Aaron Ramsey has always been a talented player. Now he is becoming a certified match-winner.
This was a tremendous night for the Gunners. Arsenal travelled to Dortmund and knocked down the yellow wall, and Ramsey was the wrecking ball that delivered the crucial blow.
The Welshman was not the only hero in a red and white shirt. Arsenal’s back four and goalkeeper deserve plenty of credit for keeping Robert Lewandowski and company at bay. This was only the second time in 61 home games that Jurgen Klopp’s side have failed to find the net.
However, Ramsey is the man who turned this from a creditable draw to an outstanding victory.
When Olivier Giroud knocked the ball down inside the Dortmund penalty area, Ramsey showed anticipation, strength and bravery to get his head on the ball and knock it beyond Roman Weidenfeller and into the net.
The goal made Arsenal the first English team to win away to Dortmund in the history of the Champions League. Ramsey is enjoying shattering both records and expectations in this extraordinary season.
11 goals already in 2013/14 have buoyed Ramsey’s confidence, and he has become a talisman for this Arsenal side. When they need someone to relieve the pressure, he steps up.
Such maturity is rare in a 22-year-old. However, few young players have been through as much as Ramsey. The Welshman has been to hell and back, recovering from a broken leg and poor form to hit his current heights.
Ramsey is not a vocal character either on or off the pitch. However, he is leading by example at the moment.
That trait is reminiscent of another great British midfielder: Steven Gerrard.
Arsenal fans may not like Gerrard, but they must surely respect his ability and recognise the similarities. The duo have a similar style. Both players have an inherent British grit combined with a cultured technique, having learned their trade from intelligent continental coaches.
Like Ramsey, Gerrard is more of an impact player than a continuity player. Although his style has mellowed as his physical capacity has waned, Gerrard was once famed for the kind of barnstorming performances that Ramsey is currently making his trademark.
When Arsenal faced Liverpool on Saturday, it felt like a passing of the torch. Gerrard was overrun, while Ramsey sealed the win for Arsenal with a scorcher from distance.
Gerrard’s greatest triumph came in the Champions League, raising the trophy aloft after leading Liverpool to a remarkable victory in the 2005 final in Istanbul. After tonight’s landmark result in Germany, Ramsey will hope to achieve the same feat with Arsenal.