Arsenal: Why Gunners Fans Have to Get off Aaron Ramsey's Back
This has become a somewhat “delicate issue,” so I’ll be as plain and crystal clear as I can be.
The fact that he has scored versus Tottenham, Sunderland and Marseille—coupled with seven assists to his teammates, with the stand-out chipped pass to Gervinho against Stoke—hasn’t been enough. He is now a much-maligned figure and his confidence levels have plummeted downhill courtesy of the constant barrage he receives on Twitter on a regular basis.
The same fans that sent him over 50,000 goodwill messages during his long-term injury recuperation now wish that he suffers another injury, or even worse.
Let me take you down the memory lane.
Aaron Ramsey broke into the Cardiff setup in the 2005/06 season before Arsene Wenger acquired his services in 2008. He scored on his Champions League debut in the 5-2 victory against Fenerbahce. He found his footing in the 2009/10 season.
February 27, 2010 was a horrible day for Gooners worldwide. This was the same month that Eduardo suffered that horrific ankle injury at St. Andrew's two years earlier. The Gunners visited the dreaded Britannia Stadium for an away league encounter against the Rugby outfit Stoke City.
Rory Delap pelted one of his trademark missiles to the box. After a goalmouth scramble, a bloke called Pugh scored the opener. One of the world's best striker (self-proclaimed), Nicklas Bendtner, equalized with a brilliant header. Thomas Vermaelen and Cesc Fabregas settled our nerves in dying moments of the game.
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 Boy slammed the bar with his penalty kick, 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 last season. I can’t remember the last time those aliens lost a game after scoring first.
The moment of deep sorrow took place two years ago in the Britannia Stadium. Just as French fans will never forget the name “Materazzi,” the name “Ryan Shawcross” will be in our minds for a long time. Just like Dan Smith and Martin Taylor, the Rugby player 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.
Arsenal is a living testament as a club that has seen its players suffer long-term issues, and the fans have also witnessed the end results.
Tomas Rosicky suffered a hamstring injury in the start of 2008 and was sidelined for 18 months. It has taken the Czech dynamo an extra 30 months to reproduce the form of the Little Mozart we purchased in 2006. Had Rosicky been in a “less patient" club, he would have been playing for new employers.
However, the lethal finisher, Eduardo da Silva didn’t get such patience probably because of the amount of personnel in his playing position. The Cro-zilian was in a rich vein of form before his leg was snapped like a twig by Birmingham’s Martin Taylor. On his return to full fitness, he became a shadow of that clinical goal scorer and was flushed to Ukraine.
Abou Diaby was also on the end of a horrendous challenge that saw his ankle get shattered to bits, and he has never gotten himself again. Journeys all around the world to solve his injury worries have been to no avail.
Aaron Ramsey on the other hand, 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 Wilshere, but they are clearly mistaken. Jack Wilshere is where he is right now because of one man, Arsene Wenger.
There’s this adage I learned when I watched a Nollywood movie a few years back:
“What the old man sees when he is sitting on a chair, the young man standing on a palm tree can never see it”.
When Wilshere was loaned to Bolton, he was extremely impressive. Owen Coyle came around again to request his services for another campaign, but Wenger declined his offer. Wenger cleared our doubt when Wilshere was introduced in the first team when we played Liverpool at Anfield at the start of last season.
We all know how indispensable Wilshere is to us now.
This same Wenger sent Ramsey on loan twice last season, but he still brought the Welshman back to the team. And his faith was rewarded with a goal against Manchester United, much to the demise of Osama bin Laden the day after.
Call it coincidence if you must, but further goals from Ramsey against Tottenham, Marseille and Sunderland came hand-in-hand with the deaths of Steve Jobs, Muammar Gaddafi and Whitney Houston, respectively.
Without further ado, here are the reasons why Arsenal fans have to get off Aaron Ramsey’s back.
For the love of the heavens, Aaron Ramsey is just 21 years old. I must admit that he has had a boatload of games for Arsenal, and he’ll make his 100th appearance for Arsenal if he starts against Chelsea on Saturday.
The departure of Cesc Fabregas was meant to coincide with the rise to glory of Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere. But he clearly hasn’t been able to live up with that “great expectation” tag placed on him.
Ramsey’s best years are well ahead of him, and the writing is on the wall that he’ll improve through hard work and determination.
Current Depth of the Squad
Arsene Wenger began the season with just 25 Gunners for the entire campaign. The boss used these players with a youngster or two across four competitions and, as expected, injuries took its toll on the squad.
First things first, Arsenal lost two of its key central midfielders to rich predators and Arsene Wenger should take some part of the blame for not replacing them on time. Following the 8-2 mutilation at the hands of Manchester United, the boss cleaned the dust off from the club’s cheque book to make five deadline-day signings.
At the end of the transfer window, Arsenal was eligible to use Jack Wilshere, Abou Diaby, Mikel Arteta, Tomas Rosicky, Yossi Benayoun and Aaron Ramsey as its central attacking midfielders. It’s a bit funny to know that a “holding midfielder” leads the assists chart with 14.
Judging from the quality of the players in the aforementioned list, Ramsey won’t have been a regular starter, but the gods of injuries have ravaged the squad, leaving Ramsey as one of the available options for a league chunk of the season. For this reason, Ramsey has played 40 games for Arsenal, scoring three goals and laying on seven assists.
Judging from his input and contribution to the team, does he warrant such vitriol on Twitter?
Be the judge of that.
His Performances of the Past
Unless you live in a far away cave with no access to Internet, colored TV or a sports magazine, you should know that Aaron Ramsey has been at Arsenal since 2008. In his four seasons with the Gunners, he has been pretty impressive, and his stats certainly prove so.
He started a bit slow in his first season, but his next (2009/10) undoubtedly got him plaudits from his manager, the media vultures, his teammates and, of course, Arsenal’s insatiable fans. I don’t want to delve into performances in specific games, but Ramsey did pretty well before he got Shawcrossed.
There are many other reasons best known to you but I’m okay with this three.
Whether you value his performances or not, bear in mind that Aaron Ramsey needs our support more than ever.
I hope I’ve been crystal clear enough.
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