Position : Central Midfielder
Nation : Wales
2011/2012 Appearances : 44 (9 as sub)
At the end of a horrendous challenge from Stoke City’s Ryan Shawcross in February 2010, this past season has been the young Welshman’s first full season in Arsenal colours. Captain of his country, he has also had to deal with immense pressure, following the departures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, and the untimely death of national team manager Gary Speed.
Here is how Aaron Ramsey has fared this season.
A drab stalemate against Newcastle started Ramsey’s season, and he provided the cross for Walcott’s goal in a narrow 1-0 win over Udinese, in the first leg of the Champions League qualifiers. Ramsey put in a spirited display against Liverpool in the next league game, where a depleted Gunners’ side kept out the enterprising Reds out for large parts of the game. However, it would end in misery, as Arsenal lost 2-0, Ramsey scoring a rather unfortunate own goal, after Miquel’s clearance struck him.
He played a vital role in the second leg against Udinese, which Arsenal won 2-1. He also played in the 8-2 mauling at Old Trafford. He put in an enterprising display in a hard earned 1-0 win over Swansea. After missing the Dortmund game, he would return in the 4-3 loss at Blackburn, providing an intelligent assist for Arteta’s goal. He turned provider again for van Persie’s first goal against Bolton, in a 3-0 win.
He scored the equalizer for Arsenal in an entertaining North London derby, which was eventually lost 2-1. His performance was mixed. Guilty of giving away the ball, he also helped work some good positions. He would score Arsenal’s winner in the 92nd minute against Marseille, from a Djourou cross. Ramsey put in another intelligent display against Stoke, where he assisted Gervinho’s opener. He was yet again impressive in the 5-3 win over Chelsea. He played a perfect through ball for Gervinho, who set up van Persie’s first goal. His overall play won him many plaudits.
Ramsey played in the 0-0 home draw to Marseille, and then went on to boss the midfield, alongside Arteta and Song in a 3-0 win over West Brom. He was industrious, getting forward at every opportunity against Norwich, which Arsenal snuck 2-1. This was followed by another good display against Dortmund, where he created chances for Gervinho and van Persie.
A visibly tired van Persie had Arsenal’s best two chances of scoring in the home game against Fulham, but his efforts were turned away by Schwarzer. He would go on to play the full 90 minutes in wins over Wigan and Everton. He was again denied twice, by Tim Howard. Ramsey was frustrated again by a keeper in the next game, a 1-0 loss to Manchester City, despite some good play in midfield. He played 81 minutes against Aston Villa, before being replaced by Yossi Benayoun who would go on to score the winner.
After coming on as a late sub, he started against QPR, where he put a mixed performance. Some good movement, was marred by sloppiness, and he was accused of trying silly back heels and tricks, when the onus was on keeping possession. He cut a frustrated figure against Fulham, where despite some good linking up, he was denied twice by Stockdale. He started the FA Cup game against Leeds, where his performance mirrored the Fulham game. Some good link up play was again marred by some sloppy play, but Arsenal won 1-0, thanks to a Henry goal.
Ramsey’s performances and confidence started to dip around this time, when he was responsible for two of Swansea’s goals in a 3-2 loss in Wales. The first was a harsh penalty decision, when Dyer made a fine dive, with no contact from Ramsey. He then gave the ball away, allowing Dyer to score Swansea’s second. After a mixed game against Manchester United, but he was at the centre of everything positive in a 3-2 FA Cup win over Aston Villa, winning the first penalty, after being hacked down by Richard Dunne.
He looked completely out of ideas and exhausted in a 0-0 draw at Bolton, but returned with the equalizing goal against Sunderland in the league days later. The long range goal was the catalyst for a late winner by Henry. In the next game, against Milan, in the Champions League, Ramsey looked completely out of sort, barely able to direct play or keep the ball. He went off injured in the next game, a 2-0 loss in the Cup at Sunderland, which meant he missed wins over Sp*rs, Liverpool and Milan. He came on as a sub in the 2-1 win over Newcastle, where he looked sharp, and his pace and creativity helped in a 95th minute Vermaelen winner.
He played on the left side of midfield against Everton, in another mixed performance. He worked some good chances for van Persie, but was guilty of squandering a few himself. He was again played out of position in an under-par performance in the 2-1 loss at QPR. He came on as a late sub against Manchester City, where he missed a glorious chance late on. He started against Wolves, and impressed with some good passing, but yet again missed a great chance to score, when one on one with Hennessey.
Strange performances against Wigan and Chelsea followed, where his work rate was good, but nothing seemed to go his way. He had to put up with incessant booing, away to Stoke, but put in a decent performance. His last start of the season came in a 3-3 draw at home to Norwich, where despite busting his lung, for large parts, he seldom made an impact. He would come on as a sub for Coquelin in the final game of the season, a 3-2 win over West Brom.
Here are few features of Aaron Ramsey‘s game.
1. Midfield Play
With the departure of Fabregas and Nasri, Ramsey was expected to take mantle of creative midfielder, and the weight of expectation has bogged him down a bit. There is no doubting his talent, as he is a neat and quick passer of the ball, and he has 8 assists to his name. He is good at switching play instantly, and can play the final killer passes.
Far too often, Ramsey has been caught off guard, and been robbed off the ball. This is clearly an area he needs working at. Another criticism has been his unnecessary attempts at back heels and fancy flicks, which he can really do away with.
3. Work Rate
Ramsey is a tireless player, and we have seen he gives his 100%. Though this does work against him. Just out after suffering a horrific injury, he has played 44 games this season, and has clearly taken a toll on the young Welshman. He needs to be more intelligent at reserving his energy.
SUMMARY AND RATING
It seems like Ramsey has struggled with all the pressure over him, since the departures of two top midfielders from the team. He is still very young, and willing to work hard. Despite a good start to the season, his form took a major fall, and Arsenal fans hope he will be back to his best next season. He gets a rating of 6.5.