposition ball robberies, he’s actually only fifth in their league average tackle count.
Ramsey has been similarly shouldering the burden in Europe, winning the ball a mean of 1.5 times per game more than Flamini.
Mikel Arteta pulled off a game-high six dispossessions against West Brom two games back.
It’s not only the Welshman who has proved capable of wrestling back possession from Arsenal’s opposition when charged with the duty this term.
Arteta most definitely will have surprised a few people with an unexpectedly tackle-heavy performance at the Hawthorns in a game in which Arsenal underperformed for long periods.
Mesut Ozil’s arrival has galvanised the Gunners at least as much as Flamini’s return.
It could be quite rightly argued that positive effects of the prodigal gooner’s re-employment cannot be measured in tackles alone, with his passion and belligerence adding to Arsenal’s reserves of mental strength.
However, the unexpected arrival of the German superstar has been credited with motivating everyone at the club to up their performance levels.
Furthermore Ramsey is also capable of offering leadership on the pitch and clearly has an aptitude for the task, having been handed the captain’s armband by Chris Coleman at international level.