After goals against Sunderland and Aston Villa, Aaron Ramsey received huge praise.
A return to a central midfield role gave him freedom to roam and join in with attacks from dangerous areas in the middle of the pitch, but he was questioned for the spaces he was leaving behind him.
Around came a game against Manchester City, with David Silva and Yaya Touré in the middle of the park. Against a real test, would Ramsey’s marauding cost Arsenal? It didn’t. Incredibly, his passing and end product drew negative comments after the game, suggesting his performance wasn’t polished enough.
Firstly, it completely ignores the fact that his incredible engine and movement aided the Gunners’ attempts to hit City on the break. Ramsey’s one real chance of the game saw him beat Joe Hart, only for it hit to the England goalkeeper in the face.
Yaya Touré escaped Ramsey to score the visitors’ consolation goal, but the Welshman’s performance was otherwise excellent. People questioning his technique are laughable – two of Ramsey’s best moments on Monday came in the second half as he nutmegged Eliaquim Mangala with a Cruyff turn and he turned away from David Silva excellently minutes later.
— UpdatedAFC (@UpdatedAFC) December 22, 2015
His ability to work out of small spaces is underrated.
Throughout the game, Arsenal dropped into a low block and stifled their opponents. The abilities of David Silva, Sergio Agüero, Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and Touré are massive, but they couldn’t break Arsenal down as the entire midfield tucked in and blocked passing channels, just as they did against Bayern Munich in October.
This time around the pair at the base of the midfield consisted of Mathieu Flamini and Aaron Ramsey, who were both brilliant. Not once were Arsenal caught out on the break because Ramsey had neglected his duties. As he delivered sensible and disciplined performance that some apparently consider him capable of, he was (harshly) criticised for other aspects of his game.
I have my favourite players, just as anyone else does, but looking for the excuse to criticise is pathetic. Aaron Ramsey’s end product is excellent and his discipline is attacked. He gives Arsenal a mixture of everything you want from a midfielder, but somehow still upsets people. Sit back, relax, and watch Ramsey continue his development as he becomes one of the finest midfielders the club has ever had.