So here is my second quick write up from barely legible scrawled notes from the Arsenal FA Cup Media Day Player interviews. You will see numerous similar I am sure this morning as this was embargoed until 6am today. Tomorrow I will bring you the Club Captain but today it is the thoughts if our enigmatic fan base dividing Welshman, Aaron Ramsey. Without a recording device these are my overall reflections and recollections from 10 minutes that covered huge ground.
The opening questions focused on the possibility of the club making it two trophies and particularly 2 FA Cups in 2 seasons. What was clear was that Ramsey and his colleagues are confident but not insensibly so and he was quick to praise Villa’s turn around in fortunes and in particular the form of their danger man Christian Benteke. He talked eloquently about our slow start against Hull a year ago and insisted that this current team had learned and it would not be allowed to happen again. Indeed he recalled that it was not only at Wembley that Arsenal stared games slowly in 2014/15 and that it was a problem that had been discussed and ironed out.
He was very adamant though that despite the initial shock that the team were confident they could come back and win. Indeed the fact that Hull scored both goals so early meant Arsenal had so much time to recover and as soon as Santi knocked in free kick before half time he was supremely confident that they would win.
He was asked about how important it was for the club, his manager and the team to win the first trophy after such a long gap for a club such as Arsenal. Whilst acknowledging what a relief it was for all concerned tellingly Ramsey was more interested in reaffirming how crucial it was to prove it the beginning of a new era of silverware wining rather than the end of a barren spell. Winning on Saturday makes it back to back wins but thereafter “I think we have shown with our form in the second half of the season that the goal needs to be to win the league!”
He stressed that now the team have to show the consistency over a whole season and be challenging for the Premier League in 2015/16. I am sure the Arsenal faithful will relish this fighting talk. Aaron was pushed on the point Arsenal social media is debating currently on whether retaining the FA Cup and finishing third in the league can be classed as progress? His answer “This I think it would be fair to say that.” I hope that settles the debate.
The midfielder was asked if the improved record against the bigger teams was an additional sign of the squad’s progression. This was obviously a subject close to the Welshman’s heart as he described previous naivety and the flawed belief that Arsenal could outplay teams playing open attacking football. He ruefully described how the old Arsenal would lose the pal too high up the pitch and leave themselves too exposed and wide open. This season the team has been far more solid, compact and cautious against the bigger teams, given them far less space and of course taken their chances.
Returning to the weekend he described a huge determination and focus within the group to retain their trophy. They enjoyed the feeling so much last season and there is a hunger to enjoy that feeling again. When asked about scoring the winning goal in the FA Cup Final his response was “that it was very school boys dream,” a dream he had been able to live.
Of winning a record 12th FA Cup as a club he acknowledged that whilst not being on his of the team’s mind at present “It would be a great achievement for the club and to be involved in the history would be nice.”
In speaking also about his manager and mentor winning potentially a 6th FA Cup, a record for a post war coach the respect and admiration he has for Wenger is evident. He spoke glowingly earlier about how Wenger gives him and the team so much confidence in the ability and trust to go out an express themselves on the pitch. The reason I mention it here though is because some fool of a journalist asked him about him about stories emanating from Spain that once the transfer embargo was lifted, that Barcelona would plotting to bid £50 million for him. Arsenal fans will be delighted to hear that Ramsey is focused only on winning at Wembley but when pushed he admitted that the thought appealed to him but only in the future. He was clear that he was only 24 and he wanted to win things with the Gunners and repay the faith the manager, club and staff had shown in him.
Appropriately at the end he talked affectionately about the Arsenal fans and their major contribution in helping the team get back to Wembley. He gave particular mention to the 9000 fans that traveled to Old Trafford to roar the team to win the quarter final. (Here’s a couple of us below.) He recalled in awe how incredible it was to celebrate the day after last year’s triumph in front of 250,000 of us in Islington.
— Dave Seager (@goonerdave66) March 11, 2015
I can’t deny I felt a tad guilty personally that I have been harbouring doubts as to whether I wanted him to start on Saturday.
Sorry Aaron you’ll do for me mate!