Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Is Ramsey Cesc in Disguise?

There has been plenty of kinds words said about Aaron Ramsey this season. Rightly so as well. Although not everyone has been supportive of his career. Ramsey was quite frequently the focus of some of the Emirates crowd, as they channelled their frustrations of the team through one player. In the midst of this Wenger tried to accommodate Ramsey and stuck him on the wing, a trait afforded to some of the Frenchman's favourites like Abou Diaby.

The one aspect of Ramsey's game that needed to improve was his goalscoring. Particularly for a side that has lost a lot of goals from the side in recent years. Did you know that of the 27 goals Aaron has scored for us 11 of those came over the course of the first five seasons? That got me thinking of another midfielder, one that wasn't really noted for his goal getting but then suddenly sparked into life and added a new dimension to his game. Have you guessed who that former Arsenal man is? Yes, it's non other than the infamous Francesc Fabergas Soler. Here's the comparison between him and Ramsey in terms of games to goals.

Now, there is a danger of over analysis with statistics but it can't be denied that there are similarities. In Cesc's fifth season he scored 13 goals, which is what he mustered over the course of the previous four seasons. I've already touched on Ramsey finding his goalscoring touch but I was quite surprised to find there are only two goals separating them over the course of the first six seasons but with Ramsey having over 40 games to make up the difference.

I called upon the Cesc comparison as it reinforces Wenger's beliefs to stick with players. As fans we often judge players by their ability to score goals. You'll see it during the World Cup, just watch the rave reviews for defenders that score. Often it masks deficiencies, take Thomas Vermaelen for example. He scored eight goals in his first season, from quality headers to 30 yard left foot curlers. We were having the wool pulled over our eyes. Joleon Lescott is another,  Everton got a great deal because he scored goals, a great added bonus but defenders need to defend first and foremost. Wenger has been ridiculed for not being able to spot keepers. We may now be on the way to resolving that but it's certainly been a low key season on that front in terms of errors but if there was one area Wenger of the field that Wenger excels in, then it has to be centre midfield. Players like Vieira, Gilberto, Fabregas and now Ramsey. Players that had to learnt the ropes off a more experienced head before taking the reigns themselves. That's what makes Ramsey's upturn in production even more impressive. Ramsey did have Cesc for a bit but over the course of the last three seasons Ramsey's very much learnt the hard way and benefited from Cesc's departure.

The most crucial time for Aaron came when he was trying to get games in order to overcome the physical and mental scars that come with a broken leg. Particularly as we had refused to extend the loan at Forest, as Abou Diaby was injured. Eduardo's Arsenal career took a nose dive after a similar leg break. Something wasn't quite right and he was sold to Shakhtar. Instead Wenger sent Aaron on long to Forest, where he would see little game time mainly due to the inclement weather. Wenger remarked

“We did not get the number of games we wanted from him because of the snow,” said manager. He is a snow victim and we are as well consequently. But I am not tempted to do it [extend his loan]. If Abou Diaby was not injured I would certainly have considered it but not now.Aaron is not completely ready yet [for the Premier League] but he has been practising every day with the group for two months. I hope that when he comes back he should be ready in February.”
Ramsey of course then went on loan to Cardiff towards the end of the January transfer window but was now driven by the challenge of regained his place in the Arsenal team.
“If going out on loan again for a month to get a few more games helps me get back into shape quicker and into the Arsenal team then I will do that”
Usually these quotes are quite generic but if anything, time has taught us that this was actually the case.  Ramsey has gone on to play 125 times for Arsenal since these two loan spells. Wenger got this case spot on. There were many times when Ramsey could have been dropped but Wenger had faith and whilst I'm usually a fan of accountability for poor performances, he never really did anything disastrous, he just needed to get out of the rut he was in.

The future for this side is getting brighter, I have my doubts that the current crop are genuine contenders for a title but there is a transfer window to rectify that (I hold no hope on this front) but what I have seen lately is that we've started adding plenty of goals in other areas. Theo broke the 20 goal barrier in 12/13 and he has a very good understanding with Ramsey and the two are yet to play at the top of their game with each other. So if Ramsey can maintain his 15 goals, Theo with his 20 (difficult returning from injury I know) and Giroud adding a further 20 then we have 55 goals. It's a start, as we've often looked around thinking where are the goals coming from but there are threats now and genuine ones at that.

The foundations are in place for us and with Ozil getting a season under his belt, he's only going to get better. It's been an exceptional season for Aaron but it's whether or not he can maintain this level. Sides will be paying far more attention to him and if he overcomes that then we are in for a real treat. He deserves every penny of whatever salary he is on and it's great that he has the summer off because as the international players return in their drips and drabs from World Cup duty, at least we have our most in-form player ready to hit the ground running and ready to carry the side at the beginning of the new season. Let's not forget that if any of our players get to the World Cup final, history tells us they miss the first couple of games of the season due to little preparation but we have Champions League qualifiers to contend with.

Aaron Ramsey has been a real success story. One we should all enjoy and it was somewhat fitting that he scored THAT goal. Now he's thrilling us with some wonderful goals, amazing stamina and brilliant vision. I haven't even mentioned that we paid 5m for him as well. Maybe this time we've got the type of player we can keep for the rest of his career. Now that would be a turn up for the books.


  1. We'll only hang on to him if the squad continues to keep pace. By the end of next season all the top clubs will be after him and it'll be the usual story. Wenger needs to build a competitive squad for once in his life.

    1. Good point Melvin. If he continues to excel and we invariably fall away his head will get turned and we have a habit of buckling under bids.

    2. For once in his life? He built a team that went undefeated. Show a lil more respect chachi.

  2. I love how when you say THAT goal, I can't think of a single exact one you're referring to :-D

  3. I love how when you say THAT goal, I can't think of a single exact one you're referring to :-D