Arsenal Player of the Month: September, with Culann Davies video
Okay, so Olivier Giroud had an impressive month, and Mesut Özil did what Mesut Özil does. But there’s no keeping Aaron Ramsey down. The Welshman was irrepressible, getting five goals in six games during September, taking his current goalscoring run to eight goals in nine games. As I emphasised last month, though, it’s not just his goals, but his all-round play. He’s doing everything at such a high level that it’s impossible to overlook him for this (highly prestigious) award.
Ramsey’s most influential performances were probably those against Sunderland and Swansea in the away league games. The fact that he outshone Mesut Özil making his debut at the Stadium of Light pretty much said everything – even on a day when the German delivered a heavenly assist, the man of the match had to be Aaron Ramsey. Partly for his two goals, which were both fantastic in their own right, but also for his all-round play. Tackles, pass, dribbles – the lot.
As for his performance against Swansea, he was a bit like the team – not quite at the required level in the first half before a magnificent five minute spell in which the goals came. After that, Ramsey helped the team to control the game and grab the victory. Despite a late scare, Ramsey was part of a side which defended in a disciplined way in order to ensure three points were taken, and that’s been a feature of Arsenal’s play lately, with Ramsey key as the box-to-box midfielder.
Having said above that it’s also his all-round game that is what he’s doing so well, I should mention his goals because the ones he scored against Sunderland and Swansea were fantastic. For his first against Sunderland he took up an intelligent position, demanded the ball and connected perfectly with Carl Jenkinson’s well-weighted cross, at a time when Arsenal really needed a goal. Ramsey delivered, and killed off the game a few minutes later.
Linking up well with Özil and Giroud, Ramsey laid the ball off and made a darting run into the space that had opened up in Sunderland’s defence. He got the ball back from Giroud and, after a perfect first touch, slipped it under the Sunderland goalkeeper to make it 3-1; game over. It’s one thing that Ramsey is scoring, but another that he’s winning games. Before his recent streak, he’d score goals to round the game off – Olympiakos, Fenerbahce and Portsmouth spring to mind. Now his goals are having a massive influence on games.
The same can be said for his goal against Swansea, after he had delightfully slipped Serge Gnabry in to give Arsenal the lead, as well as being unlucky not to have a second assist when he played Özil in on goal having led a fantastic counter-attack. For Ramsey’s goal, it was another counter-attack, which kicked into gear when he flicked Özil’s pass blindly into the path of Jack Wilshere. It was a little short but Jack got there, linked up with Giroud, who played it back to Ramsey, and what was so impressive again was his composure. Ramsey took it around the flailing defender, set himself and smashed it into the roof of the net. He may have been in a great position, but with players on the line and Vorm advancing, he had to aim carefully under pressure, and did so with ease.
His goals against Stoke and Marseille were less spectacular, but both were vital. It was important that Arsenal broke Stoke down early, so as not to let them retreat into a defensive shell (although one suspects that Arsenal may be better equipped to deal with that type of defending because they now have MESUT FREAKING ÖZIL), and Ramsey again supplied the cool finishing touch. As for his goal against Marseille, the game needed killing off, and that’s exactly what the Welshman did.
So, the run continues. There seems to be little stopping Aaron Ramsey – not even being put back on the wing, where he toiled a little in previous seasons. I’d mention that excellent performance of his against Napoli, but it was in October, and to be fair, I’ll probably end up talking about it next month when he gets this award for the third time in a row. He’s just playing that well right now.