Aaron Ramsey: From Arsenal Scapegoat to World Beater
Aaron Ramsey is a vital part of the Arsenal team as they look to win back the Premiership title for the first time in 12 years, but he wasn’t always seen as such a big player for the club. Just a few years ago he was really struggling for form and was feeling the full brunt of supporters’ anger as they started to run out of patience with the Welsh star.
Ramsey joined from Championship club Cardiff City on June 10th 2008 for £4.8 Million at the tender age of 17. The Welshman had a good first season for the Gunners, making his debut on August 13th in the Champions League 3rd Qualifying round match against FC Twente. Ramsey made 22 appearances in his debut season, netting 1 goal against Fenerbahce in a 5-2 Group Stage win to become the fifth youngest Champions League scorer.
The midfield ace continued to get rave reviews, but his career turned sour on 27th February 2010 as a challenge from Stoke City’s Ryan Shawcross led to a broken tibia and fibula in his right leg. This ruled Ramsey out until the end of November, and he was sent to Nottingham Forest and Cardiff City in the hope that he would regain his fitness and get back to where he was. These loan deals didn’t look to be working, with the youngster massively out of form and on the verge of the scrapheap before an incredible turnaround from the start of the 2013/14 season.
Since then he has scored a brilliant 26 goals in 75 appearances, despite picking up a few injuries last season. Whilst his goal tally is very good for a midfielder, it is his overall performance that has impressed the majority of pundits, with his vision and energy particularly standing out. There are many reasons for this turnaround in form and I will be talking about the factors that I believe have caused it.
The first reason is perhaps the most obvious reason and that is the players that he has around him in the Arsenal team. If you can’t play well with the likes of Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla and Alexis Sanchez then you are going to be discarded, especially by a big club like Arsenal. It is no coincidence that the upturn in his form has come around since the arrival of these World Class stars, as he links up brilliantly with them in a very competent midfield. Ozil may have struggled for form since his big move to Arsenal, but there is no doubting that his vision is unrivalled, and this has led to many chances for Ramsey and the Welshman has obliged by bagging goals for fun. Cazorla has been key to Arsenal since his move from Malaga 3 years ago and his movement and vision is incredible and this has led to lots of Arsenal attacks.
Alexis Sanchez joined the club last season and he causes problems to any defence and this causes gaps to appear for Ramsey, Cazorla and Ozil to get into and claim assists or score themselves.
This next reason is the most important one in my opinion, and that is Olivier Giroud. The Frenchman is arguably one of the most underrated players in the Premiership, but without him Arsenal would be nowhere near as good going forward as they are. Yes he is frustrating and he misses too many chances, but his link up play is incredible and his touch is just mesmerising. Aaron Ramsey knows that whenever the big striker picks up the ball, if he makes the right run he will be away behind the defence.
The one touch interchange on the edge of the area, led by Giroud is also a big factor as it gives Cazorla, Ozil and Ramsey the chance to pass and move into the hole, knowing that Giroud’s flick will reach them most of the time. The Frenchman is also a big presence in the box and is good in the air, which means he opens up space for others to come in unmarked and can also pick them out with a header down into the right areas.
Moreover the late Gary Speed is a key factor in Aaron Ramsey’s development. His main contribution to Ramsey was during his reign as Wales manager, showing his confidence in him by making Ramsey the youngest captain in Welsh history. He was very understanding after the leg break that Ramsey suffered and gave him the support he needed, and without Speed I’m not sure Ramsey would have come back strongly from the injury.
Gary Speed’s death shocked the whole footballing world, but especially the Welsh and it was Aaron Ramsey who seemed to be hit the hardest. He had lost his mentor and a very good friend and this could well have led to Ramsey’s struggles, as he lost form and confidence. He is now playing his best ever football and is honouring the memory of Speed and repaying the faith shown in him by the tragic former Wales legend.
The final factor is current Wales Manager Chris Coleman. His appointment as Wales manager has led to an amazing up rise in form for the small nation, as they have risen from 111th 4 years ago to 9th place in the rankings, rising above England for the first time ever. Some will say that Wales rise is completely down to Gareth Bale, but I completely disagree, he has struggled to reach the highs that he achieved at Tottenham and in his first season in Madrid on the International stage.
Coleman has got every player playing beyond themselves, including Liverpool’s Joe Allen and they have become a brilliant team as they work well as a unit. Coleman’s most inspired move was the decision to take away the captaincy from Aaron Ramsey in order to take the pressure off him and let his concentrate on himself and getting his form back. To say that decision has paid off is a major understatement, with Ramsey in the form of his life without the added pressure of leadership and I do believe that in the future he will regain the Captains’ armband and be a success in the role.
I conclude that Ramsey’s rise to stardom has been influenced by many different factors, but the main factor is Arsenal teammate Olivier Giroud. I do believe Ramsey will even exceed his brilliant standards and become a player who can rival Eden Hazard as the best player in the Premiership, but it all depends on whether Giroud stays at the club. The next step for the Welshman in to finally reproduce his Arsenal form on the International stage, starting with Euro 2016 in France, as he continues to do the late Gary Speed proud and honour his memory.