My stance on Aaron Ramsey is well-established here, and I don't think I need to rehash it in full and waste everyone's time. He's finally close to getting back to where he was (quality-wise) before he got Shawcrossed, and he's done it all under the yoke of unnecessary and unhelpful abuse and pressure from a larger section of Arsenal fans than I'm proud of. Frankly, I don't think people who were against him before should be allowed to enjoy him now, but I can't really enforce that, so I'll have to live with it.
If you don't like Aaron Ramsey, go to hell. Aaron Ramsey owns.
- Me, in last year's review of Aaron Ramsey
I don't think anyone's going to disagree with me now, except for maybe the most contrarian or ill-informed. If we did a Player Of The Year here on The Short Fuse, I'm fairly certain that it would end just about exactly the same way the Arsenal website vote did. And it wouldn't be close, I'd bet.
For years we've been waiting on Aaron Ramsey's potential to become reality. At first it was just that he was young, and growing. Then his leg was broken just as he was starting to really shine, and so we had to wait even longer. Through the fire of injury and the brimstone of the terraces and Twitter, and a few years of subpar and inconsistent play, there was always still the promise of what had been before and what might return. And even as some fans lagged behind, last year he started to come around. He finished the year with a goal against Wigan in the penultimate game.
A new season dawned, and Ramsey was almost immediately the team's key player. He (along with others, of course) led Arsenal up the league table to its summit, and helped to keep us there into the Christmas season. It was awesome. He did things like this, against Norwich, on a pretty regular basis.
And then on Boxing Day, he picked up a thigh injury. He was supposed to miss a few weeks. He next played in April. In that time, Arsenal went from having a two-point lead on Manchester City atop the table to fourth place, ten points behind Liverpool. Other factors played into it, but I really can't help thinking that if he'd stayed healthy, Arsenal would have at least continued to seriously challenge for the title. And we might have won it.
Ramsey's return helped Arsenal to secure that top-four position and qualify for the Champions League. And his performances were more or less the same as before the injury. He scored this goal on the last day of the season, so I'm not too worried that his amazing run was form, rather than class.
And then, of course, the FA Cup final. After a performance that was pretty much just okay, Ramsey scored the cup-winning goal to break Arsenal's years-long trophy drought. Tears were shed, throats were screamed hoarse, alcohol was enjoyed. It was a good day.
Looking at Ramsey's celebration, it feels like more than "just" the look of a man who just won his club a trophy. It looks like someone who's had a huge weight lifted off his shoulders, years of struggle to find what he once had complete and passed with flying colors. When you haven't won for a while, it can be pretty goddamn cathartic to do it again. Arsenal fans know that after this year. So does Aaron Ramsey.