By Avenell Dave
I’ve always been an admirer of Aaron Ramsey.
He was shunted all over the place when he first arrived, struggling to assert himself and then when he did start to find form, Ryan Shawcross shattered his ankle.
You may recall that he scored the winner against Manchester United soon after returning and while his performances last season were not top top quality, he still showed enough promise and skill to suggest that he was a top player in the making.
My neighbours, who almost always call it right, shared my admiration of him even then.
He never goes missing in games, he covers more of the pitch than anyone else – just look at his stats and the amount of miles he covers in a game – and he always tries to make things happen.
It bemuses me how quickly some of our fans have been to get on his back.
If everyone showed the same commitment and work rate that he does – I’m thinking of you, Theo Walcott! – who knows how much more successful we could be?
The problem Ramsey has is that in the current formation – which was designed to accommodate the best of Cesc Fabregas – where does he fit in when everyone is fit?
For me, the answer is simple.
If he is the runner and Mesut Ozil the playmaker, then all we have to worry about is who takes the third place, be it Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta or Mathieu Flamini.
Flamini would be the obvious choice given his defensive capabilities although we say on Saturday that he can go missing when it comes to shielding the defence in a way that Manu Petit used to do.
Going back to Ramsey, though and he has the potential to be as good a midfielder as Bryan Robson, Roy Keane or Patrick Vieira. He really is that good.
The fact that he has added goals to his repertoire gives him further value to a side already brimming with opportunity.
You could argue that Arsene Wenger has actually proved himself once again by persisting with a player of top quality even when he went through a long indifferent spell, because he knew that the player would come through it and be the better for it.
Let’s not forget that we have now suffered one defeat in 17 games and while there is plenty more of the season left to go –and our squad are stretched to breaking point with Santi Cazorla added to the absentees – we’re in as good a position in mid-September as we have been for some time.
No one should get carried away and we know that the squad has deficiencies and weaknesses that top sides could exploit, but we’ve put the Villa debacle behind us and that’s as mucha s we could hope for at this stage of the season.