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Can Aaron Ramsey’s Return Save Arsenal’s Season?

Ramsey ended last season brilliantly and became a key player in Arsène Wenger’s plans. He managed to maintain the momentum and was indisputably Arsenal’s best player in the first part of the season. The Welshman put in amazing performances game after game, showing how vital he was to Arsenal. He managed to total up an impressive tally of 13 goals in addition to 7 assists.

But the inevitable bad-luck among the Arsenal squad hit Ramsey and he suffered from a bad thigh injury. 4 months and two setbacks later, he made his return at Everton where Arsenal were shockingly defeated 3-nil. He played 113 minutes against Wigan and was subbed on against West Ham. He only played 18 minutes but it was enough for him to provide an incredible assist on Podolski’s second goal of the day.  

Arsenal were desperately waiting for Ramsey’s return and missed each of his qualities during his absence. After some very difficult days at the club, the fans learned to love the player again and everybody enjoys the joy he produces whenever he is on a football pitch.

Ramsey illuminated the Premier League alongside Arteta or Flamini to complete the double-pivot and impressed by his indefinite stamina. Many of us were stroke by Ramsey’s capacity to be able to press the opposition with so much desire and at the same time go forward effectively. He led the pressing and seemed to encourage the entire team to work with him.

Arsenal lost the pace they had when Ramsey was on fire until December before he got injured, he tends to always move intelligently with and without the ball. He manages to get himself in a decent position when one of his teammates is under pressure so that he can be found easily. On the contrary, the manner he drives the ball around is class.

Ramsey’s force is to know when to do something and what exactly. A few months (years) back, he received a lot of critics because he tried to do complicated things that obviously weren’t successful. But he stayed strong and his performances this season paid for his unchanged positive behaviour and he rides on the wave of confidence and very specifically knows when it’s best to make an easy pass rather than a back-heel for instance. To give some figures, Ramsey averages 85% of his passes with 64% of them going forward.

As I have penned previously, his movement off the ball is one of his main assets and therefore one of Arsenal’s. Often, when he scored earlier this season, it was because he managed to get into a good position to receive and strike the ball in the back of the net.

Another element that Arsenal miss, that is intensified whenever Ramsey is absent, is a late-runner. On numerous instances, Arsenal’s crosses don’t find a player and it is often because they lack presence in the box. Ramsey can handle the job and regularly cut a cross and score.

Personally, I would like to see Ramsey in a proper 4-3-3 display because although he deals with the defensive tasks efficiently, I feel he is still limited attacking-wise. Provided he has genuine cover behind him and the possibility of going forward even more often than he usually does, he would be absolutely unstoppable. Besides, Ramsey was impressive in the first part of the season because the entire team was thoroughly organized and full of confidence. Arteta or Flamini fulfilled the DM role and allowed Ramsey to run up the pitch easily. However, Ramsey still tracked back to provide defensive assistance and can only be praised for it.

However, he is also very efficient with the ball. He is pacy and provides good chances for his partners. Hence his 8 assists. That is to say, he reads the game brilliantly and despite not being a proper attacking midfielder, manages to be a genuine threat up front for the opposition.

Wenger said after Arsenal’s 3-1 win over West Ham “Aaron is a very important player for us and he has that power and that drive forward. He surprises you as well with his vision in the final third and he did that with the header.”

It would a bit simplistic to link Ramsey’s injury to the beginning of Arsenal’s bad form, but one can agree that the correlation is more than likely. To some extent, Arsenal trapped themselves in a “stereotyped” way of playing football and basically just pass the ball around waiting for a miracle – or an actual run from a player and that is what Ramsey can bring.

On the whole, things fell into place this season for the Welshman as he has become more than just a random useful player since he truly brings added value to the team. Of course, we should not be expecting him to regain the form he had post-injury, however, if he continues to work hard he will sooner rather than later become a world class player. Everyone at the club likes him and will do just about anything to ease his return for he is such an exceptional player that Arsenal must be proud to have.

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Tags: Arsene Wenger, Ramsey

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