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Wenger tips midfielder to bounce back

Arsene supports struggling Ramsey

By | 8th May 2012

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger believes that the strong criticism unleashed at youngster Aaron Ramsey in recent weeks will only make the midfielder emerge as a stronger player.

Wenger, who signed Ramsey from Cardiff City in 2008, has helped the Welshman gradually developed into one of the regulars in the Gunners side but despite the player’s tremendous promise, certain sections of the club’s supporters have lost patience with the 21-year old.

Towards the end of last season, Ramsey famously scored the decisive goal in a 1-0 home win over Manchester United and showed signs that he would ultimately be a worthy replacement for outgoing former captain Cesc Fabregas.

Unfortunately, injuries and an expedited transfer of major midfield responsibilities have prevented him from performing optimally and some Arsenal fans have aggressively called for Wenger to drop the youngster.

The criticism of Ramsey reached its peak following the Gunners’ frustrating 3-3 draw at home to Norwich on Saturday afternoon but Wenger urged supporters to remain patient.

“It is part of learning your job, you have to deal with all kinds of situations and he will do that. He is very strong mentally and is going through a difficult period at the moment. But he will come off that stronger,” Wenger asserted immediately after the full-time whistle against the Canaries.

When it came to assessing his team’s collective efforts, though, Wenger was left in no position to preach much patience.

“It is more than frustrating because we were very poor in the first half, not switched on. The quality of our first half was absolutely not at the level we wanted in a decisive game like that,” the Frenchman rued.

He continued: “We have to analzse the reasons why we were not sharp enough in the first half. There is no obvious reason because we prepared normally as we always do, but maybe subconsciously [we thought] we would win it. Norwich played well, you have to give them credit.

“In the second half, we did very well. We created at least 10 chances but again not only did we not take our chances, but on top of that we gave them a third goal in a situation that was absolutely unbelievable. In the end, we got punished for our mistakes,” the manager concluded.

Reader Comments

The below views are those of our readers and do not reflect the opinions of Premiership Talk or its employees.
  1. Timmy says:

    @ Bear Man. So ur sollution is to replace one young player with an even younger player? AOC is only 18 and we ran the risk of overplaying him. He will play in center of midfield, in the future. He might not be ready, huge responsibility. He has played there how many times? 2 times? Ramsey is having a bad season but think back over his short career, the number of vital goals he has already scored. Match winning goals. I will bet he shows form next season. Why are Arsenal fans so fickle? Wenger is giving Ramsey the time out there he needs while protecting AOC, which he needs. I think with key additions like M’Villa, a true winger with the skill and guile to beat his man, like Overmars used to be, and perhaps another defender, this team can challenge for the title. Look where they started and was written off, even by some of us, and now 3rd. The log doesnt lie. The third best team, the top team in london. If they can stay focused and no drama like the start of this season and minus the strain of UCL qualification, remember, just before our depleted team lost to Liverpool and utd. This team should challenge for title.

  2. AmericanGunnerFan says:

    Of course, Arsene Wenger is going to say what he did about Ramsey: he is not about to throw Aaron Ramsey under the bus at this stage of his career because the young man still has a lot of skill and promise that may yet blossom. And, he is right in saying that what Ramsey is going through is part of a player’s developmental process. But, that doesn’t mean that the serious drop-off in the quality of Ramsey’s play over the second half of the season hasn’t greatly contributed to the tenuousness of the club’s hold on third place in the EPL–because it has.

    Part of this isn’t Ramsey’s fault. Injuries forced Wenger to play Ramsey far more in the first half of the season than he should have played. And, by February, it was obvious that Ramsey was physically and mentally burned out. Still that doesn’t excuse Ramsey’s dreadful, deteriorating play since returning to the starting lineup after Arteta’s injury, following an extended lay-off.

    Some things can be perhaps excused as resulting from a lack of confidence or the developmental process, but there is no excuse for a lack of hustle on defense. Defense is all about effort and hustle. So, watching Ramsey jogging back into his own end as as Norwich was carving up Arsenal’s exposed center-backs (while a sprinting Alex Song, coming from further upfield, easily passed Ramsey) is infuriating. Watching him continue to hang onto the ball too long, after having already been repeatedly dispossessed when doing so, is enough to drive any fan to madness. These things aren’t the product of a lack of confidence, poor execution or learning from one’s mistakes–they are the result of not working hard enough and not learning from his mistakes. And, that is well-deserving of the fans’ ire, which, hopefully, will make Ramsey realize that he needs to start hustling and learning if he wants to play, realize his potential, and turn the jeers into cheers.

    Wenger is much closer to the truth in saying that the team’s struggles of late are due to it’s own inadequate collective effort. But, this is not something that just started happening in recent weeks. And, while Wenger offers no explanation for it, I will.

    With the exception of the team’s struggles early in the season when it was still adjusting to the loss of Fabregas and Nasri and the new acquisitions were still fitting in with the club, if you look at the matches that Arsenal has lost or drawn since then you will note that the team has played pretty well against the better clubs on the schedule, but dropped an inordinate amount of points against clubs finishing in the middle of the table or lower.

    In at least a couple of these matches, Arsenal jumped out to an early lead that it surrendered after playing lackadaisically after taking the lead. In nearly all of them, the kind of effort that they put out in their matches against the better clubs was missing for at least a half, if not longer. Some of this might be explained by injuries, unfamiliarity, etc. But, if you go back and look over the last couple of seasons, you will find that the pattern is repeated again and again. Why?

    One reason could be that the Arsenal club is composed of much more talented players than these middle-to-lower table clubs. Players who have been touted as stars or stars of the future virtually since they stopped wearing diapers. They are top talents and they know it. And, when they play against seriously less talented competition, they seem to think that they don’t need to work that hard to win; that eventually their superior talent will get the result, even if they don’t put out the same effort and intensity of their opponent. And, an early goal and lead seems to confirm this in their minds even more.

    It’s as if they think that all they have to do when facing clubs like QPR, Blackburn, Wigan, etc. is throw their athletic supporters out on the field and victory will be theirs. Collectively they don’t seem to believe that they need to put in the effort to match their opponents when they are facing “inferior” opposition.

    But, we all know that that’s not how it works in professional sports. Motivation, intensity, effort and hustle can offset talent at the highest level and a club desperate to avoid relegation has a good chance to win or draw against a top-of-the-table club that doesn’t play hard.

    You can call it a lack of maturity. Or, a failure of the coaching staff to adequately convey to the players that a lack of effort against even the lowest of the low is unacceptable. But whatever you call it, there is no excuse for professionals failing to play with effort and intensity at this stage of the season, regardless of the opponent. It’s hard to demand an all-out effort in every match when a club is fighting in four competitions simultaneously, with games coming every 3-4 days. But, it is not unreasonable at all to expect professionals to play hard and with intensity when they are only playing once a week. And, when they don’t, something is seriously wrong and needs to be immediately corrected…before it becomes a problem in the final days of the season.

  3. The BearMan says:

    I do agree with Wenger that Ramsey will bounce back. But I disapprove of his strategy to play him ahead of other inform players.

    Surely it would be better playing AOC and bringing on Ramsey for the final 15 minutes of the game. This way you also take the unnecessary pressure of the lad.

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