Oh Aaron, where did it all go wrong?

Opinion

We fans are fickle. We try to not be and even give ourselves a good talking to to try and stop. But we just can’t help ourselves. There are times when the frustration and sometimes anger just spill out. At the moment for us Arsenal supporters, this is being channelled in one direction. That direction is Aaron Ramsey.

I am all for supporting your players, but Ramsey does not seem to be improving.

It seems so long ago that Ramsey had the sort of season where you just sat back and enjoyed him as a player. Everything he touched went in and he chipped in with assists too. 10 of them in fact and with 16 goals, it was a season to remember for him. This was the 2013/2014 season which, let’s be honest, is a long time ago.

At the end of the season everyone sat up and noticed. Arsenal had a star midfielder who looked the real deal and suddenly Ramsey’s name was being mentioned of potential moves to Barcelona.

The question is what went wrong? Where did it go wrong? And when did it all go wrong? Actually, that’s a few questions isn’t it?

In that wonder season Ramsey only played 23 league games, having been out injured from the end of December to early April with a thigh muscle strain. The following season he still missed 17 matches through injury, a troublesome hamstring causing him grief. Add in another thigh problem and maybe we are starting to see what the problem is. It seems Ramsey has still not recovered.

His goal scoring form had dropped with only 6 in the league. This was not down to Ramsey not getting into positions last season. If you look at Ramsey’s stats he hit the target with a fantastic 71% of his shots in his wonder season. In the 2014 / 15 season his shot accuracy had decreased to 37%. Also in the same season his tackling percentage had decreased, 52% successful tackles in 2013/14 compared to just 30% in 2014/15.

Is this a confidence issue? Or maybe the same injuries causing Ramsey to adapt his game?

During the 2015/16 season, he did manage to play in 31 league games of which he started 29. Again his goal scoring record was only 5 goals. Aaron was only able to assist his team mates on 4 occasions. Again he managed to pick up similar injuries. Missing 7 games with a thigh injury and 5 with a hamstring injury.

Now you could forgive Ramsey for having one eye on the European Championships last season and he was excellent for Wales in the tournament. All Arsenal fans felt Rambo was back.

We approached the current season with high hopes for him. However, an injury at the start of the season and then during December meant he has missed 19 games already. The injuries remain the same and again it was Aaron’s hamstring.

His latest injury against Watford actually had the supporters cheering, mainly due to his shocking 20-minute cameo before going off injured. Yes, he was that bad.

Arsenal supporters like to point to some of the positions he has been started in as being an issue. Wide right has long been a favourite choice for Arsene Wenger. This is probably not Ramsey’s best position as he isn’t the quickest of players. But, he does work hard and track back which may be why Wenger keeps insisting Ramsey play there. What Ramsey used to do well was get from box to box. He is an amazingly fit player, when fit, and any team would love his energy of getting up and down the pitch.

I feel so many injuries, which has made it fairly stop start for Aaron in the last three seasons and playing is different positions,
have taken their toll. It has certainly affected his confidence and one thing Ramsey needs is confidence.

Is this the reason why Wenger continues to insist on playing a player so clearly out of form? Maybe dropping Ramsey altogether will not help the player, and by playing him week in and week out, Wenger hopes he will at some point play himself back into form. How much of this is having a detrimental effect on the team? At present everyone can see how much he is struggling and the supporters can’t understand how he can warrant playing in the starting 11. Ramsey looks so devoid of confidence that even the simplest of things look hard for him.
Does a player become a bad player overnight? No of course not. But Ramsey is struggling to find top form for Arsenal.

We saw for Wales he still has that quality inside him and again with the momentum and confidence the Welsh were showing, Ramsey was thriving in the European Championship bubble.

Then back to reality with Arsenal. There were more injuries with the troublesome hamstrings and confidence drained from the player.

For Ramsey it seems reoccurring injuries and a lack of playing time affect him. This in turn affects his confidence. We then see what we are seeing now, which is a player so out of form you wonder if a change of club would be best for both parties.

We all enjoyed Ramsey’s wonder season, we all enjoyed Ramsey turning in quality performances for Wales – well some of us did. Somehow Ramsey needs to get some confidence and in all honesty away from the limelight of the starting eleven.

We want that all action midfield player back that performed so well for Wales only a few months ago. We want our Aaron Ramsey back.