“If I go to sleep I will wake up and find him in my place. No, it is true.”

The aforementioned words emanated from former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas. At the time, not many contemplated the prospect of Ramsey flourishing in the role vacated by Fabregas. Fast forward four years and Ramsey has been the subject of universal praise. He may not be a clairvoyant, but Fabregas knew early on that Ramsey had immense potential.

It is a belief shared wholeheartedly by Arsène Wenger. The Arsenal manager’s undying faith in youngsters is bearing fruit once again. However, it has been an arduous journey for the Welshman.

Thrust in to a disjointed Arsenal midfield at the start of the 2011/2012 season, in the wake of Fabregas and Nasri’s departures, Ramsey drew the ire of most Arsenal fans for his inconsistent displays – but Ramsey and Wenger persevered. The tragic demise of his mentor Gary Speed, coach of Wales at the time, also took its toll undoubtedly.

It was not until the tail end of last season that Ramsey started to show glimpses of form.

It was not until the tail end of last season that Ramsey, or ‘Rambo’ as he is affectionately addressed by Arsenal players and fans likewise, started to show glimpses of form. His time on the right wing last season may have been a blessing in disguise, given his form in front of goal. Perhaps it may also be the reason for his new found goal scoring ability. Furthermore, Ramsey has delineated selflessness by willing to play at full back when warranted last season.

 His time on the right wing last season may have been a blessing in disguise, given his form in front of goal.

Ramsey has carried on this season in scintillating form. 11 goals in 17 appearances are testament to such sparkling performances. In 5 previous, albeit injury ravaged seasons, Ramsey amassed just 11 goals in 150 appearances. Suffice to say, he has doubled his tally this season. More willing to shoot from distance now than before, the quality of his goals has also ameliorated. A goal of the season contender against Norwich City is evidence. A deft volley against Fenerbahçe and a first time volley at the Stadium of Light are further proof of his augmented composure in the final third of the pitch as well.

The rejuvenation of Ramsey is not just limited to his goal scoring prowess. He has also developed his goal creating capacity. Five assists this season establish said development. A sublime through ball for Theo Walcott’s opener against Manchester City in pre-season is just one instance, and his movement for Özil’s stunner against Napoli is further example of his all round game play. Giroud’s excellent hold up play enabled Ramsey to deliver a cross, which may have seemed miscued primarily, but found Özil with precision, who finished emphatically without breaking stride.

Aaron Ramsey is well worthy of the plaudits he has won.

“I watch the way Ramsey is playing now, how he looks so liberated, and I think maybe I blocked his way. Maybe I was an obstacle. Sometimes you need someone to leave for you to step forward and say: I’m here.” Such is the opinion of Cesc Fabregas now, a glowing exemplification of Ramsey’s renaissance.

All in all, Aaron Ramsey is well worthy of the plaudits he has won. In a lengthy season spanning three competitions, Arsenal will need Ramsey to deliver. All evidence shows that Ramsey will duly respond.

Ibrahim Rizwan

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