Aaron Ramsey was a key player for Arsenal last season, as the club lifted the FA Cup, and once again enjoyed a top four Premier League finish.
Always energetic and technically gifted, Ramsey had previously shown his ability in flashes, but it was during the last campaign that the Welshman finally fulfilled his promise, becoming one of the Gunners star players, scoring 10 times in 23 top-flight appearances.
Much was therefore expected of Ramsey this campaign, and with Arsenal adding Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck over the summer, it was thought the 23-year-old's additional goalscoring threat would make the North London side one of the most dangerous attacking units in the country.
Arsenal have faltered this Premier League campaign, though, making their worst start for 32 years, and Ramsey's poor run of form is surely a contributory factor.
Statistically, Ramsey's displays have disappointed this season, and he has been less of a presence both offensively and defensively.
|Season||Goals||Goal Assist||Passes per game||Passing Accuracy||Touches per game||Interceptions per game||Tackles per game||Final third passes per game||Appearances||Mins Played|
Ramsey has made seven fewer passes per game than he was last season, while he is also involved on the ball considerably less than last term. His isn't tackling as much, and Ramsey also isn't getting into the final third of the pitch with as much frequency. And this was a crucial part of the midfielder's game last season, with his late runs proving difficult for opposition defenders to deal with. Rather tellingly, Ramsey directly contributed to 18 of his side's goals last season, creating or scoring a goal in every 1.27 games, but he has only managed to play a part in three this time around in his first 11 appearances, or once every 3.66 matches.
Ramsey, then, must take some of the blame for Arsenal's poor start to the season, but manager Arsene Wenger has little option but to persevere with him, as Wenger has few other quality players to call on as replacements. Nursing Ramsey back to his influential best, then, might just be Wenger's most important task in the coming weeks, as he bids to steady the Arsenal ship and make progress on all fronts.