Aaron Ramsey had an...uneven year this year, his first full season after suffering a horrendous broken leg at the hands (or foot, I guess) of Stoke City's Ryan Shawcross in February of 2010. He made appearances in midfield primarily, some as an attacker and some lying deeper, and also played on the left wing a few times. Frankly he didn't produce a ton, and when really off his game, he was really off his game. But he was there again and again, for better or for worse: he made 44 appearances in all competitions this year (35 as a starter, nine in relief), greatly outpacing his previous season high, and scored three times.
Our individual reviews come after the poll and the jump.
Paul: In a lot of ways, I feel bad for Aaron Ramsey. After being Shawcrossed a couple years ago, he was unfortunately held to some unrealistic expectations upon his return - nothing short of awesomeness would convince Arsenal fans that Ramsey was worth waiting for. Sadly, the way life works is not always the way we want it to work - Ramsey, to put it mildly, wasn't awesome this year. He wasn't terrible, but his game tends to suffer because he thinks he's better with the ball than he is. A lot of careless giveaways and sloppy passing really hurt him this season. and while he works his ass off most games, he really doesn't have a lot to show for it. I'm willing to be patient with him, but next year he'd better show some improvement over this year or I'll be anxious to see where he ends up playing in 2013/14.
Aidan: Before I go on to criticse Aaron Ramsey, I want to make it clear that in no way do I condone people who say Arsenal should sell him or say that a 21 year old is not going to make it. Ramsey's had a lot to comeback from, but he did comeback, and was starting to get into some excellent form before tiredness hit him; he played nearly every game in the first half of the season. There was also the tragic suicide of his national team manager, Gary Speed, a man who believed so much in Ramsey that he made him captain at age 20. All of this, I think, weighed on Ramsey to the extent that the Ramsey that we saw in the second half of the season was a completely different player to the Ramsey we saw in the first half. And the Ramsey we saw in the first half was pretty good; no where near Cesc Fabregas at age 20 good, as some people claimed, but a solid player, someone who moved the ball in a much more threatening and quicker manner to the Ramsey in the second half. He's industrious, and his energetic pressing was key, but his ability to play a through ball was sometimes lacking, as was his finishing, which, quite frankly, was awful. That can be worked on, though, and Ramsey may yet turn out to be a very good player. One thing that would help would be if everyone could figure out his best position; I'm not sure he or Arsene Wenger know what it is.
Ted: Aaron Ramsey is a player that sort of feels like he's slipping through the cracks to me. Of course, he's 21 years old and missed a great deal of time due to someone breaking his leg into a hundred pieces, but the more I watch Ramsey play, the less sure I am of what type of player he is, aside from a tired one. Judging him on the past year alone, with no consideration taken for his talent and future potential, I would have to say that it was disappointing overall. My main beef with Ramsey is that he almost always seems to take an extra touch before moving the ball. It's entirely possible that this is related to confidence, but I was frustrated by it a lot last year, because it disrupts the tempo of Arsenal's attack and slows down any potential counterattacks, counters which are extremely useful against teams who try to park the bus. Ramsey also shot poorly this year, scoring on far fewer of his shots than the league average. Whether he ends up being a playmaker in the Fabregas mold (increasingly looking less likely) or an attacking mid in the Lampard mold (much more likely, and not at all a bad thing, but might require some different kind of tactics on Arsenal's part from time to time), Ramsey can still be a great player, but this past season was just a bummer for him more often than not. He'll turn it around.
Thomas: I don't know that any Arsenal player has ever caused me more discomfort, either directly or indirectly, than Aaron Ramsey. And honestly, most of it wasn't his fault. Most of it was caused by people's reactions to Ramsey, which I felt were predominantly knee-jerk at best, and pretty deplorable at worst. A 21-year-old man received death threats, about a year removed from having his leg broken in two places and in a year where his idol and mentor committed suicide, because people thought he didn't circulate the ball fast enough. People talk about the influence of money on the game (and other stuff) making them feel sick; this is what does it for me. Endless abuse of a player who is doing what he can in an awful situation solves nothing, and honestly I was pretty disappointed in Arsenal fans for much of the second half of the season for this. And there's a difference between that and fair criticism, which is something Ramsey certainly earned through his production on the pitch. He wasn't great, that's for sure - but it was never for lack of effort, and there are reasons (not excuses, but real, viable reasons) for it. Jack Wilshere got hurt, and we needed Ramsey to play more than I'm sure any doctor would have recommended, and honestly it's a miracle that the only adverse effects suffered were fatigue, poor play, and boos rather than a re-injury of the leg. He needs a position, he needs to think quicker, and he needs to work on his finishing. He does not need to be sold, or cut, or sent adrift in the Arctic Ocean. And if he can do the things he needs to do, hopefully he'll never have to go through this again.
Grade: Go take a vacation, dude