Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey: win over Manchester United gives us title belief

• Midfielder says result can be crucial in race for Premier League title
• Ramsey looks ahead to Euro 2016 after breaking goal drought for Wales

Aaron Ramsey senses Arsenal’s convincing victory over Manchester United has given them the belief they can go on and win the Premier League title, and the midfielder also expressed confidence his form in front of goal will improve now he has scored his first of the season.

The Welshman had gone 20 appearances for club and country without scoring, a run going back to Arsenal’s 3-1 victory over Hull at the start of May and it was starting to play on his mind, but he ended that drought with the opening goal in Wales’ comfortable 2-0 victory over Andorra on Tuesday in the final European Championship qualifier.

It was Ramsey’s 10th goal for his country, on a night when Wales celebrated reaching their first major tournament since 1958, and the 24-year-old hopes it will pave the way for a few more at club level as he seeks to recapture the threat he posed at the start of the season before last.

“I have been wanting to reach that mark for a few games and to finally achieve that, to get into double figures, is a great personal achievement but hopefully there are more to come,” Ramsey said. “I’ve been wanting it now for a few games for Arsenal as well. I have struggled a bit at the beginning of the season with goals, it has been pretty frustrating on that front, but hopefully now that will settle me down and I can carry on throughout the season.”

After being part of a Wales team who have created history, Ramsey is hopeful this season could turn into a special one for him. As well as looking forward to the finals in France, Ramsey pointed to the fact Arsenal are second in the table and said he is “very optimistic” they can enjoy success, in particular on the back of the 3-0 win against United when Louis van Gaal’s side were blown away in a stunning opening 20 minutes.

Ramsey said: “We owed them from a few years ago and the way we started the game was fantastic, and hopefully we can continue that now and carry on to beat the bigger teams and carry on our form against the other teams.”

Arsenal are at Watford on Saturday before hosting Bayern Munich on Tuesday in the Champions League in a game where there is no margin for error after losing their opening two group matches, against Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiakos. “It is a must-win game,” Ramsey said. “We have to take the game to them and hopefully achieve that.”

With a smile on his face, Ramsey admitted it will make a refreshing change to return to the Arsenal dressing room as an international who will be going to a major tournament, rather than waving everyone off next summer. “I will be learning a few [phrases] from the French boys to take with me to France to get me by,” said the former Cardiff trainee.

“There will be a bit of banter between us. And who knows what can happen over there. I will go back and be proud and with my head held high – we are going to France. It is going to be a great occasion when we finally go there. We have been wanting this for so long as a nation and to finally achieve that and make history – I am so proud of that.”

It has been quite a journey for Wales and Ramsey has experienced his own highs and lows along the way. Gary Speed made him the youngest Wales captain, aged 20 years and 90 days, but Chris Coleman took the armband off him 19 months later, after a 6-1 defeat in Serbia, and appointed Ashley Williams instead. Coleman said earlier this week it was a decision that “could have gone horribly wrong” and went on to say that “a lesser man than Aaron might have spat his dummy out and not performed”.

While Ramsey said it never crossed his mind to behave in that way, he added he hopes to get the captaincy back. “There was no point in throwing my toys. As soon as he made his decision, he made his decision, and I had to accept he is the manager. I just had to get my head down and work hard, and you know maybe I will get it back one day. I will be proud to do that.”


Stuart James

The GuardianTramp

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