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Aaron Ramsey, you'll always be my hero

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 24: Aaron Ramsey of Arsenal reacts after missing a goal scoring chance during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Arsenal at Villa Park on November 24, 2012 in Birmingham, England.

After a 5-2 hammering of Spurs and qualifying for the Champions league knockout stages for the 13th time in a row, one bad result against Aston Villa has brought the haters out of their hiding. The chants are here once again: “Same Old Arsenal“. Just when you think they’ve got their carriage back on track, they make spurn a glorious chance to climb up the table.

Isn’t that what most fans feel? At least most do. And with great results come great frustration.
While Gervinho has been introduced only recently to this pessimistic side of Arsenal fans, another name that has been a regular entry on the ‘hate list’ is the former Welsh captain. Aaron Ramsey, having been here at Arsenal Football Club for over four and a half years now has failed to make a permanent place for himself in fans’ hearts.

Generally, what plastic supporters tend to see is only whether a player creates a chance or scores. How he plays in the position he’s assigned goes unnoticed. How many times do you see Xavi or Iniesta get on the score sheet? And still how many games do they start? Almost every one of them.

A midfielder’s job is to mainly provide through balls and create opportunities for the strikers to finish the job and maybe occasionally get on the score sheet themselves. At the same time, if a player misses open chances like Ramsey did against Villa yesterday, on a saturated, soaking wet pitch, he could be blamed to some extent, but he surely doesn’t deserve to have all fingers pointing at him.

Many of you may say he’s useless and Wilshere is a class apart. But I’d say Ramsey is a class apart. Here’s why:

The Injury:

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 27: Ryan Shawcross of Stoke City is sent off by Referee Peter Walton for a challenge on Aaron Ramsey of Arsenal during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Arsenal at The Britannia Stadium on February 27, 2010 in Stoke on Trent, England.

After joining Arsenal, Aaron was considered one of the best in the business. With first team chances limited, he made the most of it whenever given an opportunity and Arsenal fans really took a liking for him.

In 2010, in a game against Stoke City, a horrific tackle by Ryan Shawcross saw him writhing in pain with TV cameras preferring not to show replays of the incident. As the Stoke defender walked back after being red carded, he was in tears along with many other players who witnessed what had just happened. The remainder of the game was played out just as a formality as the players were still trying to recover from the shock.

This incident drew a lot of pity from people all around, but was forgotten soon enough. Comparatively, with Jack Wilshere‘s injury, fans tracked his progress every day of the year till he got back onto the pitch. Why the biased behaviour?

Once Ramsey returned, he found a permanent first team place hard to find with Wilshere and Diaby on the sidelines. And ultimately, he was part of the squad that climbed up to the third position in the league table from an initial 17th and earned praise for the remarkable comebacks Arsenal mounted against the big guns in England as well as Europe.

Flexibility and Humility:

CARDIFF, WALES – OCTOBER 12: Wales player Aaron Ramsey in action during the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier Group A match between Wales and Scotland at Cardiff City Stadium on October 12, 2012 in Cardiff, Wales.

With Walcott and Gervinho carrying occasional knocks here and there this season, the Welshman has been made to play out of position many a time. Sometimes as a central midfielder, sometimes an offensive midfielder and occasionally even on the wing. In all three positions, he’s done remarkably, but hasn’t scored or assisted and that was all that mattered, didn’t it?

Every time he missed a chance, you could see disappointment written all over his face. There was the urge to score, but sometimes things just don’t click for you. But every time he comes onto the pitch, he gives it his all and plays with his heart on his sleeve. He is one of the few players to have never got into a row with the manager, be it over contracts or first team chances and has not even gotten into any scandals like other football stars.

Also, like the Suarez-Evra racism incident saw both of them not shaking hands the next time they met, Ramsey had no such qualms when he came across the player who may have been responsible for ending his career.

And now, people have taken to social networking sites, calling him the worst player to ever put on an Arsenal shirt. Such bold statements don’t disappoint. They make you laugh, as it just shows what knowledge these football fans have. Most of them come up with jokes about his curse – that when he scores, someone passes away.

Well, if that’s how people feel, then isn’t it better that he not score?

Coming back from an injury that keeps a player out for a year, the level of expectations seem to rise from the very first game that the player plays. However unrealistic that is, what is troubling is that that is is not the case all around. When Jack came back, the supporters were very supportive and are now giving him all the time he needs, which is fair enough.

But why not once believe in Ramsey?

Even after being stripped of his Wales captaincy, can’t we once be supportive of him? Has he done so bad that we lose all our faith in him? I don’t know what most of you would feel, but There is only one Aaron Ramsey and he’ll always be my hero.

This apt video goes through all the emotions he’s dealt with:

And if the world ever says that Ramsey doesn’t deserve Arsenal, I’d tell the world that Arsenal don’t deserve Ramsey.

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