Aaron Ramsey will return to the scene of the worst moment in his Arsenal career on Saturday when the Gunners face Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium.
When a Ryan Shawcross lunge fractured Ramsey’s tibia and fibula in February 2010, many feared he might never play again. Fortunately, they were wrong.
It took nine months, but the Wales captain did return to the field and has been trying to get a promising career back on course.
After an initially positive resumption, however, the 21-year-old has started to become the brunt of a number of fans’ frustrations at Emirates Stadium due to his form tailing off in the latter part of this season.
While it is fair to say he is not playing at his best, there appears to be a lack of perspective from what is, admittedly, a minority of the Arsenal crowd.
Ramsey is still a very young player, so form is expected to be inconsistent, but some need to be reminded that he virtually missed the entirety of last season due to the injury – he made eight appearances for the first team – and was thrust into a role of huge responsibility this season due to the departure of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri in the summer.
The former Cardiff trainee is quite obviously very talented but he has never played a whole season at such a high level before, so loss of form with fatigue is understandable – those berating him need to show some of this understanding.
Returning to play Stoke will always be a symbolic occasion for him, but this latest visit will have a narrative of redemption with it.
When Ramsey played there last year he was booed by some Potters fans, giving example of what many people dislike about the game, so this time around he will be hoping to silence the abusers by aiding his side to what would be a key victory in their attempts to finish third in the Premier League.
Then there will be the ire of his own fans to deal with, something that is quite clearly affecting his decision-making in home games.
Even earlier this season he was showing what an instinctive player he is and there was much creativity born out of his quick thinking, aligned with intelligent movement.
In recent weeks this natural verve has left him somewhat and the complaints of home fans have quite clearly shot through his confidence, leading him to be ponderous and hesitant.
It is a familiar vicious cycle with players who have such high expectations placed upon them and encounter a troubled patch in their careers.
With injuries to a number of midfielders and others only just returning from spells out, Ramsey is likely to play a part at some point if he does not start.
With two of the biggest obstacles of his career so far coming together at the Brtiannia Stadium, ‘Rambo’ has an opportunity to make a defiant statement to his detractors and demons.
Ramsey has a chance at redemption on Saturday that could prove to be pivotal for Arsenal current fortunes and, subsequently, beyond.
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