It was only right that Aaron Ramsey scored Arsenal’s winning goal in last Saturday’s FA Cup final, according to his midfield colleague and vice-captain Mikel Arteta.
Ramsey struck in the 108th minute at Wembley to hand the Gunners, who trailed unfancied Hull City by two goals after just eight minutes, a 3-2 victory and their first piece of silverware in nine years.
For the Wales international it capped a fine season that has seen him score 16 goals and provide nine assists in all competitions despite missing four months of the campaign through injury.
“I think he has had a big improvement from the previous seasons,” Arteta told Sport360° as he visited Arsenal Soccer Schools Dubai with the FA Cup trophy.
"I thought last season we could have seen the best of Aaron in the last third of the season but what he has done this season has been amazing.
“In my opinion he has been the best player on the pitch while he has been fit. I think he was the right man as well to score the winner in the final.”
To put Ramsey’s rise into context, the midfielder had scored just 11 goals in his previous five years at the north London club.
Arteta believes there is still more to come from the 23-year-old, who suffered a horrific leg break at Stoke City in February 2010 that he has since admitted took three years to fully recover from.
“He can be as good as he wants. I think he has got ambition, he has got the quality physically as well,” he added. “He’s an outstanding player and he’s very young.”
With the FA Cup in the bag, the focus at Arsenal is likely to shift to securing a first Premier League championship since 2004. The Gunners led this year’s race for 128 days but finished the season fourth as Manchester City – top for just 15 days – claimed the title.
“Hopefully (the cup) will give us the confidence and belief that we need to start to win more trophies and be at the top, because that’s where we want to be and where we want to belong as well. I think we were there for 18 or 19 games and it’s a long time since Arsenal did that as well. I think it’s a good base.."
However, with Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham all likely to strengthen, while City do everything they can within their Financial Fair Play sanctions, the midfielder knows it will not be easy.
“I think everybody is going to start signing players like crazy in the summer,” he added. “Next season I would be surprised if by February or March a few managers of the top teams are not sacked because everybody is going to expect to start winning and be in the Champions League. It’s impossible because you are facing six or seven top teams and I think the standard is going to get higher.”
Captaining Arsenal at Wembley
It’s a privilege to be captaining the team because I haven’t been at the club for such a long time. I think since my first year, the manager named me vicecaptain which for me was a big responsibility and a pleasure to wear the armband. To take the lads out in the stadium and to lift the cup was such an amazing feeling.
Ending the drought
We got a lot of messages before the game and we knew all the pressure to win the trophy was on us so we had to deal with that. Obviously when you go 2-0 down in a final, to come back is rare. You could feel the tension in the stadium in the first 20 minutes but you have to ignore any different thoughts. Everyone said afterwards that we took a few years out of their lives! We’re sorry for that but I think they’re happy with the result.
Arsene Wenger’s new contract
We are all waiting for the announcement. Everyone says that it is done, the media, even himself he says that he’s happy and he wants to continue. I think the board are in the same direction but they haven’t put it on paper yet. But I think it will be soon.
The future at the Emirates Stadium
We have the structure at the club, I think financially we are a very strong team at the moment we’ve got a great team, the support we have is unbelievable. So I think we have all the ingredients to go from now on to a higher standard and hopefully deliver good things for the club.
Recent rumours of a move away
My future is that I have another year left on my contract, at the moment.
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