Rambo to make up for lost time

The 20-year-old Wales captain spent nine months in rehabilitation

after suffering a double leg fracture and had loan spells with

former club Cardiff and Nottingham Forest to help build up his

match fitness. The United game was only his second Premier League

start of the season for Arsenal after captain Cesc Fabregas had

been ruled out with a thigh injury, but the youngster, signed from

Cardiff in a £5million deal in June 2008, produced a composed

display which was capped when he slotted home the winner nine

minutes into the second half. Ramsey now hopes, with his nightmare

firmly behind him, that next season will prove a breakthrough

campaign. “Scoring the goal was a special moment for me. This was

worth the wait and so many people have helped me through the tough

time I had,” Ramsey told BBC Sport. “Hopefully this will give them

the same satisfaction as it does me. “After these remaining games,

hopefully I can come back and have a good pre-season, and then go

again next year.” Despite beating United, Arsenal’s Premier League

title hopes had already been all but ended following too many

costly draws in a 16-match unbeaten run which came to a shuddering

halt at Bolton. The Gunners – six points behind leaders United and

three adrift of second-placed Chelsea, who travel to Old Trafford

next weekend – now face a battle to hold onto third place and with

it automatic Champions League qualification ahead of FA Cup

finalists Manchester City. Ramsey, though, insists Arsenal are

fully focused on finishing the campaign in style. “Our target was

just to win the remaining games, so we have started on that,” he

said. “Hopefully now we can continue this and let’s see where that

takes us.” Arsenal are confident both Fabregas (thigh) and

midfielder Samir Nasri (hamstring), who was replaced at half-time,

will be fit for Sunday’s trip to Stoke. Centre-back Johan Djourou

will also be monitored after having to go off after 70 minutes

against United when he fell awkwardly and looked to have jarred his

knee. Wenger believes Ramsey brings a welcome additional dimension

to his midfield options. “Ramsey has what you cannot give to a

player – he knows when to get into the box and how to finish, that

is part of Aaron,” he told Arsenal TV Online. While Arsenal are all

but mathematically out of contention, Wenger maintains there is

still “life in the title race”, with United set to host Chelsea

next weekend. Wenger has challenged his young squad to sustain

their performance against the Red Devils over the remaining three

matches to fend off City’s challenge for automatic Champions League

qualification. “When you listened to everybody before the game, we

had no chance to take any points, but we won so let’s keep

believing in ourselves,” the Arsenal manager said. “Despite the

disappointments, the group is healthy, ambitious and there is a lot

of quality.”