Weekend Analysis

Aaron Ramsey was a surprise inclusion for Arsenal at Manchester City but played a pivotal role in their impressive performance. While at Swansea, there were signs of bad habits creeping in as they were beaten by Everton. Adam Bate looks at the key stats from the weekend

Aaron Ramsey: Provided control from a wide position against Manchester City

Alan Tate: Unhappy with the protection given to Swansea's defence against Everton

Ramsey gives Arsenal control

The selection of Aaron Ramsey in a wide-right role for Arsenal on Sunday was perceived by some as a negative move for the trip to face Premier League champions Manchester City. But while the Wales captain does not possess the speed, or pose the same direct threat as Theo Walcott, his inclusion gave Arsene Wenger the control he wanted at the Etihad Stadium.

"We were in danger a few times on the counter-attack but overall we were solid," said Wenger after the game. "We are a bit frustrated because we feel we had the chances early on and late in the game. But you can see that we are a team and we are a strong team." Strong and solid - those were the qualities that Ramsey's astute use of the ball helped give the away side at the weekend.

"We are a bit frustrated because we feel we had the chances early on and late in the game. But you can see that we are a team and we are a strong team."

Arsene Wenger

Quotes of the week

Remarkably for a player taking a wide-midfield berth as his starting position, Ramsey received the ball 64 times in the first 72 minutes - at which point Walcott was introduced and he reverted to a central role. The 21-year-old was constantly looking for the ball into his feet and used the ball effectively, completing 58 of his 62 attempted passes from that position - one of which should have brought the opener but for poor control from Gervinho.

In contrast, Walcott played the role very differently. He received the ball only six times in the final 20 minutes of the game and completed just three passes. Of course, the England man's strengths lie elsewhere and the Gunners actually equalised during that period.

But Ramsey's narrow interpretation of the right-sided role allowed Arsenal to more than hold their own in Manchester - completing 561 passes. That is over 200 more than their hosts on the day and 50 more than any team has managed against Roberto Mancini's side in the past two Premier League seasons.

Completed passes at City in PL since Aug 2011
Team NameDatePasses
ArsenalSep 23 2012561
LiverpoolJan 3 2012511
FulhamFeb 4 2012505
SwanseaAug 15 2011486
ArsenalDec 18 2011377
TottenhamJan 22 2012371
WolvesOct 29 2011369
QPRSep 1 2012345
WiganSep 10 2011329
Man UtdApr 30 2012321
SouthamptonAug 19 2012309
West BromApr 11 2012299
ChelseaMar 21 2012290
Aston VillaOct 15 2011277
EvertonSep 24 2011258
NewcastleNov 19 2011245
BoltonMar 3 2012235
SunderlandMar 31 2012215
NorwichDec 3 2011210
StokeDec 3 2011203
BlackburnFeb 25 2012147
QPRMay 13 201286


Slack Swansea pay price

"The only time we rest is when we have the ball," said Brendan Rodgers of his Swansea team last season. "When we haven't got the ball is the moment for intense pressure to get the ball back."

Rodgers' insistence on the importance of pressing was at the heart of Swansea's formula for success last season. It was the platform from which Michael Laudrup has been able to build an impressive beginning to his tenure as Swans boss.

The Dane has been rightly praised for the quality he has added to the squad in the summer with high-calibre players such as Michu and Pablo Hernandez arriving. But after two games in which they have conceded five goals without reply, some of the sheen has been taken off their start. And the problem appears to be that they have briefly forgotten these core principles.

"We have gone away from the team aspect which made us good last season. We need to get back to playing as a team otherwise we're going to struggle like that every week."

Alan Tate

Quotes of the week

Alan Tate was scathing in his criticism of the forward players in Saturday's 3-0 defeat at home by Everton. "It was disappointing but that's what happens if you play as a group of individuals rather than a team," was the damning indictment from the experienced defender.

"We have gone away from the team aspect which made us good last season. We need to get back to playing as a team otherwise we're going to struggle like that every week. The new players have trained with us so they know what is being asked of them. But if people are going to play individually we may as well pack up.

"Defensively we tried to do it on our own. We were more concerned with scoring goals than we were about stopping them at the other end. We were gung-ho, really. Everyone was going forwards, leaving the back four to defend by themselves."

Not only have the Swansea back-four been stripped of the protection offered by Joe Allen but erstwhile midfield partner Leon Britton was left out of the starting line-up for the visit of David Moyes' in-form side. The result of that lack of pressure on the ball was that the Toffees had more attempts at goal (31) than any team ever to visit the Liberty Stadium in the Premier League.

Attempts against Swansea (a) in PL
Team NameDateAttempts
EvertonSep 22 201231
Man CityMar 11 201222
ChelseaJan 31 201219
ArsenalJan 15 201218
WolvesApr 28 201217
NorwichFeb 11 201216
West BromSep 17 201115
EvertonMar 24 201215
QPRDec 27 201114
Man UtdNov 19 201113
FulhamDec 10 201113
LiverpoolMay 13 201213
WiganAug 27 201112
Aston VillaNov 27 201112
StokeOct 2 201111
SunderlandAug 10 201110
TottenhamDec 31 201110
West HamAug 25 20129
BoltonOct 29 20118
BlackburnApr 14 20128
NewcastleApr 6 20125
SunderlandSep 1 20124