As Arsenal gear up for their huge clash against Manchester City this Sunday, a lot of plaudits should be going towards Aaron Ramsey ahead of this weekend’s mouth-watering showdown.
The midfielder struck his 50th goal for the Gunners last Saturday, as Ramsey completed a quick-fire turnaround in the 2-1 win over Swansea at the Emirates Stadium.
The goal was Ramsey’s third from midfield in the Premier League and all competitions so far this campaign. Though, a large majority of the Arsenal faithful are still not content in seeing the Welshman’s name on the team-sheet each weekend.
A frustrating player?
To Ramsey’s credit, he is always hungry for a goal or two, it’s part of his nature. As his winner last weekend indicated, he will never be shy of surging in to the box, but that comes to some annoyance for the watching Arsenal fans.
His performance against Liverpool at the back end of August, along with midfield partner, Granit Xhaka really was an eye-opener. It led to further questions that the Xhaka-Ramsey midfield partnership was a recipe for disaster.
Though just a couple of weeks later, the performance away at Chelsea in a very satisfying 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge really did silence the critics, as we saw easily one of Ramsey’s best performance in an Arsenal shirt for a good few years.
That’s the issue with Ramsey, is he disciplined enough to play in such a key role in that midfield area, especially in these so called big games away from home?
Sunday’s game at the Etihad Stadium will go one of two ways you feel for Ramsey in that role. We will either see the disciplined and professional performance witnessed at Stamford Bridge from the Welshman, or we will see an Arsenal midfield ripped to shreds, just like the one at Anfield.
Some significant goals
Since arriving in North London all the way back in 2008, it took the former Cardiff City man a good few years to settle in to life at the Emirates. Following consecutive, turbulent summers at the club which saw star names such as Cesc Fàbregas, Alex Song and Samir Nasri depart, Ramsey finally got his chance in that midfield.
It was the 2013/2014 campaign which was a turning point in Ramsey’s career, and some say that he has never quite reached those heights since. Ramsey netted a personal best of 16 goals in all competitions, including massive, winning goals in the UEFA Champions League away at Borussia Dortmund and an FA Cup Final winner against Hull City.
Recent defining goals, such as another FA Cup Final winner this year, against Chelsea has only reinforced that he is a 'big-game' player for the club.
Injuries has always been the downfall for Ramsey though, as each of the last three seasons since 13/14, the midfielder has missed large chunks of the campaign due to reoccurring muscular problems.
Though, this season so far has proved a different story, and hopefully it stays that way. Ramsey has only missed one game so far in the Premier League this season, compared to last year where he missed the first two months of the campaign through yet more injury woes.
A defining Sunday
The trip to the Etihad is going to be another big assignment as to whether Ramsey is the right fit to play alongside Xhaka. Many Arsenal fans have been calling for Jack Wilshere to be starting more league games, but the fact of the matter is that it’s obvious that Wenger has a lot of trust in Ramsey.
For all the stick that he has got in the last couple of seasons, you can’t deny that he is a very important player now for this Arsenal side. The frustration is that he simply does not show those qualities enough. We saw the real Ramsey at Chelsea earlier this campaign, but critics and fans are always awaiting his next dodgy afternoon.
One thing that is for certain is that any player who reaches 50 goals for the club, should be given a lot of recognition. And in years to come a lot of Arsenal fans will look back at the importance and calibre of some of his goals with a lot of respect for the Welshman.