Arsenal were dealt a blow in the race for the Premier League title with German international playmaker Mesut Ozil being ruled out of action for three to six weeks with a hamstring injury.
However, I believe the bigger blow is the fact that Welsh midfielder Aaron Ramsey will not return to face Tottenham in Sunday’s north London derby.
Gunners fans were hopeful that Ramsey would return to face their arch-rivals at White Hart Lane.
However Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger ruled out the midfielders return by telling the clubs official website: “We have had to defer his comeback to full training a little so he is not available. He is having difficulties in the final stages of his rehab. It looks to be short-term”
The arrival of Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid for a club record fee of £42million is often regarded as the catalyst to Arsenal’s early season form. However, Aaron Ramsey’s drive and determination helped win the Gunners a lot of games in the early part of the season.
The 23-year-old was the one winning the ball back, scoring the goals and creating the goals for teammates. Ramsey’s record of eight goals from 18 Premier League games and six assists is very respectable for a midfielder.
His flying start to the season was very much unexpected and has transformed how the youngster is thought of by Arsenal fans. Ramsey was often used as the scapegoat for Arsenal’s struggles to win silverware in the past and even booed by his own supporters.
His treatment was enough to shatter any player’s confidence, never mind a youngster’s. Not Ramsey though, the youngster just concentrated on fulfilling his undoubted potential and got his reward with his early season performances.
Ramsey has had to be extremely mentally strong to get through horrendous injury problems and the treatment of his own fans. This is an example that Mesut Ozil would do well to follow. His talent is unquestionable, but what has to be questioned is his character.
In the last few months Ozil has hardly shown up for the Gunners. At times he looks like he is uninterested and does not want to work for the team. Prior to his injury, Ozil looked like a lost soul at times.
Both players have endured a difficult few months, but for different reasons. Ramsey has been badly missed in the last ten Premier League games, not to mention the Champions League. He must be so frustrated to be injured after such a strong start to the campaign.
When Ozil joined Arsenal few would have thought there would be Gunners fans questioning the German international’s ability. However, there are currently Arsenal fans questioning whether the former-Real Madrid playmaker will make it in the Premier League.
It may be harsh considering Ozil has not even been at Arsenal for a full season, but some of his performances have been seriously worrying. The lack of hard work would be the most worrying one for me.
We all know that hard work is not Ozil’s strength, but when a player is struggling for form fans at least appreciate it if he works hard for the team. Even during Ramsey’s lowest points the Welshman never hid and always worked hard for the team.
Wenger persisted with the young Welshman because he worked hard and had the potential to become a top player, some of that potential being fulfilled early in this campaign. Ozil now has to show that he is willing to work hard to be successful in an Arsenal shirt.
I think if Gunners fans were asked if they would rather have Ramsey or Ozil fit for Sunday’s derby with Spurs the majority would choose the Welshman, I know I certainly would. The Germany international has been poor in recent games, the FA Cup win over Everton aside that is.
Ozil could be missing for a large chunk of Arsenal’s remaining games. Hopefully Ramsey will return to Gunners squad within the next two games. Aaron Ramsey has proved his doubters wrong with his displays this season.
I really hope that Mesut Ozil can improve his fitness during pre-season and come back much stronger next season to prove to his doubters wrong. He has the perfect example to follow in Ramsey.
Unlike Ramsey, fans do not seem to be questioning Ozil’s quality, just his mental strength and character. If he attempts to work hard for the team his performances will improved and next season he can be a force again for the Gunners.
Will Mesut Ozil become a success at Arsenal?