Is Aaron Ramsey as important to Arsenal as Bale was to Spurs?

The Arsenal star has outperformed the rest of the club's midfield this year, approaching his compatriot's levels of performance for Spurs.

Despite suffering an interrupted season in 2013-14, Aaron Ramsey's performances for Arsenal this year have been up there with the very best.

Scoring more goals for the Gunners than any other midfielder, while just behind in terms of assists and total scoring attempts despite having much fewer minutes on the pitch, Ramsey remains the club's most impressive player.

The table below shows how Arsenal's midfielders have performed this season:

  TeamPosAppsGoalsGoal AssistOntarget Scoring AttMins
Aaron Ramsey Arsenal MF 20 8 7 23 1,537
Theo Walcott Arsenal MF 13 5 4 17 858
Santiago Cazorla Arsenal MF 28 4 5 25 2,347
Mesut Özil Arsenal MF 22 4 8 16 1,834
Jack Wilshere Arsenal MF 23 3 4 7 1,692
Mikel Arteta Arsenal MF 27 2 0 3 2,074
Mathieu Flamini Arsenal MF 24 2 0 5 1,469
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Arsenal MF 13 2 2 5 507
Tomas Rosicky Arsenal MF 24 2 1 10 1,464

Ramsey dominates the statistics above, and his absence from the start of January until his recent return has coincided with Arsenal's slip down the table from first place to in danger of dropping out of the top four all together.

In the short appearances he has made since returning to fitness, the Welshman has demonstrated that he is still well in command of his early season form.

Against West Ham, Ramsey impressed in a short 20 minute spell, orchestrating proceedings once he took to the field and setting up Lukas Podolski's second goal with a superb deft header.

It was the sort of influence from midfield that has often been lacking in his absence. At times this year the ex-Cardiff City man has been as impressive as Gareth Bale was for Arsenal's rivals Tottenham last season.

Then it was argued that Bale was carrying the team, something that Ramsey shouldn't have to do given the ability of fellow midfielders such as Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla. Earlier in the season, Ramsey was rather the engine and orchestrater, in the form of his life.

Comparing the two Welshman's last 20 Premier League games gives some indication as to just how important Ramsey is, and in Bale's case was, for their sides.

Ramsey has netted 8 goals and provided 7 assists in his 20 Premier League games this season, with a particularly impressive 10 match spell from September to the end of November. All 8 goals and 4 of his assists came in that period, and is the sort of level Ramsey has to be aiming for maintaining over a whole season next year if he is to move up to the next, absolutely world class level.

Bale's best 10 game spell last year saw him score 9 goals and assist 5 times, comparable to Ramsey's record, but he had other periods almost as successful, something that saw him earn a world record move to Real Madrid.

If Ramsey can get anywhere near that level for the entire season it will be some achievement, especially given that he sometimes operates from a deeper position, and Arsenal fans will be hoping their board is equipped and willing to resist any likely interest from Spain should their Welshman become the poster boy of the Premier League. 

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