Aaron Ramsey and Arsene Wenger - Best midfielder and manager in England

Where Has My Aaron Ramsey Gone?

Aaron Ramsey and Arsene Wenger - Best midfielder and manager in England
Are we cool or what? | Photo Credits – Action Images for Daily Mail

I’ve written a very “critical” article on Aaron Ramsey before so I’m not going to try to behave like I’ve loved him all along.

Now critical doesn’t mean what I said wasn’t true, a lot of it was true. I gave him the usual 1% opportunity to succeed but I’m shocked to my bones right now. There was a time I looked on with trepidation when I saw Ramsey’s name on the team sheet, now when his name isn’t there, I panic.

Let me pay my respects to Wenger for hanging in on this guy. The pressure was there to drop him but he kept playing him, even when there was no space in the first team, he would create a space for him to play. I remember Ramsey played left-wing, right-wing, attacking midfielder, central midfielder, Defensive mid-fielder, right-back. Wenger was looking like a moron at some point but, just look at what he’s done!

To add salt to injury, at the height of the calamity being attributed to Ramsey, he handed him a new 5-year contract. Not 1-year, not 2 years, 5 years!! I was awed and almost sure he had made a certain mistake; look who’s laughing now.

Over to Rambo…

Credit to him, he’s worked himself hard into the ground. Even some of his team-mates were not so fond of him, none less than ex-captain, Robin van Persie. Whispers from twitter say both players got into a scuffle or rather, a fight, which got them to the floor as Ramsey missed the opportunity to double Arsenal’s lead when they beat City 1-0 late into the 2011/12 season. It was easier to pass to RvP or Chamberlain who were on hand but he took the responsibility and missed. Ramsey admitted on his twitter page he got some stick for his miss; “some stick” was actually “big stick”.

However, if that story is true, I wonder what RvP is thinking now.

Before this season started, there were rumours that Everton would give Arsenal Fellaini in a deal containing Ramsey on loan, Wenger reportedly past it up. If that story has any element of truth, that was an inspired decision because, at the time, a number of Arsenal fans (which includes me) would have considered it and gone ahead with it if we were in the manager’s shoes.

Ramsey has worked hard. Word has it that he stays behind in training to improve and now we can see the results.

So, what really happened to Ramsey?

A Change of Mentality

Wenger recently said Ramsey took 3 years to overcome that horrific leg-break from the “good-for-nothing” footballer Shawcross.

The truth is, Ramsey has always been strong mentally, whether we noticed it or not is matter of personal conviction. Even when he was getting stick, he never hid, he never stopped trying, he never stopped shooting, and he never stopped making himself available for passes.

Keeping it Simple

My major grouse with Ramsey was the way he always slept on the ball; he loved to hold it for way too long, he tried unnecessary dribbles and lost the ball frequently therefore putting the team under pressure.

The inability to make the simple pass was lacking because frankly, he lacked the technical qualities at the time to keep the ball a la Arteta for a long time. However at the moment, when he is dilly-dallying on the ball, I feel more confident that he will eventually make the right decision and the right pass too.

The Right Template to Follow

When Fabregas left Arsenal, he said that Ramsey and Wilshere were great players and they would step up to fill in his shoes. A lot felt Ramsey would replace Cesc including Wenger as he loved starting him in the attacking mid-field position. But in 2011/12, he got a meagre 4 assists, he also struggled for form and didn’t look like that player who could keep his head up and find that killer pass (Although I remember this sumptuous overhead ball he gave to Gervinho against Stoke City in a 3-1 win at the Emirates).

I felt that in the long run, delivering assists consistently would be a bit of a problem for the Welsh man.

However, with the purchase of Arteta, the right template that Ramsey would follow was found; it was a matter of if Wenger would discover that this was the template and if Ramsey would deliver and take to this template.

He did.

Arteta’s game is based on the metronome principle – keep the game ticking and become the connection between attack and defence.

Arteta had experience as an attacking mid-fielder in Everton and had even played on the wings but when he came to Arsenal, there was a change of role; he was moved a Xavi-esque or Pirlo-esque role. Spraying passes and moving around, he played in front of a DM in theory in his first season. I say ‘In theory’ because Song was relentless moving forward and always left holes at the back, so even in that he was stifled as he had to track back.

Arteta’s importance in that season was obvious when Arsenal won only one game without him in the league in a 38-game season where Arsenal lost 10 games. That quality was what made Wenger believe that he didn’t need a DM in 2012/13 and that was the decision that provided Ramsey with the opportunity to flourish.

Ramsey had a midfield partner who would “take care of him” on the pitch, someone who watched his back. Ramsey did not hide this when he said after his best game (in my opinion) last season against West-ham (5-1) that Arteta (who missed the game) sneaked behind him and said that he played like Makelele. Their partnership towards the end of 2012-13 formed the basis for a remarkable to turn around to pip Sp*rs for that final Champions league spot. They worked for each other and were sometimes a bit telepathic; they were strong together.

Hard Work

You can’t deny the fact that Ramsey works hard. It was easier to give in and agree he wasn’t good enough. It was easier to complain that he was being played out of position all those times Wenger was moving him around in the team however, now, it is hard to think for any other mid-fielder who is scoring this frequently in Europe and performing this consistent except you consider Isco.

Arsene has struck gold once again with a player and this time he is in a position of strength as he doesn’t have to run helter-skelter in order to offer him a new contract to tie him down at the club as he had played the contract card early.

Also another rumour says that Mr. Ramsey extended his contract but didn’t get a pay raise. Now if that’s true, it would put his current weekly earnings at £50k-£60k p/w, at least £20k less than Wilshere. Wow! We have one of the best young talents in the league for pittance. I did criticize Ramsey but I am desperate to see him achieve even more success than he has already achieved this season.

Also the Welsh seem to have players who have a history of problems but who work hard and rise above these difficulties. Bale had a tight hamstring problem which prevented him from stretching extensively especially when running. At a point Sp*rs wanted to let him go for around £3m-£5m but he joined Madrid for £86m 3 years later after a string of impressive performances.

Of course I’m not hoping Madrid or Barcelona come to poach Ramsey, but he also had his difficulty which was much worse. Patience and faith from Wenger has paid off. Wenger was quoted saying in 2012, “when he starts scoring he won’t stop”, but even he has admitted that he didn’t expect it to be this regular.

Wilshere is also having his hard and difficult period and I hope that Ramsey’s example will serve as the beacon of hope for him to keep working hard.

Thumbs up Aaron, you deserve all the plaudits coming your way. I f you continue like this till January, it would be hard to look beyond you for the PFA (young) player of the year.

For me, I say, “Ramsey for Balon d’Or”.


You can follow me on twitter at @chukxoka4


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