Aaron Ramsey is in the best form of his career, and credit should go towards both the player and the manager for turning this around. But there’s a great irritation away from the pitch about all of this.
For the best part of the last two years, Ramsey’s form was horrendous and he was at the centre of a lot of what was bad about Arsenal’s play: too slow, losing the ball in key areas of the pitch, ineffective when playing as the team’s No. 10, and even worse when deployed on the flanks. I believe that a lot of the anger towards Ramsey came to the fore due to the frustration towards the club as a whole; the player, like is often the case in sports, became a scapegoat. But at the same time, that isn’t to say he was undeserving of criticism, and by criticism, I’m not acknowledging and certainly not condoning the behaviour of those who threw death threats his way. But if a player is underperforming, fans have a right voice their opinion.
So let’s not try and support the idea that fans who criticised Ramsey for his poor form in the past have no right to celebrate his successes now. All that does is speak of the idiotic nature of sports fans. Whether they’re intentionally following this illogical path because they’re on a wind up or if they actually believe it is another matter.
It has absolutely nothing to do with being short-sighted. For the sake of Ramsey’s development, it was no good using him as an option at Arsenal, where the annoyance at his presence in the team reached fever pitch at one stage. Another loan signing may have worked, but once again, credit to the player and management for riding out the storm. It should always be noted that Ramsey’s character is to be greatly admired, such is the way he came out of that particular dark spell in his career.
It would also be remiss to ignore the influence of figures currently in the Arsenal team. Ramsey was already looking a different player at the end of last season, and his form in preseason certainly showed that Arsenal were finally seeing a return on their investment – remember, if Ramsey realises his potential and builds on what we’ve seen, that investment only cost the club £5 million. But having Mesut Ozil in the team should also be acknowledged as an influence, with the German not only raising the morale in the squad but also acting as guidance to the younger midfielders. There’s a new confidence about Ramsey, but it’s also owed to by the player’s surroundings at the club.
But to return to the topic of short-sighted fans, it a ridiculous statement to make, especially considering how quickly and dramatically things can change in football. But to humour those who want to continue on this wavelength, what about bringing up Tottenham and how close they were to flogging Gareth Bale for £3 million a few years ago. Short-sighted?
Ramsey has always had it in him to be a good player, but as mentioned the circumstances weren’t always right for him to continue on his path to full recovery at the Emirates. The fans were frustrated and needed very little to be tipped over the edge. Neither the supporters nor Ramsey were right for each other’s company as recently as the turn of this year. For those who are now using Ramsey’s form as a stick to beat fans who were frustrated, well those are the childish minority, ones who are more interested in getting one over on the rest of the fan base than anything else, while completely forgetting or ignoring the fact that things like this happen in sports all the time.
Another plus to talk about from Ramsey is the way he conducts himself off the pitch and the manner in which he speaks. It can be easy to forget he’s only 22, but with the experience of having captained Wales already, he could be one of the realistic options in line to eventually take over the captaincy at Arsenal.
Should fans be criticised for becoming frustrated with Ramsey’s poor form in the past?
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