Daily Archives: September 20, 2013

A Tribute to Aaron Ramsey: Hard Work, Determination, Class

Every game in football is remembered for one moment. It can be a moment of magic, madness, elation or deep sorrow.

You can talk of magic if you remember the Champions League knock-out phase match between Arsenal and Porto in the 2009/10 season. I still don’t understand what Samir Nasri did with those able-bodied defenders, but the magic trick probably worked on me watching it from my TV.

You can talk of madness if you remember that stalemate between Manchester United and Arsenal in the 2003/04 season. After Ruud van Nistelrooy conned the ref into giving Patrick Vieira a red card, he took the resulting penalty and smashed the bar, but as soon as the ref ended the game. Our players went berserk and an assault on the Dutch goal poacher followed. I miss that crazy lot.

You can talk of sheer elation if you remember that epic encounter between Arsenal and Barcelona at the Emirates in the 2010/11 season. David Villa had put the Spanish giants ahead before RVP equalized from an impossible angle. Andrey Arshavin scored the goal that gave the Gunners the lead but a poor second leg showing eliminated Arsenal from Europe’s elite competition yet again.

The moment of deep sorrow took place on February 27, 2010 in the Britannia Stadium. Just like how Dan Smith potentially ended Abou Diaby’s career in 2005 and how Martin Taylor halted Eduardo da Silva’s progress in 2008, Stoke’s Rugby player, Ryan Shawcross, snapped Ramsey’s tibula and fibia with a clumsy tackle.

Rambo’s leg was hanging on his socks. His countryman, Glenn Whelan, held his hands till Colin Lewin and the team of physios took him to the hospital for further treatment.

Aaron Ramsey was out for the best part of a year but he worked effortlessly to get himself back to optimal fitness. He was even vocal about how he was going to fight to win his place back on the Arsenal squad. Some people feel that Ramsey’s injury paved the way for Jack Wilshere, but they are clearly mistaken. Jack Wilshere is where he is right now because of one man, Arsene Wenger.

Following the high-profile departures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri in the start of the 2011/12 campaign, Arsene Wenger tasked Ramsey with the burden of being the team’s creative hub but the midfielder struggled for form and fitness. The same fans that sent him over 50,000 goodwill messages during his long-term injury recuperation were wishing that he suffers another injury, or even worse.

He eventually lost his place in the team to Tomas Rosicky and the evergreen Czech maestro was pivotal in Arsenal’s surge for a third place finish. In the start of the 2012/13 season, there were games when Wenger tried to make Ramsey a jack-of-all-trades but he still a master of none. Towards the end of the campaign, Ramsey was deployed in an unfamiliar holding midfield role, and he excelled admirably, much to the player’s delight.

Unlike earlier seasons where Ramsey tried to over-complicate things by being too stylish on the ball with needles back-heels and careless long passes, he kept things simple this season and this improved his game. Ramsey became a refined player and worked in tandem with Mikel Arteta, balancing defense and attack. His performances were so good to the extent that he was voted as Arsenal’s Player of the Month for the month of April, which was a welcome return from the same fans that rained curses on him in the past.

His 2012/13 stats on WhoScored were very impressive to say the least.


Aaron Ramsey

Appearances (Subs)

21 (15)

Goals Scored




Overall shots (Shots per Game)

46 (1.3)

Bookings (Yellow / Red)

5 / 0

Total Tackles (Tackles per Game)

71 (2)

Total Interceptions (Interceptions per Game)

44 (1.2)

Total Fouls Committed (Fouls per Game)

48 (1.3)

Aerial Duels (Attempted/Won)

37 / 14

Total Passes (Accurate Passes)

1934 (1705)

Pass Completion %


Total Long Balls (Accurate)

139 (103)

Total Through Balls (Accurate)

21 (11)

After enjoying a good preseason campaign, Ramsey began the season in full bloom and opened his goalscoring account with a neat finish against Fenerbahce in Istanbul, the ground he scored his first goal for the club. In the second leg at the Emirates, Ramsey put up another stellar performance with a well-taken brace that propelled Arsenal into the Group Stages of the UEFA Champions League.

Alongside the red-hot Olivier Giroud, Ramsey’s scintillating form continued with another brace against Sunderland before scoring the match winner in the recent vixtory over Marseille, which was Arsenal’s 10th away victory in a row.

Aaron Ramsey’s rise to prominence has been one of the bright sparks of the tail end of last season and the early part of this season. The Welsh Dragon has been very delighted with his form,

“I’m happy with the way I’m playing at the moment. I’m playing with confidence and putting them away at the moment. I feel like I’ve been getting in to good positions throughout my career but haven’t quite had the composure.”

This is a player that was a lightning rod for vitriol and abuse a couple of seasons ago but now he’s one player we would want to see on the team sheet every week.

Ramsey’s current form has shown that with hard work and determination, you can show your class.

For his sake, I hope his rich vein of form continues.


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