Unai Emery has blamed the loss of Aaron Ramsey as a key component in his side’s failure to secure Champions League football for this season, but reality tells you that the midfielder was overlooked by Emery for much of the season.
The club went on an impressive run of form in early 2019, including an emphatic run of results in the Europa League earning a spot in the final.
Despite our form, we finished the campaign just one point off Tottenham Hotspur, and also narrowly missed out on qualifying for the Champions League places via the Europa League, suffering defeat to rivals Chelsea in the final.
Emery has now claimed that he was happy with his team as he ended the campaign showing heart and ‘personality’, but ultimately lost out in the latter part of the campaign with the loss of key player Aaron Ramsey.
He said: “The first season we did a lot well. I thought: ‘This is my team.’ People said: ‘Unai, we can see your personality in this side.’
“There was spirit, games with intensity, energy – Tottenham, Manchester United, Chelsea – and we reached Arsenal’s first [European] final in 13 years, playing very well against Napoli and Valencia.
“Finishing third was in reach but we lost four decisive points against Crystal Palace and Brighton.
“[At first] things went magnificently; there was a good spirit in the dressing room.
“Ramsey’s injury, when he was at his best, had a big influence: he conveyed positivity, so much energy. And playing a lot of important games in April without him, we needed 100% implicación from every player.”
I can’t help but NOT feel any sympathy for Emery however. I think it is cheeky of him to name Ramsey as a huge loss in our push to make the top four after he largely overlooked him throughout the early stages of the campaign, despite him being fit.
Ramsey started only 14 of the 38 Premier League matches in his last season with our club, and ultimately left the club on a free transfer to Juventus in the summer.
Whether Ramsey had already told the club that he was leaving at the end of his contract or not, you simply cannot afford to let your best players sit on the bench, but Rambo was sitting on the bench at the start of 17 PL matches.
It’s all well and good saying we would have had a better shot at winning the Europa League if we had Ramsey fit, but to blame us missing out by a point when he largely overlooked the Welshman is not going to fly with me.
Emery’s ex-girlfriend recently claimed that even she got blamed for his sacking from Arsenal, which further backs up my belief that he thinks he does no wrong.
Does the Spaniard need to look at himself more for where things went wrong? Would Ramsey’s regular inclusion in the starting line-up in the league have seen us secure a top-four spot?