Aaron Ramsey's Player of the Year Bid Rests on Successful Winter

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistNovember 23, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 26:  Aaron Ramsey of Arsenal in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Arsenal at Selhurst Park on October 26, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Aaron Ramsey-mania remains at fever pitch right now, the Arsenal resurgent whose future was at one point being written off by many now looking brighter than ever.

The Welshman's story so far this season has explained in all too succinct a fashion just how quickly one can go from zero to hero (and back again if unfortunate enough) in no time at all.

But the journey is far from complete.

Ramsey's first three months of the 2013/14 campaign have been exemplary. The 22-year-old has scored 11 goals in 18 matches across all competitions and has been one of several components in Arsene Wenger's midfield who have proved vital to the club's push to the summit of the Premier League.

However, a tough period lies ahead for Ramsey, who must brave the same winter months that have proven to be the undoing of so many stars before him, especially when expectations have been built on the foundations of a promising start.

Arsenal's Remaining 2013 Schedule
Marseille (H)Nov. 26
Cardiff City (A)Nov. 30
Hull City (H)Dec. 4
Everton (H)Dec. 8
Napoli (A)Dec. 11
Manchester City (A)Dec. 14
Chelsea (H)Dec. 23
West Ham (A)Dec. 26
Newcastle United (A)Dec. 29

Last season, when Ramsey was still a player on shaky ground in terms of being an established star, he managed just five league starts for the Gunners between November and the end of January, scoring no goals and providing a single assist.

It was actually during the 2011/12 season that the playmaker got his best experience of winter football, earning 11 starts in that same period, albeit still not managing a goal.

The responsibility now lies with Ramsey to ensure that drought doesn't happen again this time around. Tough fixtures against Everton, Chelsea and Manchester City all await in the coming weeks, not to mention the North Londoners' return Champions League ties against Marseille and Napoli.

However, it's up to a club of Arsenal's new-found billing to deal with teams of similar pedigree, something they've already executed against the likes of Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool and Napoli this term.

That being said, the loss at the hands of Manchester United a fortnight ago was the first sign of Arsenal being truly outmatched this season, the Gunners at times looked timid up against the challenge of their Red Devil oppressors, Ramsey included.

It's early in the term, yes, but the Welshman is already being tipped to go on and be a contender for Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year awards at the end of the season.

If he is to indeed maintain that momentum, consistency will be key in the hunt, lest he slowly simmer and sully the good reputation that's been hard to ignore in recent months.