Dortmund 0 Arsenal 1: If Ramsey Doesn’t Inspire You, Nothing Else Will
Aaron Ramsey has been a class act all season long and it’s heartwarming to see the Welsh Dragon in super hot form, as he marked his 200th appearance for Arsenal with his 26th goal for the club. It’s worth noting that Ramsey has scored 11 goals in his last 16 games for the club and with the season still in its infant stage, the bookmakers are tipping the Welshman to hit the 20-goal mark (a la Frank Lampard) this season.
The title of today’s article is inspired from an article on Canon Crested with the same name, as the blogger, Simon Seez, shares his thoughts about how Ramsey’s situation from his bright fledgling Arsenal career to his Shawcrossation that halted his progress abruptly. Shortly after recovering, he was burdened with the ominous task of replacing Cesc Fabregas and $amir Na$ri which turned out to be a burden too large to bear but with the injection of Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil, as well as protection from Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini, Ramsey has been liberated and Arsenal is reaping the dividends.
It’s an amazing article by Canon Crested and trust me, it’s worth a read.
Both teams had notched up good commanding victories over the weekend so the stage was set for the clash of two tactical titans but the onus on the home side to get a victory. They had defeated the Gunners away and had not lost to any English side since the days Merlin was the Chief Wizard at Camelot. But as they say, records are made to be broken!
Shortly after Per Mertesacker had done well to intercept a Marco Reus cross that was meant for Robert Lewandowski, Reus floated another cross that was headed back into Arsenal’s danger area by either Ramsey or Sven Bender, as both players went for the same ball but the loose ball was attacked by Neven Subotic and it just crept wide. Kevin Grosskreutz shimmed past Kieran Gibbs and lofted a cross for Kuba but he didn’t wrap his foot around the ball to make good contact.
At the dying moments of the first 45 minutes, Lewandowski and Kuba combined well to tee up Mkhitaryan whose shot missed by a lick of paint with Wojciech Szczesny rooted to the spot. The Dortmund onslaught continued at the start of the second half with Reus getting on the end of a Grosskreutz cross but his header was parried to safety by Szczesny in goal. Kuba had a cross that was taken away to safety but it rolled effortlessly into Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s path but the Armenian schemer’s one-timed volley killed a bird in the sky.
Dortmund hit the Gunners on the break and a swift attack saw Kuba bear down on goal but his goal-bound shot was parried by Szczesny which fell kindly into Reus’ path but the winger was flagged offside so his goal was disallowed. Shortly afterwards, Mkhitaryan dinked a pass to Nuri Sahin but the Turkish enforcer was offside as well.
Against the run of play with Arsenal’s first meaningful attack, Tomas Rosicky showed great anticipation to win the ball from Bender before feeding Mesut Ozil on his right. The German maestro lofted the ball into the box and Olivier Giroud contended in the air against Subotic and cushioned the ball for an onrushing Aaron Ramsey that connected with a diving header to nod the ball past Roman Weidenfeller in goal.
Lewandowski shrugged off a challenge from Gibbs before drilling the ball into the box. Reus arrived on the scene before Laurent Koscielny and he tried to blast the ball towards the goal with a one-time shot but his miscued his effort.
Giroud held up play brilliantly and noticed Ramsey on his far side. The timing and execution of Giroud’s key pass to Ramsey was perfect, the Welshman’s control and balance to get the ball down into his stride was top-notch but the finish failed to match the lovely buildup as the goalie made himself big to parry the shot into safety.
A moment of controversy almost arrived when Lewandowski dived in the box as if he was shot by a sawn-off shotgun but Arteta did well to easy the ball out for a goal kick while Lewandowski hit the deck like a sack of rotten potatoes. Santi Cazorla lofted a dead ball into the danger area and Mertesacker got to the ball before Weidenfeller but his header missed the cross bar by a whisker.
As he has done so fondly this season, Arsene Wenger summoned Nacho Monreal for Cazorla to offer some protection to Gibbs as Dortmund had brought in the speed demon, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, for Kuba. Ramsey used his intelligence to win a free kick and when the dead ball was swung into Dortmund’s box, Weidenfeller went for the ball and clattered Koscielny.
Late on, Wenger killed off the game by bringing on Nicklas Bendtner for Giroud and the captain of the Reserves, Thomas Vermaelen, for a brilliant Rosicky. The Czech covered every blade of grass for his team and harried his opponents further up the pitch. Rosicky may be 33 but his football age is really 31 as he said a few months ago.
The home side put up a late surge and Lewandowski tried to con the ref into giving him a penalty after a tussle with Mertesacker but Dortmund’s pleas fell on deaf ears. At the sound of the final whistle, the elation of the players and fans alike knew no bounds as the Gunners had turned up the screw to put up a class act against Dortmund.
Szczesny (7) was comfortable in goal and must be delighted to have secured another clean sheet.
Sagna (7) worked very hard in defense and kept Marco Reus at bay for the entire game.
Gibbs (7) did really well to return back to full fitness after the scare during the weekend and defended really well.
Mertesacker (8) was a colossus in defense, making a lot of vital interceptions and he kept Lewandowski in a cage and threw away the keys.
Koscielny (8) was equally exceptional at the back, working hard for his team and making some vital blocks.
Arteta (8) put up another matured performance and controlled the tempo of the game for his team.
Ramsey (9) worked tirelessly for his team and must have been proud to score another match winning goal, He was even unlucky not to get a second.
Cazorla (6) put up a rather subdued performance as you’d expect from a player on the road to full fitness.
Rosicky (9) was excellent up the pitch, holding up play and tackling his opponents further up the pitch.
Ozil (6) didn’t really come to the party but he had a hand in the match winner.
Giroud (7) linked up well with his teammates but didn’t get enough service as he would have hoped.
Monreal (7) came in and offered protection to Gibbs as he was instructed.
As you would expect, Wenger was rather effusive in his praise for his players in after winning such a “big game” and he had some words to say about the “orchestra” vs. “heavy metal” football, citing that his team actually played some “light metal”.
“He just shows how difficult it is to have assessment on players because one year ago everyone said ‘yes, but Ramsey cannot score goals. He’s in box in the right positions, but he can’t score’. This season he scores game after game. I was always positive with him because when you watched the games again he was always in situations where he could be dangerous. This season he has gained confidence and he has an unbelievable engine to go from box to box. Confidence and his ability of course makes him a dangerous player.”
This has been one hell of a break through season for the lad and it can only get better for him. His hard work and perseverance has seen him leap to greater heights and at just 23, Ramsey’s future is so bright, he’ll need some shades on. His story can be related to real life situations we face and the moral remains that hard work get really get you far in life.
If Ramsey doesn’t inspire you, nothing else will.
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