The furious spinning of Arsenal’s revolving physio room door is starting to subside, giving Arsene Wenger a serious selection headache in midfield when the mountainous numbers of middle men return to full fitness. But just how should the 16/1 Champions League shots set up their middle section?
Statistically, Ramsey contributes more than Wilshere
The battle for the box-to-box role is won hands down by Aaron Ramsey over Jack Wilshere. No midfielder has made more tackles than Ramsey has per game this season, while his four goals is also the league-standard for centre-circle dwellers.
Wilshere, on the other hand, makes less than one tackle and one interception a game while failing to assist a single goal so far this season, despite being a supposed creative force. The fact that his strike against West Brom was his first in 54 league games proves he’s also an inferior goal threat.
Mathieu Flamini is Ramsey’s obvious anchorman partner, having made 2.2 tackles per league game so far and 1.4 interceptions a match. He beats Mikel Arteta into a backup role, whose 2.7 tackles per game are severely let down by his measly 0.7 interceptions.
Podolski and Walcott’s duel threat helps them win wing battle
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a more direct winger than his fellow ex-Saint Theo Walcott, attempting four successful dribbles per game against Walcott’s one. However, it is the elder statesman’s ability to both score and provide goals that gives him the edge.
Walcott either scored or assisted 24 of Arsenal’s goals last season, while the same argument gives German Lukas Podolski – 20 goals contributed last season – the nod over Tomas Rosicky, who only managed to match that figure when his tallies for goals and assists are combined for the past four seasons.
Ozil a shoo-in for number 10 role
A £44m outlay on German lock-picker Mesut Ozil means Wenger won’t willingly dump him out of the starting lineup any time soon. It’s just as well then that the majestic midfielder has already set up his teammates four times this season.
His chemistry with compatriot Podolski also gives him an advantage to edge out Santi Cazorla’s bid to play in behind Olivier Giroud. Cazorla is scoreless in 11 games and his absence essentially brought Ozil to the club in the first place.