Judging my Aaron Ramsey’s current goal involvement frequency and his, somewhat surprisingly, RW selection ahead of Theo or Welbs – one would safely assume his form has returned. Seemingly lost amidst a flurry of niggling knocks, Ramsey has had a very frustrating follow up season to the all-encompassing Lampard, Gerrard et al-style roadshow he delivered last time around. Scoring the winner in a cup final was the ultimate icing on what finally appeared to be the justification of endless promise. The goals flowed all season, assuming a variety of guises of which my personal favourite was the long-range thunderbastard against Liverpool, and the inevitable award recognition followed. Winning 4 Arsenal player of the month awards, along with the season prize, his confidence appeared to strengthen from month to month. A welsh boy outshining the international roster all around him.
A summer without distraction, Wales missing out on the World Cup, allowed a great reflection period to provide optimum preparation for the next campaign. It seemed to have work. 3 key goals in August - City at Wembley, the winner vs Palace & an important goal at Goodison, left Aaron blazing a fresh trail of scoresheet dominance. Then arose the injuries debacle. Despite missing 21 games in his super-season, surely he could ill afford a similar absence whilst maintaining such form. Sure enough, this theory materialised. 3 sizeable periods, primarily hamstring led, disrupted the bulk of the campaign and little opportunity to provide a familiar stamp on proceedings arose. The periodic spread of the injuries confirmed that.
Roll on to the run-in, and guess what – Rambo’s back. In a run highly reminiscent of said season gone by, there’s little coincidence that 8 consecutive Premier League victories have now materialised. All whilst playing out of his preferred position in an area where several talented assets are clawing at his coattails. His potential finally reaching consistency? Previous stalwarts certainly believe so.
Maintaining this shall swiftly become the next challenge in a quite remarkable career thus far – Stoke-gate, the trials and tribulations with Wales, reaching an FA cup final in his teens with Cardiff. Quite the building of one’s character you would imagine. A point that defines the over-arching commitment within this article – to offer Aaron Ramsey as Arsenal’s next captain.
With Per Mertesacker the on-field captain this season, who could struggle to confirm such regularity on-field next season with the seemingly inevitable print Gabriel is set to make, and the club captain Mikel Arteta emphatically displaced initially to injury but more recently to another type of disturber, Francis Coquelin – the position of Commander-In-Chief seems set for yet another refresh. A duty not quite established satisfactorily since the days of Silva and Vieira. It’s time to right that wrong, and for me, Aaron Ramsey is the selection. Hugely likable, incredibly vocal on the field and in possession of all the required attributes – determination, commitment, desire and most importantly, attitude and maturity. There really are few alternatives.
Mikel and our BFG are both leaders, powerhouses in a previously fragile environment, but they don’t require an authoritative armband to maintain that. Their presence will remain central. Elevating a younger, more consistent and long-term thinking option into the role is exactly what we need. For long periods, Jack was lobbied as that individual but he has much to establish including an understanding of his best position and a search for tactical discipline seemingly lost. Laurent Koscielny doesn’t have the persona despite his borderline world-class technical attributes. Ozil, our other World Cup winner, needn’t apply. Alexis, perhaps the most inspirational to others, offers a different brand of leadership and under his helm, injuries would surely mount further with his unquenchable thirst regardless of positioning within the infamous ‘red zone’. Beyond that, the options dwindle.
It seems the path Ramsey has tread, trial and tribulation aplenty, have led him to this cusp. 150 games now played for the Arsenal. If ever an apprenticeship required a landmark, this figure seems apt. Having already sampled the role for Wales, arguably before he should, is there a better option amongst us? If not, then why wait much longer? As Arsene recently shared:
Arsène Wenger: "We have a good mentality and good cohesion in the team. There is something happening." pic.twitter.com/MHyz8nFHHl— The Highbury Clock (@HighburyClock) April 6, 2015
In what is becoming a period of diminishing weak spots, let’s ascertain this area and set in motion a legacy that defines Wenger’s last hurrah. Like all the great Premier League teams, a familiar and longstanding captain appointment has always remained central to the overall glory – Vincent Kompany, John Terry, Rio Ferdinand – it’s vital we recognise that and make amend for seasons gone by. Let’s appoint Captain Rambo, and let’s do it now.
Thank you for reading. If you agree, disagree or feel alternative option need discussion then please do comment and share @WilliamConboy