Ramsey: We can go all the way
Published 07/11/2013 | 23:51
Midfielder Aaron Ramsey insists Arsenal can prove their doubters wrong and last the distance in the Barclays Premier League title race.
Pundits have been split over whether the Gunners, lifted by the club-record singing of Mesut Ozil, can mount a sustained challenge for honours in 2014.
Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney has said "let us see where Arsenal are in March" and claimed "we've seen before that they've been in the top two... and then faded away", with David Moyes' men aiming to build on their own unbeaten run of eight matches in all competitions ahead of the showdown with Arsene Wenger's squad at Old Trafford on Sunday.
The Gunners, though, head to Old Trafford on the back of a hugely-impressive 1-0 away Champions League victory at Borussia Dortmund, where Ramsey's second-half goal completed a smash-and-grab raid on the Germans' Westfalenstadion fortress to put them back on course for qualification from Group F.
Ramsey feels Arsenal - with eight wins from the opening 10 Premier League games - have already shown they do possess the necessary character to maintain momentum through to the spring.
"From January we are the team in the (Premier) League that has picked up the most points, so I don't think our form has been that bad after Christmas," said the Wales forward, whose close-range header took his tally for the season to an impressive 11 goals.
"We have done it over the last few seasons where we have had to dig in and get a load of points to get fourth place.
"Our biggest problem over the last few seasons is starting off well which we have managed to do now this season.
"If we get ourselves into a strong position we know our ability to get as many points as we can in the run-in has been second to none."
Ramsey added: "It was no easy task to come to Dortmund and get the win. We will take an enormous amount of confidence from that and hopefully that will put us in a good position now to kick on and have a really successful season."
Ramsey feels Arsenal are growing in self-belief with every big win.
Asked if the Gunners have anything to fear from playing at Old Trafford, Ramsey insisted: "Absolutely not. They have had a bit of a rough start, but they have overcome that now I think.
"They have had a few good results in the league and will be getting their confidence back up, but we are really confident ourselves.
"Our away record has been really good so hopefully we can continue building on that.
"We had a fantastic run-in to last season and after the disappointing opening game of the season, we have managed to build on that and keep it going.
"Hopefully we can do that up until Christmas and then we know we have the ability to compete."
Ramsey feels it would be "massive" if Arsenal were to win at Old Trafford, where they were mauled 8-2 in August 2011 and last tasted victory back in September 2006 with a late goal from Emmanuel Adebayor.
"We have struggled there over the last few seasons to go there and get a good result, so hopefully now we feel a lot more confident and this will be the time when we do manage to do that," he said.
"This was always going to be a big week for us and we couldn't have got off to a better start.
"Hopefully now we can go to Old Trafford and finish the job off."
Ramsey will again be key to Arsenal's hopes this weekend.
The 22-year-old former Cardiff trainee is relishing his integral role at the heartbeat of the Gunners' midfield.
"I am feeling really confident at the moment and I am enjoying my football," said Ramsey, who recovered from an horrific double leg-break at Stoke in February 2010.
"Every time I get into a goalscoring opportunity, I feel confident of putting the ball into the back of the net."
Arsenal were without England midfielder Jack Wilshere in Germany, and he will have a test on an ankle injury ahead of the United match, with a decision also impacting on whether he will be available for the upcoming international friendlies.
Midfielder Mathieu Flamini could return at Old Trafford having been sidelined by a groin problem since the Crystal Palace match, but Theo Walcott is not expected to feature until domestic action resumes in two weeks.