Aaron Ramsey

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Ramsey: ‘There was a lot of confusion’ at end of Arsenal tenure

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Aaron Ramsey has described a somewhat unstable situation at Arsenal with regard to his final season at the club and the contract negotiations which led him to leave the Emirates Stadium and join Juventus this summer.

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At the start of last season, Ramsey is believed to have had an outline of an offer for a new contract on the table, only to see it rescinded before agreeing final terms. Of the situation, Ramsey says “there was a lot of confusion and a lot of things were up in the air” and that the Gunners are going through “a transitional period at the moment.” The decision, it seems, was taken out of his hands — quotes from the BBC:

Q: This time 12 months ago, it seemed you would be signing a new contract at Arsenal. Then it was taken away. Was it explained why?

A: Yes. It was in the end. There was a lot of confusion and a lot of things were up in the air. The decision was made and that was the situation, so I had to look at other options. Arsenal are going through a transitional period at the moment. They have many great players and a lot of talent coming through. They are definitely going in the right direction, but my situation now is at Juventus. I have an unbelievable opportunity at a massive club. I just want to be part of this now. Hopefully I can help my teammates and my club achieve some great things on the big stage.

As for settling himself at a new club in a new country, Ramsey says that learning to speak Italian is a “massively important” part of acclimating to his new environment and realizing success at Juve:

“Yes, of course. It is massively important. All the team meetings are in Italian; the majority of the players speak Italian. But it’s not just for football reasons. When you go to a restaurant or fill up your car, some people don’t speak English. It’s important to speak their language and really commit to putting yourself into their culture and to understand it.

“It might take me a bit of time — I have picked up a few swear words on the training ground — but I am learning and hopefully I will be able to speak it one day.”

Ramsey missed the first three weeks of the season due to a hamstring injury, but has since returned to the team and made five appearances in recent weeks. He marked his debut for the club with a goal against Verona on Sept. 21.

Serie A roundup: Inter win Derby della Madonnina, Juventus edge Verona (video)

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Inter Milan’s rampant run and Juventus’ win headline Saturday’s Serie A action.

[ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

AC Milan 0-2 Inter Milan

The stats books following this season’s first Derby della Madonnina make two things very clear: at the moment, Inter are the best team in Milan and in Serie A.

With four consecutive victories to start the season, Antonio Conte and Co. lead Italy’s top-flight by two points.

 

After nearly being up two goals in the first half, Inter broke deadlock in the 49th minute. From a orchestrated set-piece play, marcelo Brozovic’s strike skimmed the heels of Rafael Leão, deflecting the ball past Gianluigi Donnarumma, and into the back of the net. An offside call was reviewed through VAR, but the goal stood.

In the 78th minute, a short, lofted cross from Nicolò Barella found Romelu Lukaku, who headed the ball into the far post. The Belgian, who arrived from Manchester United during the summer, has scored three goals in four league games.

Dominating time with the ball didn’t do much for AC Milan, whose clearest chance came late in the second half when Theo Hernández’s strike inside the box hit the bar.

Yet to taste a draw or defeat, Inter marches on as they host Lazio next, while AC Milan travel to Turin to take on Torino.

Juventus 2-1 Hellas Verona

In a game that could have gone either way, Juventus, with its star-studded team and all, walked away with three points against 10-man Hellas Verona.

Aaron Ramsey, who made a shock switch to the Old Lady in July following an 11-year spell with Arsenal, scored his first Serie A goal. From distance, in the 31st minute, the 29-year-old’s shot deflected Verona’s Koray Gunter, beating Marco Silvestri and into the goal.
Ramsey’s goal, however, only leveled the score.
Following a missed penalty and second chance, Miguel Veloso scored what can be the goal of the week: a first-time, left-footed volley into the top corner of Gianluigi Buffon’s goal. Verona, who had a couple of clear chances in the second half, were unable to get past Buffon again.
With three points desperately needed to keep pace with Inter Milan, Cristiano Ronaldo came to the rescue. The Portuguese converted from the sport – his first of the season – following a solo run from Juan Cuadrado.

With positive momentum behind them, second-place Juventus travels to Brescia next, while Hellas Verona receive a lackluster Udinese side.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Cagilari 3-1 Genoa

Udinese 0-1 Brescia

Did Aaron Ramsey play his last game for Arsenal?

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Aaron Ramsey‘s decade-long run at Arsenal could be over prematurely.

The 28-year-old Welsh midfielder limped off in the first half with what appeared to be a hamstring injury, and depending on the severity, it could rule him out for the rest of Arsenal’s campaign. Even minor hamstring strains mean at least a three-week layoff, which will certainly keep Ramsey out of Arsenal’s UEFA Europa League semifinal tie against Valencia.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

“He was in a very good moment, he was playing with a big behaviour and commitment to do something important for us,” Arsenal manager Unai Emery said of Ramsey after Arsenal’s 1-0 win over Napoli. “His injury today can give us some matches without him. I don’t know if we’ll see him again before the end of the season.”

Arsenal has less than a month of matches remaining, with the final Premier League match of the season set for May 12 at Burnley, putting Ramsey in a race against time to be fit. If the injury isn’t so severe and Arsenal can manage to defeat Valencia, Ramsey could return in time for the Europa League final on May 29.

If this spells the end of Ramsey’s time at Arsenal – he’s signed a pre-contract to join Juventus this summer – it ends an era which stretches back to some of Arsene Wenger‘s best Arsenal sides in the late-2000s.

Whether for financial reasons – signing teenagers and grooming them is cheap compared to purchasing the transfer rights of established players – or not, Aaron Ramsey joined Arsenal at a time when Wenger was focused on a team-wide youth movement. In Ramsey’s first Premier League start, a late-season 3-0 win at Portsmouth, he started alongside the likes of Niklas Bendtner, Carlos Vela, Denilson, Johan Djourou, and Theo Walcott, who were all 21-or-younger at the time. Ramsey himself was just 18-years-old.

However, in the coming years, he struggled to find a set position. He didn’t develop into a goal-scoring machine like Cesc Fabregas did a few years earlier as a No. 10, leaving Wenger to try him as a right winger, which brought more up and down performances. When trying him as a No. 6 or part of a double-pivot, Ramsey also struggled not always knowing when to attack and when to sit back and defend.

There were plenty of great moments too mixed in. Playing further up as an eight or an attacking midfielder, Ramsey scored 10 Premier League goals during the 2013/2014 season. This year, he’s turned into a wily veteran who can adequately play as a second striker or holding midfielder depending on the situation. He’s scored key goals this year against Tottenham and Napoli, while also providing plenty of assists and midfield cover as Arsenal begins to focus on a new youth movement, with Ramsey ultimately being pushed out in favor of the next Ramsey, as another Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira will likely coming in this summer.

Aaron Ramsey may have never developed into a world beater during his time at Arsenal, but he finishes his time in London with three FA Cups and two Community Shield trophies. Now, moving to Juventus still in his prime, it’s his chance to prove that he’s more than just the hustle and bustle of the Premier League, and that he can succeed not only in a foreign environment, but also in a new league.

At the Half: Ramsey, Torreira help give Arsenal early lead, Chelsea still scoreless

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Arsenal started Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil together for one of the few times all season.

So of course, Arsenal’s two central midfielders have found the scoresheet so far.

At halftime, Arsenal holds an impressive 2-0 lead over Napoli at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday evening, with Aaron Ramsey and Lucas Torreira both finding the back of the net. Ramsey scored in the 14th minute off a great pass in the box from Ainsley Maitland-Niles while Torreira created his own goal almost out of nothing.

Torreira forced a turnover at midfield and then ran at Napoli’s defense before switching the ball to his left foot and unleashing a low strike. The shot deflected off Napoli star centerback Kalidou Koulibaly and wrong-footed goalkeeper Alex Meret for a goal. The goal has been listed as an own goal, but it may have been on target before the deflection.

In the Czech Republic, Chelsea is holding strong to a scoreless tie with Slavia Prague.

Here’s a look at Arsenal’s two first half goals.

Emery raves about Ozil, Ramsey as Arsenal goes 3rd

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Unai Emery has answered a lot of off-the-field questions about Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey this year, so we imagine he loved talking about the two for their on-field exploits.

Ozil has struggled to stay in Emery’s side despite his big paycheck, and Ramsey would not sign a new deal with Arsenal and is headed to Juventus on a mega watt deal of his own.

[ RECAP: Arsenal 2-0 Newcastle ]

Asked about two star players from Arsenal’s 2-0 defeat of Newcastle on Monday, a win which pushed the Gunners ahead of rivals Tottenham Hotspur, Emery was happy to gush about both. From the BBC:

“We were improving little by little and our first goal helped us a lot. Mesut Ozil has quality, when he can find the best performance for the team, he is playing like we want with the system and how tactically we want. He is giving us his quality.

“I think Aaron Ramsey is happy, he is helping us and is playing with a very good performance and scoring. Each energy from the players is very important for us and he is doing that. We are at the most important moment of the season.”

So what’s next? Emery is careful not to aim too high considering the congested schedule for all Top Four challengers, and the immense skill on display at each club.

“We are making progess in the table but we know it is difficult, Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United are going to win a lot of games.”