Belfast Telegraph

Aaron Ramsey believes Arsenal players have stomach for title fight

Aaron Ramsey believes Arsenal's display in Saturday's north London derby proves the players have the hunger for a title fight.

The Gunners drew 2-2 at local and Barclays Premier League title rivals Tottenham - despite losing their lead having been reduced to 10 men with the sending off of Francis Coquelin.

Ramsey opened the scoring in the first half but, after Coquelin was given his marching orders, two goals in a matter of minutes from Toby Alderweireld and Harry Kane but Spurs in the driving seat.

Arsenal, criticised for recent results and performances, fought back and it was Alexis Sanchez - who had earlier in the week questioned the hunger of the squad to win the championship - who earned the visitors a share of the spoils.

The draw leaves both sides trailing in the wake of leaders Leicester, who are five points clear of second-placed Spurs, with Arsenal three points further back in third having lost to Manchester United and Swansea in the last week.

But Ramsey, having scored his fifth league goal of the season with a cute flick, believes the fightback could now push Arsenal on for their first title in 12 years.

"I think so," he said when asked if the squad had proven their collective hunger.

"I think we needed a result. We would have liked to have won the game but it was important just to get a result.

"We've had two defeats, so we're happy to come away with a point in the end, considering the circumstances.

"It was important after back-to-back defeats to come here and try to get a result.

"I thought in the first half we did well, but they came out in the second half and got the two goals in quick succession. We were under the cosh a bit but we carried on and got the equaliser.

"I think we needed a performance like that after the couple of defeats that we've had. We needed to come here and get something and we managed to do that with 10 men."

Sanchez equalised with a calm finish 15 minutes from time for his first league goal since October as he continues to fight his way back to form having been sidelined with a hamstring problem.

Now both Sanchez and Ramsey are back among the goals, the Wales international has called on both to keep adding to their respective tallies.

"Hopefully him (Sanchez) and myself can chip in with a few more goals towards the end of the season and finish off strongly," Ramsey added.

"We'll keep giving everything until the final game of the season is over."

For Spurs, it was a second game in succession where they failed to pick up the victory which would have seen them move to the top of the table.

Mauricio Pochettino's side look the most likely to run Leicester close for the title and Kane, who scored a superb, curling effort to put the hosts ahead, said drawing with their rivals had left the players disappointed.

"I got the ball out my feet and thought 'why not?' and as soon as I hit it, I could see it going to that far post," he said of his goal - just his second in seven games.

"To see it go in brought out a lot of emotion. From there, you just want to finish it off and win the game and be happy for the rest of the week.

"We're leaving disappointed but look, we have to move on, we played well again and there is a long way to go, not just in the Premier League but we've another important game in the Europa League coming up this week.

"We'll stay positive and keep doing what we're doing."


From Belfast Telegraph