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Aaron Ramsey: From Arsenal Scapegoat to World Beater

The Boot Room

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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.

The Boot Room is a football analysis website, bringing original and creative content to the fans of the English Football League.

Arsenal

Eye-catching performance from Aleksandr Golovin shows why Arsenal were interested

The 22-year-old impressed in Russia’s World Cup opener.

Jake Jackman

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Aleksandr Golovin
Photo: Getty Images

The World Cup has kicked off and the host nation Russia have got their campaign off to the perfect start.

There were doubts about their quality and they will persist, but they managed to convincingly beat Saudi Arabia 5-0.

Although it won’t be their toughest test, it will give the squad confidence and they will now to be a more difficult proposition in their remaining group matches.

Alan Dzagoev has been the star player for Russia in recent years, but he suffered an injury in the first-half and that provided a platform for the next big hope of the nation to star.

Aleksandr Golovin has previously been linked with the likes of Arsenal in the past and he showed why he is highly regarded with a man-of-the-match performance against Saudi Arabia.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

The 22-year-old looked a cut above on the pitch and was the player that the world was talking about when the match ended. He contributed a goal and two assists in an all-action midfield display.

Every time he got onto the ball, he looked comfortable and wanted to play positive passes to move Russia up the pitch. It would have been easy for Golovin to hide, but he stepped up and at his age, that should be praised.

During the match, he made five key passes underlining the creativity that he offered on the pitch.

His pass success rate of 71% is a little disappointing considering the quality of the opposition, but it does show that he was looking to be positive when he had the ball. Golovin will be looking to be less wasteful with possession in the final two group games.

His free-kick goal was nicely struck, but a better goalkeeper would have been able to stop it from going in. The goal and two assists will take the headlines, but Golovin’s work rate and tenacity stood out on Thursday. The 22-year-old midfielder won four tackles and made a further three interceptions.

(Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

It is becoming more important for midfielders to be able to thrive in both halves of the pitch and the Russian international showed that he can.

It is too soon to get too excited about Golovin, as the opposition were weak. Saudi Arabia didn’t offer much in possession and often overplayed when they had the ball.

Despite Russia being considered one of the weaker nations, they were far superior to their Group A opposition and a better assessment of the midfielder can be made during the next two group games.

That said, Golovin caught the attention on Thursday and clubs that have previously registered an interest will have taken notice. Arsenal are one of those clubs and they are undergoing a period of transition under Unai Emery.

If the Russian midfielder can deliver similar performances against Egypt and Uruguay, the interest in him will quickly pick up. He will be the main man for the hosts over the next couple of weeks and if he does the business, the Gunners could be ready to reignite their interest.

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Arsenal

Arsenal fans call for Aleksandr Golovin signing after dazzling World Cup display

Arsenal fans are calling for an impulse signing after the World Cup opener yesterday.

Jamie Watts

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Arsenal already possess any array of creative forwards, but Gooners are extremely keen on CSKA Moscow maestro Aleksandr Golovin, after seeing the midfielder dazzle in Russia’s World Cup debut againt Saudi Arabia yesterday evening.

The 22-year-old already had links to north London spanning back to January (the Sun), with Arsene Wenger revealing his admiration for the player’s talent ahead of the Europa League quarter-final clash against the Russian heavyweights in March.

And Golovin highlighted his obvious ability last night, as Russia routed Saudi Arabia 5-1 in Moscow, creating two goals for teammates, before rounding an impressive display off with a sumptuous free-kick in added time.

Photo: Getty Images

His vision and technical ability led the hosts to a comfortable victory, with a superbly placed cross finding Denis Cheryshev in the box to open the scoring in the 12th minute. Before he again showed his class to pick-out Artem Dzyuba with a floated cross, which the striker converted comfortably 20 minutes from time.

And Arsenal fans have taken to Twitter to demand that Unai Emery should re-ignite interest in the player this summer.

Here’s the reaction:

Arsenal’s recent focus has been on landing Sampdoria’s industrious midfielder Lucas Torreira, as the manager looks to add balance to the team, according to the Guardian. 

But it seems fans want Emery to keep a close eye on the World Cup this summer, as it has become something of a shop window in recent years. And Golovin could earn himself a high-profile move if he continues performing at such a high level.

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Everton should prioritise landing Borussia Dortmund star Mario Gotze

Marco Silva should go all out to make this deal happen.

Jamie Watts

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Marco Silva is aiming to make a statement of intent in the market this summer, as Everton owner Farhad Moshiri targets a return to European football in the near future. And the club has now been linked with a sensational move for Borussia Dortmund maestro Mario Gotze, according to Sky Sports.

The 2014 World Cup Golden Boy has struggled to nail down a regular starting position, since returning to Dortmund from Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich in 2016. And is struggling to get back to the form that saw him widely recognised as one of the finest play-makers in world football.

However, despite his modest return of two goals and seven assists in 32 appearances, he began showing glimpses of his best form for the Bundesliga giants, and if Marco Silva can bring the best out of him, he could instantly elevate Everton to higher levels next season.

Photo: Getty Images

Toffees fans bemoaned the pragmatic style of football under Sam Allardyce last term, having finished 19th for number of shots registered, shots on target and chances created in England’s top tier, highlighting the need for creative players this summer and Gotze certainly fits the bracket.

However, the player has garnered a reputation for being injury prone in recent years – having missed 13 games last season (tranfermarkt) – and the investment would be something of a risk for the Portuguese manager.

Photo: Getty Images

If Everton are to return to European football, Gotze is the calibre of player that needs to be targeted though, and he is certainly worth the risk. The 26-year-old was arguably the most influential player in Dortmund’s recent ascendancy, alongside Marco Reus, as the club won back-to-back Bundesliga titles and the DFB Cup in 2012 – ironically under the tenure of the now Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

Gotze has two years remaining on his contract at the Westfalenstadion and will likely cost  a hefty price, having returned to Dortmund for around £22 million in his last move.

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