Monday, September 30, 2013

Paul Abbandonato: Aaron Ramsey was the star man as Arsenal saw off Swansea City

Paul Abbandonato: Aaron Ramsey was the star man as Arsenal saw off Swansea City

  Head of Sport Paul Abbandonato takes a look at Wales star Aaron Ramsey's contribution to Arsenal's win at Swansea City.
“He scores when he wants,” sang the Arsenal fans of Aaron Ramsey , a chant once reserved for their favourite son Robin van Persie.
First by those very same Gunners supporters, more recently by Manchester United followers since the Dutchman’s title-winning switch to Old Trafford.Van Persie, for some time, has been the master marksman of the Premier League, but even he would be proud of the rich vein of scoring form Ramsey is currently in the middle of.
The Welsh youngster’s winner at the Liberty Stadium was his eighth goal in the last nine Arsenal matches and his ninth already of the 2013-14 season when you throw in a penalty for Wales in Macedonia.
Van Persie, of course, is an out-and-out striker expected to only score goals for struggling Manchester United. Ramsey is a box-to-box midfielder who contributes throughout the pitch. And how.
To put his current achievements into some sort of context, perhaps I should point out Ramsey scored three goals in 52 matches last season.
Already he has trebled that tally, prompting Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger to say afterwards: “If he carries on at this rate, Aaron will have around 40 goals for the season!”
nZNTOkYapA8 That, of course, is not going to happen. But if there is some solace for Swansea fans in defeat to Arsenal, it is that the Welsh youngster is fully recovered from the horror leg break that could have finished his career and displaying the midfield magnificence those who brought him through the age-grade system here always gushed so profusely about.
John Toshack’s former Wales youth guru Brian Flynn used to argue, many years ago, that by the time they reached their mid-20s, three largely unknown Welsh teenagers would be the best in their positions in the Premier League.
Gareth Bale got there quickest and Ramsey is the man of the moment. Goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey hasn’t made it, but hey, two out of three isn’t bad!
It’s stretching it a little, I guess, to suggest Ramsey is better just yet than Yaya Toure, Steven Gerrard or other midfield greats who strut their stuff week-in, week-out in the hurly-burly of the top flight.
But he is younger than the rest of them and, at just 22, is going to get better and better. And better again.
Pick any Premier League star XI at the moment, and his would be one of the first names on the team-sheet.
Put it this way. The London media harp on and on about Mezut Ozil and Jack Wilshere and I can understand why because they are wonderful players.
But without Ramsey, Arsenal would not be top of the table, simple as that. They haven’t made it there because of Ozil and Wilshere, they have done it because of Ramsey.
You judge a player best by how much he influences a match and Arsenal would not have beaten the Swans were it not for Ramsey.
And I’m not just talking about his goal. At the Liberty, he produced the most complete midfield display I’ve seen from anyone for quite some time.
In the first half, when if anything the Swans had the better of things, Ramsey was the only one trying to get Arsenal to go forward, and also had a fire-fight to stop Michael Laudrup’s side creating anything of note, as Wilshere and Ozil went missing. In the second half he was even better. He tackled back, won possession, kept the ball, dribbled, created Arsenal’s best chances.
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