The third in our series on Aaron Ramsey is penned by James “Raul” Stokes. James is a regular blogger of delicious post and this is a particularly succulent titbit .You can , and should, find James at ” The Armchair Gooner” and on twitter @JamesRaulStokes
Meteoric rises aren’t uncommon place in football. Every so often, a player leaps majestically from the waters of obscurity like a glorious salmon to land smack-bang into our collective consciousness. It usually only takes a mere moment of brilliance to catapult a young man into the throes of superstardom. Some reside there for years, others only enjoy the success fleetingly. Few can claim to have gone through the entire gamut of emotions before bursting through as Aaron Ramsey can.
When Aaron arrived from Cardiff City in 2008 for the seemingly paltry sum of £5m, I knew little or nothing about him, only that it was well documented he was one to watch for the future. Having beaten off the grubby advances of Sir Alex Ferguson and his assembled minions to secure the deal, Arsene Wenger was delighted to have gotten his man. Whilst appearances were few and far between, reserved usually for cup ties against so-called ‘lesser opponents’, there were immediate signs of Aaron’s potential and ability; he had a good touch, determination and an engine to rival that of a Ford Mustang.
Now, as with any blathery piece of writing pertaining to Aaron Ramsey, we all know what follows the initial parts of his Arsenal career. One moment the young Welshman was dancing through the midfield exchanging passes with Cesc Fabregas, the next his leg broken in two thanks to the neolithic contribution of one of football’s greatest morons. It shouldn’t be underestimated how much impact, both physical and mental, that Shawcross challenge had. Imagine a similar situation befalling yourself; the world is your oyster, only for that bright future to be taken away and replaced by the very real prospect of your career being completely in tatters. Personally I can’t relate to it, and I sincerely hope I’ll never have to.
The road to recovery was one wrought with peril and apoplexy. From this point, I should be honest and admit that I am one of the people who doubted Aaron’s ability to succeed at Arsenal. Not because I believed he lacked the ability or desire, but because of that injury. Past occurrences of a similar nature have seen both Abou Diaby and Eduardo have promising tenures cut drastically short. A compelling case can be presented for both players having never fully recovered from their respective injuries. I feared Aaron would very much go the same route.
For a long period, his performances, whilst some distance from woeful, fell short of the high standards we would expect from him. I see no issue with saying that. I’m sure most Arsenal fans, and Aaron himself, would admit it. What he was subjected to from a certain element, however, was truly appalling. Questioning a player’s ability to progress after such a harrowing event is normal, as is pointing out poor performances. What is loathsome to me is scapegoating a single player in a team sport and unleashing despicable bile across the internet at a young man simply because there’s a deep-seated hatred within you.
Every football team has its supporters and every football team has supporters to be ashamed of. Arsenal are no different. Whilst, mercifully, the anger and viciousness of some of the remarks directed at Aaron came from a select, idiotic few, it was almost impossible to ignore. Some followed the startlingly opposite stance and defended his every move with a similar opprobrium to the aforementioned detractors. My Mum always used to say to me, “James, you take the two frothing-at-the-mouth extremes and look somewhere in the middle to find the truth” and that’s the best way to look at the situation.
To his immeasurable credit, Aaron never gave up, he never went missing on the pitch and always maintained a high level of professionalism. Even on the days nothing went right for him on the pitch and the cacophony of dissenting voices echoed throughout the stadium his head never dropped and he kept trying to make things happen. When you consider the emotional turmoil heaped upon a boy of his meagre years, I find that to be truly remarkable.
And it has paid off in spades. Slowly but surely he began to show us what he was truly capable off, his performances began to catch the eye and those voices of hatred became less apparent. In the past 18-20 months, Aaron Ramsey has rightfully established himself as one of the finest midfielders in Europe, the previous season being the breakthrough his perseverance warranted. There was a time I would have struggled to see a place for him in the starting 11, now it’s inconceivable to selected our best side without him in it.
I didn’t think he’d come back from that injury. I was wholly, breathtakingly, unabashedly wrong and I have no qualms admitting that. Aaron deserves each and every plaudit, each fantastic moment on the pitch and all the numerous, glorious moments I am sure will follow. I think the best way to end this conglomeration of words is with a brief moment of cogitation. Picture Aaron wheeling away, glee etched across his face, as he scored the winning goal in an FA Cup final and ponder wether you’d have believed it likely as little as two years ago. I didn’t, but I’d wager Arsene Wenger did. That’s why I’m sat behind a computer desk and he’s managing a football team at the highest level.
I think Barca’s failure to use Cesc properly was no slight on the quality of the player but on the rigidity, hubris, and clubbiness of that outfit. When he left Arsenal he was the best attacking midfielder in Europe. They ruined him. Unfortunately, he ruined his own career to an extent in the process, no matter what he might win etc… He will still be a lesser player than he could have been, unfortunately. I agree with Hunter that this is sad. But I’ll save tears for those many suffering in this world, as Henry B pointed out above. This is only football.
Now we progress through Ozil. And I think it is going to be extremely exciting. I haven’t looked forward to enjoying the Arsenal attack as much for several years. Good times ahead, I believe!
Don’t forget Limey that Ozil would often, when the game demanded it, make the kind of runs that the absent Walcott or Chamberlain or even Gnabry might make because often he was the only on the pitch with the legs (speed and stamina) to do it! In a weird way this might have helped the speed with which he developed the partnership with Ramsey (that’s a total guess…).
>…the only player on the pitch…
Gains, yes. The issue will be how we adjust to them sitting back so deeply out of fear of Theo and Sanchez blistering in attack. And that is where OG will come in with good service from these wide players and so many excellent passers and dribblers in our midfield.
Excellent point to remind us of, Fins.
The only position available to Cesc returning to Arsenal would have been as Arteta’s understudy, in a more behind the ball midfield role, we all know Cesc could do that but he is also a huge attacking talent as well.
Cesc implied in his Chelsea interview that Wenger would not guarantee him a first team berth, so the die was cast.
Welcome to the Arsenal, Mathieu Debuchy! You are a very fine PL ready RB with CL experience joining us early in the window. So much to be happy about there. OK, it wasn’t what I had craved–a younger, exciting player who might be able to serve as 4th CB–but this is a solid move. Well done, AW and Arsenal transfer team!
Of the more defensively inclined midfielders, I would be interested in Gonalons/Gustavo/Javi Martinez/Mascherano type who could in a pinch drop back to CB… We’ll see what, if anything, AW manages to swing. There aren’t actually a lot of options due to conditions right now: Schneiderlin may be stuck at Southhampton after 3 first 11 sales and Lovren being held up by an angry Koeman; Khedira’s wage demands stalling matters or being a ploy in negotiations at RM; Bender not wanting to move nor Leverkusen to sell; Gonalons signing big new contract to stay and keep captaining the club, Lyon, for which he has affection. Who is left who might be available and worth pursuing? Not really many at this point–other than the AW special rabbit out of the hat…
I thought George virtually guaranteed this Khedira thing…!
Don’t forget that Barca’s management has been imploding since Cesc joined. The old guard have stubbornly held onto their feudal right to play, coaches & presidents have resigned, got fired and God have mercy on his soul – even died at an awful young age.
In short our former star player has been truly fucked about by his DNA kindred.
LSG at 8:24pm
That’s an excellent assessment of the boy who left us and the crass shower of entitlement junkies he joined.
Lime: “Absolutely poetic and incisive a statement!”
Thank the alcohol and the glee I was experiencing after the 7-1 demolition of Brazil by ze Germans.
Is it that AW did not guarantee him a starting position or that AW didn’t want to bring in Cesc (as he didn’t really think it worth doing so for financial and morale reasons for a player he wasn’t sure would start)? We don’t know the exact conversation, but the way Cesc’s statements were reported, it sounded like the decision was AW’s. He decided no. And Cesc had to look elsewhere. I am not sure it was a matter of Cesc just wanting first team football. Because, tbh, with Mourinho, I am not so sure Cesc will be starting at the end of the season there. Look what happened to Mata, Oscar and almost Hazard. That man ruins creative players. He doesn’t really know what to do with them, it seems. It was amazing he played Ozil and recognizes his talent. But I think RM was a special circumstance where his hand wasn’t so free ultimately and where there still was a strong fan expectation of attacking football of some variety. It’s not like Chelsea where the unsophisticated supporters will accept the worst crap as long as they contend for the glittering shiny baubles. And they have had plenty of those. Who needs football!?
DC @8:41–good points about Barca’s implosion and decline. More than a club, it is a circus. Sad for Tito but indeed their behaviour both players and officials has been putrid apart from him, which I always thought was dignified. I’ll be happy if Suarez tarnishes them yet further.
Ramsey and Özil.
Giroud and Sanchez.
Ox and Theo.
Arteta, Santi, TR7, Poldi, Gnarby, Diaby ……
There is no place for Fabregas in Arsenal’s future.
I think the article about Cesc Finsbury linked to should be posted here. It’s a dead on example of what happens when you buy a player for reasons other than the way which he fits into the team.
DC, Cesc wasn’t going to be Arteta’s understudy. If he came to Arsenal he would have played second fiddle to Mesut. He ended up at Chelsea because he wanted to be the star and his Lebanese baby momma only wanted to live in London. The bottom line is Arsene told him “no thank you, we have better players than you.”
A mess con un Club
I was implying that was the only space for him In our current squad, never mind the 1st team.
The only alternative place available would have been Jack’s… Which is getting tempting.
Lime, it’s going to be interesting what happens at Chelsea next season. Although a lot less refined than their Madrid counterparts, Chavs are going to bitch at Mourinho for not playing Fabregas just like they bitched last season over Lukakau being loaned out while Torres, Eto’o and Ba faltered. Who knows? Maybe Cesc can prove yet another manager to quit or be sacked.
I take it that the less than excited news about Debuchy becoming a gunner is down to it being so well flagged already and that he is more or less a like for Like replacement.
Anyway we’ve got him, another one easily off the shopping list, and it’s only July!
Here’s hoping Gains! But it is indeed going to be interesting. But it won’t just be Chavs but Abramovitch–how long does he think he should wait before finally watching a decent Chelsea team that can play football?! Last season was a grace period. I expect the pressure ratchets up on Mou this season. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Abramovitch was the real motive force behind wanting to get Cesc and pony up the cash. I’m not so sure Mou would have done that all on his own… Abramovitch has always been envious of our style under AW…
It’s hard to get as excited about a RB as about a forward or attacking mid, I think. Less glamorous perhaps.
Great to see that we have found a new right back. I hope that Carl will still get his chances (nothing beats having a proper lifelong born and bred Gooner in the squad) but I am nevertheless glad that we’ve snapped up one of the best right backs in the league.
To be honest I am starting to feel slightly worried about Jack. There can be no doubts about his talents but the parts of his personality that had been endearing him to supporters from a young age on are now the same aspects that are risking a derailment of his career. I think that Jack’s form is obviously tied to the injuries he has suffered in the past which have kept him out for long periods of time but at the same time I feel he could learn a lot by looking up to Aaron, who has eclipsed him over the past two seasons. Get your head down, work hard, don’t start being THAT kind of player who is known as much for his off-field antics as for his on-field behaviour. I think that the media have blown the incident out of proportion but at the same time Jack should be more clever than this, especially if the club has told him to cut out that kind of behaviour.
Quality 2nd goalie next please Mr. Wenger.
Saying that Arsenal really needs Additional Defenders, Midfielders or Strikers is just twitterer wank.
Firmly in the nice to have category, but not essential.
A bit of luck with fitness and less injuries and we can win the League this season with the squad we have.
The observant amongst you lot will
have noticed I said exactly the same thing before last season.
I agree with you, Evil. I don’t want to see JW squander his talent and quite serendipitously the news of his recent activities coincided with two successive posts in praise and appreciation of Aaron Ramsey, who so far seems an excellent example to follow.
That’s a picture of Jack and Walcott
Wonderful pic, Gains!
I like the Debuchy signing because it reminds me of Monreal coming over. He’ll compete with Jenkinson and they’ll both play plenty of games. And who knows? Perhaps Carl ends up mashing it up to the point where he becomes a nailed on starter.
I have only watched Dubuchy properly once, and that was France v Germany a couple of weeks ago.
He gave Ozil a particularly hard time and there was no way past him. Given that there are perhaps only three people in the world who are keener on Ozil than me (his mother, AW and my daughter) I was pretty impressed with that.
I think he is a magnificent signing and sense he will bring a bit of edge to the defence too.
He definitely looks better in red & white
No doubt about it.
Welcome to the ARSENAL. do us proud and remember, you are taking the place of one exceptional player . Have yourself a great time at the RED&WHITE. bien venee.
pool got themselves a germanturk winger. Wish I know something about him so I could fill you in. Hope you don’t get a case of split loyalty this year. Lol. even though i think pool will have a very had time reproducing last years top four finish.
If i were to guess i would pick them to finish fifth or lower. shitty seems quite compared to the pools and chelski and manure this transfer window.
No way they can, Kam! I’m an Ozil and Arsenal man. I agree with you that without Suarez and having to play in the CL this season will be a huge test on a thin bush squad. They could have more trouble with fatigue, injury and so on. Could easily drop to fifth. No question. Could even be worse than that.
Thin bush= thinnish squad.
Hunter @ 5:35 pm
“if its your personal preference …then by all means …perfectly acceptable…just dont react like a girl if someone dares challenge your preferences with solid points.”
To think if I hadn’t gone back and read all of today’s comments I would have missed that gem: “don’t react like a girl”. I’ll be over here waiting for an apology for that casually sexist remark. Like a girl.
The absence of Neymar and Silva showed the Brazilians definitely had the thinnest bush during the World Cup.
i was really pissed when i saw jack pictured with some lunatics smoking and partying. i really express my disgust even despite jack being one of my favourite players. but seeing a picture of jack returning three days earlier to training is heart warming in equal measure. that kind of attitude is all i expect from a player who wants to improve. perhaps he returned early to smoothen things up with wenger and hope to convince him that the ciggei was forced into his mouth or something like that. but one thing for sure is that he has the chance to prove to wenger that he loves training more than boozing.
“To think if I hadn’t gone back and read all of today’s comments I would have missed that gem: “don’t react like a girl”. I’ll be over here waiting for an apology for that casually sexist remark. Like a girl.”
Don’t hold your breath!
So Debuchy joins the club – I have to say that the occasional sight I had of him in a Newcastle shirt probably did not persuade me that he is an top quality full back.
What do I know though and playing for Toon is no easy matter. His performances for France were a big improvement. I suspect Carl will not be too disappointed as I reckon he will be pushing the new recruit for the starting slot and any lapse on Debuchy’s part will taken.
but dear alabama you are a Woman, a Lady with capital W and L ..not a girl… 😉
( you too passenal…)
July 17, 2014 at 8:05 pm
By stealth weapon i essentially mean his off ball movement and how he uses space to show his teammates where/when to play it, disappears from the frame..re-appaears and kills you with a pass to a runner noone has taken notice. pipo inzaghi was very good at that disappeariong act and re-appearing in random areas confusing defenders constantly but in the box and edge of box. ozil does it as an attacking mid anywhere from mid onwards. But this is not an organiser…this is a weapon..bio-war…you dont see it coming…stealth…you realise it after its hit you. As for tens he is a very modern ten and perhaps one of those who will re-define the role but i cant tell yet. just like the role of dm changed after veiera, ozil might do same for tens. bearing in mind the ‘ten’ has changed a lot over the years. tens like zidanne bergkamp totti? tens like platini ? tens like diego, baggio? tens like kaka mesi? tens like moutinho modric?
I too am a bit worried about Jack. The incident in LV is likely to have been overhyped but we don’t know whether it was just a drag or whether he’s still smoking. We don’t even know if it was tobacco…
But he should get wise to the fact that everything he does in public is likely to be photographed by someone.
What concerns me more is that, after being considered the golden boy for so long, his place is under pressure and his tendency is then to try too hard (trying to beat 3-4 players instead of a simple lay-off) and when that fails, he starts getting a bit petulant. He’s always had a bit of a short fuse but, like Vieira, he needs to get control of it.
There’s no doubt the skill and talent is there but he needs some help between the ears – that’s meant in the nicest possible way.
Relax and keep it simple, Jack. Everything else will fall into place.
3 to 4 contenders for every position, even in multiple role permutations.
STRIKE: OG, AS, YS, Campbell
WLeft: LP, AS, Campbell, Santi, Ox
WRight: TW, Ox, Gnabs, AS
ACM: MO, SC, Ox, GZ?
CM: AR, JW, TR7, MO, Ox, AD, MF, Kim
DCM: MA, MF, AD, Coq, Kim?
etc etc not exhaustive
I’m fascinated to see Campbell’s part in all this.
Research tells us that teams strengthen effectively not by adding “marquee signings” where they are strong, which is the real reason we didn’t buy Cesc, but addressing the weakest links. Arsenal’s weakest links, in order, have been or will be: strike (addressed with Alexis, Sanogo-2nd season, Campbell, and we may yet have another), wide left (addressed with Alexis, Campbell), and defensive-mid (Mikel, Flam into twilight 30s and more limited roles, Diaby + Coq uncertain, so an area to be addressed).
RB addressed, good, we are quite strong there with youth element too and links to more youth. Keeper looks in hand. LB looks OK for now, moreso if TV5 stays, and I really liked Ignasi there and central, hope he comes back and sticks around. CB manageable if TV5 stays and there is a youth element, or old rear guard reserve (AZW obviously prefers these), in case of serious injury.
This is why I think the Khedira, Bender and other links probably carry a bit of weight. It’s not a crisis, but is a risk. It’s the obvious area for considerable depth and team balance.
On the whole Cesc thing, NB is right. He’s a Chelsea player now, respect and all but and he’s off the radar as an Arsenal discussion point, surely! He might be brilliant for them, so what? Or rubbish, so what? Or let’s talk about all the great midfielders in the vicinity. He’s a decent enough chap and good luck to him, that’s all. I suspect he’ll be a notable player there, better than we might have thought, better than Barca, and play exceptionally well with Hazard and Oscar at times. I doubt he’ll reach his Arsenal glory days, and his role will be more limited, rigid and somewhat defensive. You know Maureen’s style – … the best way to “not lose a game and win 1-0” is just let the opposition have a lot of the ball and do all the work, break up their play, then attack hard and fast. If that’s his big play between the sheets I pity his missus. I’m really not sure why Maureen snatched so fast; Cesc is not a Maureen Chelsea player, I would have thought more ManUnited. Pool would have been a good destination too.
Zim: I see JW as an attacking midfielder in the Ozil mould. Something about the left footedness, the ease with which he goes past one player, the little prompting passes he gives, the two steps ahead vision. The fact that we have two such players is really exciting. I’ve been looking at a lot of the highlights of our matches from last season on the arsenal player, and it is quite notable the prominent role that Jack played in so many of our goals.
Not sure Campbell plays wide left. Even when he was set up as central striker in CR games he naturally drifted to the right.
Sagna’s departure leaves two holes, the bigger of which we have filled. We still need a 4th CB, which is why I’d like a player like Song/Martinez/Gonalons/Gustavo who could drop back in a pinch. Or if there is till the option to being back Djourou from his loan. But I think that turned into a permanent deal.
We are better able to withstand injuries in our attack with Sanchez. But we were very lucky last year that Mertesacker wasn’t injured. He’ll be out for several weeks because if the WC and we have two CL qualifier games of utmost importance during that time. I like Miquek but he also hasn’t played much for Leicester this last season. I think we are a bit light at CB and cannot afford to let Vermaelen leave.
New post is up http://wp.me/p37nXa-10W
KIM is gone. Was released three weeks ago. I would have liked his loan deal to be extended but it wasn’t. I think it’s high time for le COQ & MIGUEL to be prompted to the first team. No time like the present for them to show us if they have arrived.