Aaron Ramsey embraces great expectations for Arsenal and Wales

Arsenal’s recent 5-3 win over Chelsea capped a remarkable reversal of fortune for Arsene Wenger and his charges, ridiculed after a terrible start to the season and now lauded once more after winning five games on the trot. Parallels can be drawn with Aaron Ramsey’s performances thus far this term, initially criticised for his perceived indecision and restricting tempo, he has since flourished and now appears integral at the heart of Arsenal’s midfield.

With suitable candidates for criticism littered throughout the side, Ramsey appeared to be targeted as he undertook the unenviable task of filling the void left by the departures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri. Having endured such a horrific, career threatening double fracture of his right leg, Arsenal are very fortunate that he is once again a viable option, Eduardo never recovered physically or psychologically from a similar injury.

Ramsey’s strength, technique and form appear to be improving with every game and Arsene Wenger is confident that he can make a significant impact this season. “He is gaining his touch again because he lost that a little bit for a while,” explained Wenger recently.

The manager continued: “Now the speed of movement of his feet is there again, but let me tell you it takes a long time. Aaron is a different player (to Cesc Fabregas). He is more a guy who makes good runs into the box and is a good finisher but he has good vision when he has the ball at his feet. Aaron has strong physical qualities. If he develops his game well he can finish with double figures in the Premier League.

Ramsey impressed in the 3-0 win over Bolton, providing an assist for Robin van Persie, also scoring Arsenal’s equaliser at White Hart Lane, as Arsenal eventually lost the North London derby 2-1. He emerged from the bench to bag the winner deep in to injury time in the Champions League tie with Marseille in France before a dazzling display against Chelsea at the weekend. Ramsey has four Premier League assists thus far and his international performances have been every bit as impressive.

Appointed just before Christmas last year, Gary Speed had no qualms about making Ramsey his captain, despite his recent return from injury and only just turning 20 at the time. Ramsey’s first game as skipper was the 2-0 home defeat against England, where he appeared to be trying too hard to impress in his new role. He has since grown in to his position of authority and Wales have gone from their lowest ever position in the FIFA rankings (117th) to their highest in 16 years (45th) on his watch. Winning four of their past five games, Ramsey has contributed three goals during this run, as he shares the burden of a nation’s aspirations with Gareth Bale.

Ramsey started but was substituted during Tuesday’s Champions League tie with Marseille at the Emirates, as Arsenal failed to break their visitors’ stubborn resistance. A victory would have secured qualification for the knockout stage with two rounds remaining, but they remain top of their group after drawing the match 0-0. The Gunners host West Brom at the weekend before Aaron Ramsey heads off to lead Wales against Norway in Cardiff the following week, as the rehabilitation of both his injury and reputation continues.

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