Earlier this week, there were some rumors floating around that Fulham were interested in getting Aaron Ramsey this summer. At first I thought this must be a joke as Wenger would not give up on the Welshman too early in his career.
But as I went on my twitter, I saw many tweets from Arsenal supporters saying Arsenal should sell Ramsey because he’s not good enough for Arsenal. As a big fan of the Welsh midfielder, I was completely surprised at some of the reactions. It seemed as if a bad run of form has left many supporters angry at Ramsey and as a result, they believe that it is best that he leaves. It surprised me that many have lost faith in Ramsey that quickly but there’s only one thing to blame for this unfortunate situation:
Aaron Ramsey is a victim of his own success. (this will all make sense in a bit)
Ever since he preferred to go to Arsenal over the likes of Manchester United, Aaron Ramsey was destined to stardom under the managing of the great Arsene Wenger. When he joined the club, Arsene Wenger described the Welsh teenager as “a player with a fantastic engine, good build, good technique, and good vision.” It wouldn’t take long for Ramsey to make an impression on the Arsenal supporters. Ramsey appeared in only a handful of appearances in his first season at the club, but it was enough for the Arsenal supporters to know they had something special at the club with Aaron Ramsey. We were able to witness the young midfielder create beautiful chances for his teammates and delivered a number of assists in his first season in top-flight football.
It was his second season that Ramsey showed he was truly capable of. He was finally getting a good run of games and was performing at a high level. He put in spectacular performances throughout the beginning of the 2009-10 campaign. Even Cesc Fabregas stated that he feared Ramsey would one day overtake him in the starting XI. Ramsey’s stellar performance against Portsmouth was all that was needed to prove Fabregas right.
Ramsey was on the verge of cementing a spot in the starting XI. The future was bright for the midfielder before his horrific injury at Stoke City that every Arsenal supporter will remember.
Aaron Ramsey’s football career was in doubt after suffering a double-leg break from a clumsy tackle from Ryan Shawcross. Many thought he would not be able to return to the pitch. It took almost a year of hard work and rehab before we would see Rambo in the Arsenal colors again, which happened to be against Manchester United in the FA Cup. Ramsey’s return was the only bright spot to the end of the Arsenal season after that monumental collapse that left all us Gooners speechless. Aaron Ramsey would get his feel-good moment when he scored the only goal in a 1-0 win against Man United. He was finally back, which had many supporters excited for the future once again.
Enter the 2011 summer transfer window saga
After losing the likes of Cesc Fabregas to his boyhood club Barcelona, Samir Nasri (traitor) was the next to go for the dirty-oil money that was waiting for him at Manchester City. Both departures left a tremendous amount of responsibility on both Aaron Ramsey and midfield counterpart Jack Wilshere. But wait, there’s more: Wilshere was ruled out for most of the season (eventually all season) with a recurring ankle problem which required surgery. And don’t get me started with Diaby. That left all Arsenal supporters’ hopes in Aaron Ramsey to be the new man to take the so-called “Cesc” role after only recovering from a long-term injury as well.
So the season began, and well, it wasn’t that pretty. Arsenal lacked any midfield presence except for Ramsey and Song. But once Wenger brought in the likes of Mikel Arteta to be the anchor of the midfield, which really helped Ramsey blossom in the first half of the season. Ramsey started to find his form and came up big for us. His performance against Chelsea, in my opinion, is the best performance by an Arsenal midfielder last season. It was all looking good for the red side of North London as Ramsey was coming into his own.
But another tragedy would occur to the young Welsh midfielder. On November 27, 2011, the football world would suffer the loss of Gary Speed. This had a huge effect on young Ramsey as he was very close to Speed. And by watching his play, it was obvious that it affected him immensely.
And as Ramsey failed to regain form, some Arsenal supporters began to lose their faith in him, which had them judge on every mistake he made and berate him at any given moment. People on twitter were even sending death threats to Ramsey because oh his poor play. Let’s say that Ramsey must have been relieved when the season came to an end.
Arsenal supporters expected too much out of Ramsey in his first season back. And because he underperformed, a few want him out of the club. But it’s important for every gooner to realize there were many factors that affected Ramsey’s play. People have overlooked the fact that Ramsey was arguably one of Arsenal’s best players for the first half of the season. Many forget how big a part he was to Arsenal’s success in the beginning of the season. He provided many assists and key passes that led to numerous Arsenal goals and he also scored timely goals for Arsenal like the last-minute winner against Marseille. Ramsey was statistically one of Arsenal most efficient players last season and was second in the team in created chances in all competitions.
Here are a couple of factors I believe that contributed Ramsey for his so-called “bad season”:
Factor 1: Return from injury and overplayed
It comes to no shocker that a big reason that affected Ramsey’s play was that this was his first full season from that horrific injury. It takes some players at least a season to regain their full form after a long-term injury. Ramsey was expected to deliver very quickly but fact of the matter is that it was too much expectations to put on a player that just returned from injury. Also, it didn’t help that he was overplayed in the beginning of the season. With players like Wilshere, Diaby, and even Rosicky (at times) being out injured, Ramsey was forced to play many games in the beginning part of the season. Our lack of depth in the midfield didn’t help Ramsey out at all as he became fatigued as the season went on.
Factor 2: The death of Gary Speed
The death of Gary Speed, in my opinion, is the biggest factor as a result of his “poor” play. Speed was a great mentor for Ramsey and they had a great player-coach relationship. Speed made Ramsey captain of Wales at the age of 20, which showed a lot of trust and faith put into Aaron. Gary Speed was a close friend and mentor to Ramsey, which caused Rambo to take the tragic death of Speed very personally. Speed’s death did not only have a big effect on Ramsey but also it had a big effect on the play of Gareth Bale. Bale started the season great for Tottenham but you could notice a dip in his form. It’s no coincidence that both players dropped their form because Speed was mentor for both of them.
And imagine how fragile Ramsey’s mentality must have been after that tragic event. His mentality already took a big hit from that horrific leg break at the Britannia (Eduardo wasn’t the same after his injury), that Speed’s death just broke him down mentally. Plus he had no time to reflect or recover from that as he had to play as Arsenal were short in the midfield department. Also, as he his dealing with all of this stuff mentally, fans continue to attack him on twitter with some even sending him death threats. (tip for you fans: The next time you want to berate or attack a player because of his performances, consider what he has been through before you actually do so).
Which brings us to today
The summer transfer window hasn’t opened and there is much to talk about among the Arsenal supporters. Contrary to summer transfer window from last season, there is a bright outlook at the club with the signings of Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud. But it seems business may not be done as it is rumored that Yann M’Vila is a transfer target for Arsene Wenger.
I expect next season to be much different with Ramsey. He will have learned a lot from last season, he will come back more determined, and not as much pressure put on him by Wenger and the supporters as Wilshere returns, Oxlade-Chamberlain has made his mark, and with our new signings.
Some fans want Arsenal to go for an attacking midfielder but I see no need with Ramsey at the club. People can not judge a player on the basis of one bad season. To be fair, it wasn’t a full bad season. It was only a couple of months of bad form which were caused by many factors such as it was his first season back from injury, he was overplayed, and he experienced a tragic death of someone close to him. Also you can not judge a player based on one season. It’s just unfair and horrible judgment. A player like Robin van Persie struggled with injuries throughout most of his career, but we were patient because we knew the amount of potential he had. We must do the same for Ramsey. We need to give him more time before we make our assessment on whether he’s good enough to play for Arsenal.
written by Khalid Khan. follow on twitter @KHALIDKhan91