WTTGT Writer: Ben Walshe
The Welsh midfield general has been a victim of a lot of criticism in the early stages of this season. With no marquee signing to replace Cesc Fabregas, Ramsey was given the unfortunate burden of the expectation to emulate Cesc. Cesc is a special player, and a year of Aaron’s development was cut out by that horrific leg-break. The injury came at the worst time possible, as he was just starting to impose himself on the starting eleven.
Anyway, as a result of the sensationalist media combined with the fickle nature of football fans, Ramsey surely must have been feeling the heat, and was heavily criticised early on for some subpar performances, and an especially poor game against Tottenham. Immediately he was written off.
A quick scan across the online Gooner community would have shown you so many people slating Ramsey, saying he is not good enough for the Gunners. However, his performances in recent weeks, and particularly against Chelsea, fully vindicated Arsene Wenger’s faith in him, and Ramsey has really shown us what a huge talent he is. I myself previously said he should be dropped to the bench and be replaced by Coquelin while pushing Arteta further forward. I am now officially putting my hand up and saying I was wrong, and we can all thank our lucky stars I’m not Arsenal manager, because Aaron’s recent performances have been nothing short of outstanding. Those saying he lacks creativity (which I admit I have said a few times) will have felt rather foolish after his assist for Gervinho against Stoke. It was an absolutely outstanding piece of vision; a sublime chip which was, dare I say it, reminiscent of a certain Cesc Fabregas.
Ramsey is certainly showing himself to be an effective player in the final 3rd, similarly to our former captain, as in the Premier League he has notched up four assists and a goal, as well as that late winner in Europe against Marseille. Unlike Fabregas however, Ramsey is an important asset defensively as well, and works his socks off for the whole 90 minutes. Upon examining the statistics after the match, nine times out of ten Aaron Ramsey has covered more distance than any other player on the pitch, a trend which he maintained against the Blues on Saturday.
Alongside the experienced heads of Alex Song and particularly Mikel Arteta, Ramsey is learning and developing into a top central midfielder, a complete player. He can score goals, get assists, apply defensive pressure and even beat his man on occasion, his turn in the box made Cashley Cole look ridiculous, and was a lovely piece of skill. He also provided an excellent through-ball for Gervinho, who laid it off for the talismanic Robin van Persie for our first goal. It was again a great piece of vision, and he seems to be performing an understanding with the dangerous Gervinho. This match against Chelsea was arguably Aaron’s best performance in an Arsenal shirt, and this could well be his season. This is his chance to prove his talent, to repay Arsene Wenger’s faith in him and to fulfill his immense potential.
The thought Ramsey alongside Wilshere is mouth watering, and if Ramsey continues to work hard and fight in that central midfield it could be a partnership we’ll see for many years to come. Van Persie will receive the plaudits for his hat trick, and rightly so, but personally Ramsey’s performance was the most pleasing for me. We saw everything good in his game, and I can see him picking up many more assists as the season progresses and Arsenal continue to improve. He is reminding us all why we were so excited when he signed for us, and I have no doubt he is a great purchase by Wenger.
The team as it stands now is a perfect platform for Ramsey. Although lacking the extreme talents of Cesc Fabregas and, to a lesser extent, Samir Nasri, it is plain to see they are more of a team now. Every player fights for each other, and the purchase or Mikel Arteta along with Laurent Koscielny and Alex Song impressing and being a permanent fixture on the team list will provide Ramsey with a good education.
It won’t be easy. It will be anything but easy. He is learning how to fight hard for the whole 90 minutes, at the moment there is no such thing as an easy game for the Gunners, which means everyone has to be extremely focused at all times, rather than cruising along like a certain incredibly wealthy Manchester club. Of course I would rather be in their position, don’t get me wrong, but the current situation offers a more challenging, and as a result more rewarding environment for a player to establish himself in the Premier League, and Aaron is certainly thriving in these conditions.
You must also consider the injury he received at the hands (or the feet I suppose) of Ryan Shawcross. The significance of this cannot be discounted, it was a potentially career ending injury. We saw how Eduardo’s career at Arsenal petered out after a similar injury. But Ramsey battled, and had the mental and physical strength and application to pull through and make a successful return to first team football at our wonderful club, further proof of his fighting qualities.
It is important however, that we do not look at him in comparison to Cesc. He is not Cesc. No one is really. Ramsey is Ramsey, and we should judge his performances based on that. Compare certain moments to Cesc, sure. Ramsey is developing that killer pass in the final third that can cut open a defence, much like our former captain. But Cesc was a unique talent. He was different to Ramsey. Ramsey is already a far more complete player than Cesc, and as he continues under the tutelage of the man I love Arsene Wenger, I am positive we will see him develop into one of the best midfielders in the league. Aaron, I’m sorry I ever doubted you. Well played mate, keep it up. Your passion and drive is an inspiration to us all.
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