In 2013/14, Aaron Ramsey enjoyed his breakout season. Having been a regular starter for Arsenal up to this point, this was the year in which he took the Premier League by the scruff of the neck and blasted in ten goals and eight assists.
He created a new role for himself within the Gunners setup, working off through balls from new signing Ozil and knock downs from Giroud, to attack opposition defences, and contributed heavily to some commanding Arsenal wins that season.
Undoubtedly one of the most important players in the Arsenal side, he has been hampered by a number of injuries during his time at Arsenal, most notably a horrific leg break at the boot of Ryan Shawcross in 2010. He spent much of 2010/11 recovering from that injury.
Six full seasons have passed since then, and Ramsey has started over 30 league games in three of those years. In the seasons in which Ramsey has started fewer than 30 games, he has scored a total of 17 league goals, more than half of his total career league goals. This is demonstration of how Ramsey’s injuries have affected him during his most prolific seasons.
Perhaps the most startling statistic regarding Aaron Ramsey is the number of chances he is involved in. In the three seasons in which Ramsey started more than 30 games, Arsenal created 85 big chances per season. In a season in which he started fewer than 30 games, the number of big chances plummeted to 61 per year.
The way in which Ramsey plays cannot be calculated. He doesn’t live for assists like Ozil, and cannot be judged on his passing stats like Xhaka. His ability to pick the ball up and drive at the opposition from midfield is unparalleled in the Premier League, except for Jack Wilshere. He almost scored from such an attack at Stamford Bridge at the weekend, and shows how hard it is to defend against him.
Since his breakout year in 2013/14, he has averaged 1.3 successful dribbles per game. this means that every game at least once he will pick up the ball and drive at the opposition. That’s the sort of football Arsenal fans want to see. Positive play that lifts the crowd and pushes the team forward.
Answering his Critics
A criticism levelled at Ramsey is that he gives the ball away too easily. Indeed, on average he is dispossessed 1.46 times per game. But compare that to some of Arsenals star men. Ozil is dispossessed 1.54 times per game, and Alexis Sanchez 2.6 times per game.
Ramsey is given stick by supporters for his lack of consistency, his lack of running, or his lack of technique. But he is one of the hardest workers, most consistent performers, and has saved us in the FA Cup twice now, both times with excellent finishing,
While his goals and assists throughout his Arsenal career haven’t hit the dizzying heights of Sanchez or Ozil, it would be foolish to suggest that he is anything less than one of Arsenals most vital players.