Arsenal began the season in blistering form, with Aaron Ramsey’s continually impressive performances in essence a microcosm of his club’s campaign.
And as if to further highlight that point: when the Welshman suffered a thigh muscle strain that ultimately ruled him out for the next three months, so the Gunners began to falter.
Ramsey returned to the starting line-up against Hull City at the weekend, and his presence sparked Arsenal into life. That he also scored – his 14th strike of the campaign – showed that he had lost none of his ability in front of goal.
But in shining despite so long out, he also showed what might have been for Arsene Wenger’s side had he remained fit for the whole season.
Football is full of ifs, buts and maybes, yet in the case of Ramsey, it is one of the biggest of a campaign that promised so much but now sees Arsenal fighting tooth-and-nail with Everton for the last Champions League spot.
A FA Cup final place should not be understated, and Ramsey’s return should be the spark Arsenal need to overcome the Tigers in the final, but Wenger would be forgiven for wondering what might have been.
He hinted as much in his post-match comments, when he said, “Maybe we overplayed him a little bit. We should have rested him before he was injured.”
Had they done that, they could now be fighting it out with Liverpool and the rest at the top of the table.
But instead they will simply be grateful to have him back in time to hopefully claim a much-needed – and long overdue – piece of silverware.