Even In Defeat Arsenal Midfielder Aaron Ramsey Proves His Potential

Alex StampCorrespondent IDecember 9, 2009

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 02:  Aaron Ramsey of Arsenal runs with the ball during the Carling Cup quarter final match between Manchester City and Arsenal at City of Manchester stadium on December 2, 2009 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images

Two defeats in two games for Arsenal's assorted band of promising youths and fringe players may show that perhaps their time has not yet arrived. But while their time may come sometime in the future, one member of their group confirmed that his time could well be sooner rather later.

It may feel like Aaron Ramsey has been around for a long time but the young Welsh midfielder is still only 18, not that you'd believe it. Last night, even in defeat, the midfielder looked by far the most accomplished player, not just in his own team but on the entire pitch-quite a feat against the reigning Greek champions.

It can sound clichéd to compare Ramsey to his captain Cesc Fabregas, but the likeness is there for all to see. Phenomenal passing range, as demonstrated by a wonderfully acute pass with the outside of his right foot to set Theo Walcott.

A cool head in possession, even at a young age, and an excellent footballing intelligence, shown by his composure to roll the ball to Carlos Vela who should have drawn their side level, saw the midfielder at the heart of everything his team produced.

He was unlucky not to cap his performance with an equaliser with a late header which was cleared off the line, which was the least he and his Arsenal team had merited. But on a night where Arsene Wenger will have learned plenty about his young players, Ramsey's performances demonstrated quite how far ahead of his peers he really is.

Not that Wenger wasn't aware already. He had spent the build-up to this match eulogising about Ramsey's qualities, and said: "Ramsey is just 18, but is quite ahead for his age because he already plays in the Wales national team and is at a top-level club.

“He has spirit, and something that is very interesting, he is an efficient player, gets in the box at the right moment and is a penetrating player.”

Clearly, Wenger is convinced about his qualities, and after spending almost a year and a half at Arsenal after signing from Cardiff City, in a move which probably still irks Sir Alex Ferguson to this very day.

It is now surely a case of when, not if, he breaks into the Arsenal team regularly. Plus his goal against Stoke City on Saturday demonstrated his goal-scoring prowess, no bad thing in a midfielder.

Of course there is then the problem of what lies ahead of him. Arsenal are not short of creative, central midfielder's with Cesc Fabregas, Denilson and Abou Diaby currently lying ahead of him at the moment. Whether Ramsey is quite suited to playing alongside either of these three in central midfield will be a matter of some debate for Arsenal fans.

But crucially the transfer talk of Spanish overtures for Arsenal captain and creator in chief Cesc Fabregas refuses to disappear, and though Arsenal will be loathe to lose their captain, history tells us Wenger is not opposed to selling his captains if the price is right. Therefore the continued development of Aaron Ramsey could well take on fresh importance for his club in the long-term.

But judging by his career so far, and his continued assurance and maturity in the face of adversity, even that may not faze the young man who seems well set for a seat at the top table of British football.

If Wenger learned anything in his young team's defeats against Manchester City and Olympiacos, at the very least he will have learned that about the young Welshman.