Aaron Ramsey – Gunners New Enforcer
Written by @ArsenalAnish
Aaron Ramsey is now regarded as one the best box-to-box midfield players in European and perhaps even world football. One of the significant highlights of this season has been the emergence of Arsenal’s Welsh midfielder Aaron Ramsey. This has undoubtedly been the Welshmen’s best ever season of his footballing career, despite the fact he was out injured for four months of the campaign. Ramsey has come on leaps and bounds this year in terms of performance, ability and overall footballing prowess. He has now firmly placed himself as one of the first names in the team lineup due to his progression this year, and not many would argue with this. At one stage of this season, it looked as though Ramsey was spearheading Arsenal to the BPL title until an untimely injury struck at the turn of the year. Everyone affiliated with Arsenal now cannot help but feeling what ‘may have been’, if Ramsey was fit for the whole season. Despite Ramsey’s recent progression, he was not regarded as highly as he is now. Ramsey has encountered many dark times in an Arsenal shirt, and at one stage, even had some of his own fans calling for him to be sold on from Arsenal to another club. How times have changed.
Start of Arsenal Career
After a string of dazzling performances from a young age at Cardiff City, both Manchester United and Arsenal battled head to head to prize Aaron Ramsey away from the Welsh club. Ramsey opted to sign for Arsenal as he believed his style of play matches the same style as that of the North London side. He went on to make his debut for the Gunners in August 2008 and finished that season with 22 appearances. The more game time Ramsey had, the more he showcased his talent. A series of eye-catching cameos led on to league starts, which he was flourishing in, as well as edging his way to becoming a first team regular.
In February 2010, in a game against Stoke City, Ramsey suffered a career threatening injury in form of a double leg fracture. This was a huge blow for Ramsey as he was beginning to play at the high level on a regular basis after being on the periphery of the Arsenal first team. After successful rehabilitation, Ramsey recovered physically and resumed playing football once again. Ramsey didn’t start to train again until October 2010 and made his comeback in a reserve team game.
Arsenal sent Ramsey on loan to first Nottingham Forest; followed by a loan spell to former club Cardiff City so that he could gain some much needed match practice. Despite gaining months of match practice, Ramsey didn’t look the same player as he was a year previously. The psychological factor of a long term injury appeared to have a significant impact on Ramsey’s game, and it showed enormously in his performances.
Despite the passion and enthusiasm of Ramsey, the consistency of his performances on the pitch wasn’t to a standard that was expected from him. Although Ramsey played numerous games, the injury he has suffered had definitely affected him as he tended to shy away from tackles and duels regularly. His confidence was shattered. Throughout the 2011-2012 seasons, he was used by Arsenal as utility player in a wide range of positions rather than his preferred box-to-box midfield role.
This kind of form continued through to the 2012-13 season. Ramsey was however, fitter than ever before and having a lot more game time than ever before. However, in spite of playing many games, Ramsey continued in failing to deliver in games. This was not for want of trying, but more due to lack of confidence and composure.
Lack of cutting edge
On numerous occasions Ramsey would get into ideal goal-scoring or assisting positions, but he would however fail to provide a final product. Along with Arsenal’s other on-field problems at the time, these performances from Ramsey were starting to rile the Arsenal faithful. There was once a time when Ramsey was almost on the verge of moving on from Arsenal when he was reported to be signing for Fulham FC. Despite this, in addition to the other British contingent of young players signing new long term contracts at Arsenal, Ramsey signed a new long term deal in December 2012. The decision for Ramsey to be offered a new contract, due to his lack of end product, raised a few eyebrows but Ramsey soon proved his worth.
Finally got over injury
This season, was the season which finally showed Ramsey’s true potential as he re-introduced himself onto the scene. A blistering start to the year saw him bag 13 goals before Christmas. There was a new confidence and swagger in Ramsey’s game play in addition to his customary athletic nature. Not only was he providing the goals, his overall performances were second to none. Ramsey now began dictating the tempo of Arsenal’s game from the heart of midfield with his combative nature. The composer now being shown is that of an experienced player who is in their prime. He has now starting to prove the potential he showcased at Cardiff which gave him that move to Arsenal. The confidence in Ramsey’s game is there for all to see as he plays with new sense of freedom in addition to his immense quality.
All was going well for Ramsey this season until he suffered a thigh injury that ruled him out of action for four months. It was no coincidence that Arsenal’s performances began to deteriorate within that period. This was confirmed when he made his much awaited return to action in mid April, as he immediately added another dimension to Arsenal’s midfield that had been lacking from the team during his absence.
Based on this season, the future of Aaron Ramsey’s career is very bright indeed. After getting over his leg injury physically and more importantly for him, mentally, he is now fulfilling his true potential. The importance of his role in midfield was proved during his absence for Arsenal at a crucial stage of the season. He has now established himself as Arsenal’s focal point from the middle of the park on a consistent basis. The style and nature of this play, resembles that of former Gunners captain Cesc Fabregas. Fabregas, on numerous occasions, carried the Arsenal team with his influential and dominant performances from central midfield. Ramsey has now taken over this midfield maestro mantle that was left void since Fabregas’ departure, and perhaps now should be given the captaincy for Arsenal to replicate the former Gunners captain. Ramsey is already the captain for his national team and also proving the same caliber of football on the international scene, so he’s already shown that pressure of captaincy doesn’t affect his game.
All in all, things are now finally looking up for Aaron Ramsey, and with the maturity, professionalism and quality that he is now displaying, he can become one of the true midfield greats.