Few would have tipped either Andros Townsend or Aaron Ramsey to be the ones to lead the North London Premier League charge this season. Arsenal have begun the season playing a slick passing game that has rekindled memories of the glory days, and the Welshman has been integral to everything good at the Emirates. Cross over a few miles and Townsend has been lighting up N17 with his blistering pace and attacking menace, something that landed him a place in Roy Hodgson’s recent England side.
It is easy forget that both these early standout figures were merely peripheral for their respective sides last term. Townsend in particularly was restricted to mainly development level football at Tottenham, and an eventual loan deal with QPR in January. In fact it was this loan deal that really elevated the Englishman to the level that he finds himself at now, during those few months he proved to many of us that he was capable and indeed ready to flourish at the highest level of them all.
The situation wasn’t too dissimilar for Ramsey either, a shadow of his former self and struggling to re-find any real semblance of his best form. Ramsey had never really fully recovered from the brutal leg break that saw him out of action for many months. Physically he may have been fine but mentally the Welshman has yet to really get himself back to the level that many saw him at.
At 22 maybe we expected too much from Ramsey, the acquisition of Ozil has gone someway to take the strain off the shoulders of the Welshman and it is clear for all too see that he is reaping the benefits. 5 goals in 8 games with 3 assists, Ramsey like many of his teammates is on absolute fire and most importantly playing with a degree of confidence that is befitting of his talents.
Townsend’s sole league goal probably does him a slight injustice, the winger has been the main source of attacking craft for the ‘lilywhite’s and it is unsurprising that Levy has seen fit to tie the youngster down till at least 2018. The rise of Townsend coincided with the departure of Bale, and this is far from coincidental. Bale was the main wide attacking outlet for Spurs in the past few seasons and clearly his loss opened the door for someone else to step up to the plate, few would have expected Townsend to be the man.
Chadli, Lamela and Lennon may all have expected to be ahead of Townsend in the pecking order, but as of now the youngster is putting the rest to shame. Given the opportunity to impress, and fortunately been afforded the chance to tie down a starting berth, Townsend has flourished under the meritocratic AVB. Some may argue that it is impossible to keep a £30m record signing out of the team, but on current form it will definitely be someone else making way for the Argentinian if you ask me.
Whether you love or hate Wenger, his transfer stubbornness has allowed many of the talents that Arsenal already possess to flourish under his tutelage. Someone like Ramsey just needed a bit of faith placed in him, and when so many doubted his abilities his manager was fortunately there with a degree of persistence.
So many are caught up in the hype of new additions and big money transfers that they forget the untapped resources that their clubs already possess. Fortunately for both North London clubs they have the sort of manager that will always have a grasp of the readymade talents that they have at their disposal.
Ramsey and Townsend were clearly not the predicted spearheads for either club at start of the season, but when you look back on it, neither has had a rise back to prominence that was surprising. A couple of players with enormous talent, that have finally seen their potential realised.
Both players look to continue their relentless form, and who knows come May it could well be the form of both individuals that ultimately decides who comes out on top in the battle for North London honours.
Can Ramsey and Townsend continue their form and drive their respective clubs forward?
Join the debate below