Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey has suggested that the Gunners are closing the gap to Premier League champions Chelsea, and can use recent success to surpass their London rivals.
Arsenal Goals and Highlights
Although they managed to clinch their second consecutive FA Cup triumph at the weekend, with an emphatic victory over Aston Villa, Arsenal finished 13 points adrift of the Jose Mourinho’s men in the league, and only briefly hinted that they may challenge for the title.
Nevertheless, according to the Daily Star, Ramsey believes that the club have made excellent progress this year, and should be able to mount a much more substantial challenge next season.
“I think we’ve learned in the big games how to manage them and it will be important to go into next season with that sort of mentality,” he said.
“The rest of the games take care of themselves. If we can get off to a good start next year, put ourselves into contention we’ll have a good year and a successful challenge for the Premier League.
“As long as we keep players fit throughout the season and not lose players in vital parts, I think we will have a great chance,” Ramsey added.
Having finished third in the top flight this year, Arsenal will avoid a qualifying game for next season’s Champions League. The two-legged tie with Besiktas this time around arguably led to a lacklustre start to their league season. By the time they had recovered, and managed to find some consistency – around late November – they were already 13 points behind Chelsea.
They also displayed a growing resiliency against the sides around them in the table. Their performance against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium in January was a turning point for a side that previously struggled against those at a similar level.
But, they showed that they were able to change their style from the free-flowing passing game to become a team that is able to soak up extreme pressure, before striking on the counter. After that fixture, they went undefeated in all competitions against those sides that also finished in the top four.
Maintaining that streak could be critical if they wish to be lifting the Premier League trophy for the first time since 2004.