Arsenal Spotlight: Ramsey leads Arsenal past Cardiff City
Caleb Alexander played collegiate soccer at UNC-Asheville before joining the Rapids front office, first as a tickets sales executive and recently a Service Specialist. He’s also a life-long Arsenal fan and will be keeping Rapids fans updated on the Gunners throughout the 2013-2014 season.
Aaron Ramsey continued his impressive form on Saturday, carrying Arsenal to a 3-0 win over his former club, Cardiff City. The Gunners overcame spells of pressure from the Welsh hosts before running out comfortable winners after two goals from Ramsey and a third from summer signing, Mathieu Flamini. With the win Arsenal maintained their four point lead over second place Chelsea and became the first team to reach 10 Premier League wins on the season.
Against Marseille on Tuesday, Jack Wilshere scored in the first minute of play. On Saturday he was nearly at it again when his curling effort rebounded off the crossbar only a minute into the game. Arsenal began the game with purpose and dominated early possession, with Cardiff rarely able to cross the midfield line. The pressure paid off in the 29th minute when Mesut Özil's inch-perfect cross found the head of Ramsey, who directed a looping header into the far corner of the net for his seventh goal in the Premier League this season. In a classy gesture, Ramsey refused to celebrate against the club that gave him his start, which resulted in the goal being applauded by all supporters in the stands, including Cardiff's.
The second half began with intense pressure from Cardiff City, which created quite a few nail-biting moments for Gunners fans. After a first half with nothing to do, goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny pulled off a miraculous save on a Frazier Campbell header that should have brought the hosts level. Arsenal eventually got back into the game and were able to put Cardiff's comeback hopes away in the 86th minute when Özil picked up his second assist of the game with a delightful through ball to a charging Flamini, who smashed the ball into the roof of the net for his first goal since returning to the club.
Massive relief filled the visiting supporters, which turned into absolute joy minutes later when Aaron Ramsey broke along with Theo Walcott on a counterattack. Ramsey played Walcott down the right side, who then played the ball back to Ramsey inside the box. Ramsey took a touch before sending a sliding shot into the top corner past a helpless Cardiff goalkeeper. Once again, Ramsey didn't celebrate, but his eighth goal in only 13 Premier League games this season said it all for the most in-form midfielder in the league.
Arsenal now return to London for two home matches, first against triumphant Hull City on Wednesday, and then Everton on Sunday (9:00 a.m. MT, NBC Sports). Hull City (or if their owner has anything to say about it, Hull Tigers) surprisingly sit in 10th place after their shocking win over Liverpool and are a team that will be up for the challenge of facing league leading Arsenal. Many teams have lost the title by struggling with results through a busy holiday stretch, so it will be vital for Arsenal to continue to pick up points if they seriously want to maintain their title challenge this season.