Who’s The Better Arsenal Player? Aaron Ramsey Versus Jack Wilshere

I’ve been an Arsenal fan for 20 years this year, and often a very cynical one.

This season, however, I’ve been genuinely enthused by Aaron Ramsey – a midfielder who, after a horrific injury in 2010, is coming back to the form that he was approaching before the injury.

However, as Ramsey’s star has shone brighter, one of the great hopes for Arsenal, Jack Wilshere, is on a downward trajectory, unable to keep up with Ramsey.

After talking to a friend of mine, I decided to look at both players, and see what the data shows.

Some facts:

Player Name Aaron Ramsey Jack Wilshere
Squad Number 16 10
Position Midfielder Midfielder
Age 22 21
Date of Birth Dec 26, 1990 Jan 1, 1992
Place of Birth Caerphilly, Wales Stevenage, England
Height 1.78m 1.72m
Weight 70kg 68kg

Running from the 2008/09 season (when Ramsay transferred to Arsenal from Cardiff City and Wilshere broke through the Arsenal youth ranks) to this year, the visualisation shows the total games played (starting and coming on as substitute), total goals, total assists and total goal attempts, by each. I have decided NOT to include Ramsey’s Cardiff statistics, as he played a handful of games in the League Cup and FA Cup for them, but nothing else, so I feel these are not relevant to this analysis.

The data can be filtered by competition and by season.

Some top-level observations:

  • Due to injury, Ramsey missed the bulk of the 2010/11 season, while Wilshere missed the whole 2011/12 season
  • In the comparable seasons before injury (2008/09 and 2009/10), Wilshere’s lack of playing time makes accurate comparison difficult. In 2008/09, Wilshere kept pace with goals, but was behind in assists and shots, and dropped off in the 2009/10 season
  • The only truly comparable seasons are 2012/13 and 2013/14. Wilshere edged the 2012/13 season, with the same number of goals, and more assists. However, this season, Wilshere has really dropped off the pace, as Ramsey leads the way with both goals and assists by quite some way
  • When it comes to the “important” competitions (the Premier League and the Champion’s League), Ramsey forges ahead on goals (with Wilshere only scoring more the season Ramsey was badly injured), shots on target (again, with Wilshere only shooting more in Ramsey’s injury season) and edges assists most seasons.

Data source: http://espnfc.com/player/_/id/98681/aaron-ramsey?cc=5739, http://espnfc.com/player/_/id/122089/jack-wilshere?cc=5739.

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