Disciplined Ramsey essential to Arsenal recovering from slow start to the season

Sunday saw Arsenal produce their most convincing away performance against a top six rival since beating Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium in 2015 and one key adjective summarised the display – disciplined.

Indeed, far from the shambolic scenes seen at Anfield before the international break, when the Gunners were ripped apart by Liverpool in a 4-0 humiliation, Arsenal were resilient, organised and carried out their game-plan perfectly at Stamford Bridge – cancelling out a Chelsea attack that had scored eight goals in four games prior to the weekend.

And no individual epitomised that vast improvement better than Aaron Ramsey, who was roundly criticised for his lack of positional discipline against Liverpool as he continually vacated the midfield to push further forward – something his engine room partner Granit Xhaka was also guilty of.

The Wales international still looked to get forward against the Blues and came the closest of any player to breaking the deadlock in an eventual scoreless draw, marauding through the Chelsea defence before seeing his effort at goal clip the post.

But the instrumental difference was how Ramsey chose his moments to break from the midfield and the discipline he showed off the ball, best highlighted by his three tackles, three interceptions and perhaps most significantly his two blocks. Just to put that into some perspective, the 26-year-old made only three blocks in the Premier League throughout the entirety of last season.

The result and the performance showed that Arsenal can recover from their slow start to the season and are capable of matching their top six rivals on the road by putting in the kind of display we’ve not come to expect from them in recent years.

Crucial to that, however, especially if they’re to continue playing with a two-man midfield in a 3-4-3 setup, is Ramsey maintaining that level of discipline while taking his chances going forward. That role as the more offensive central midfielder can be vital in setting the tone for the rest of the team.