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AW urges Ramsey to keep focus

Arsene Wenger hopes Aaron Ramsey can rise above any taunts from the Cardiff boo-boys when he returns to tackle his former club on Saturday.

Last Updated: 29/11/13 at 22:42 Post Comment    Bet with SkyBet  Arsenal Specials. Click here to bet.

Arsene Wenger (l): Has advice for Aaron Ramsey

Arsene Wenger (l): Has advice for Aaron Ramsey

Wales international Ramsey is enjoying a stand-out campaign, having scored some 11 goals for the Gunners as they top the Barclays Premier League.

The Caerphilly-born 22-year-old has come a long way since leaving south Wales as a raw talent in a £5million deal during the summer of 2008, after he had played for the Bluebirds in the FA Cup final defeat to Portsmouth at Wembley.

Cardiff manager Malky Makay described Ramsey as "one of the best performers in Europe" on current form, and hopes the all-action midfielder will "go easy" on his side this weekend.

Ramsey had a brief loan spell back with his old club in January 2011 as he continued his rehabilitation from an horrific double leg break at Stoke.

Before that, though, he had faced Cardiff in Arsenal colours during an FA Cup tie in January 2009, when he was substituted after an hour following a somewhat hot reception from the Ninian Park faithful.

Wenger believes that after going through all he has and coming out the other side looking like a true star, Ramsey will not be fazed by any taunts thrown in his direction.

"The first time he went back to Cardiff in the FA Cup tie, he was not comfortable with the situation - it was too much for him, now he is much more experienced," Wenger said.

"The first time it affected him, he wanted to do so well that he missed a lot of passes at Cardiff.

"Now he takes that in a more positive way.

"Every time he has since come back to Wales, he has done well."

Victory at Cardiff - where full-back Kieran Gibbs is set to be available again after missing the midweek Champions League win over Marseille through illness - could see the Gunners move seven points clear at the top of the table, with their leading rivals all not in action until Sunday.

Wenger said: "Of course it is a test, but we are in a position where every game will be.

"We played Southampton last Saturday and that was a very tough test. This is another one, in a different setting but with similarities to Southampton and there are challenges - Cardiff are strong, they last 90 minutes and do not give up.

"We have to have the right focus."

Wenger added: "The belief is there, but the target is to show we can repeat that game after game. The next two weeks on that front will be very important to us.

"In the next two weeks we go to Cardiff, play Hull and Everton, we travel to Naples and then to Manchester City when we will play on Saturday at 12:45, so the schedule is quite tough."

Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini caused something of a stir on Tuesday night after he cut off the sleeves of his shirt.

Gunners' dressing room tradition has long seen the captain decide on the matchday kit for the whole team.

Wenger said: "He will wear the normal sleeves.

"It is a tradition I bought in when I came here. We had always that debate when it gets to October - do we play short sleeves or long sleeves? Half the team wanted long, and half wanted short.

"So I said, look, we decide before the game, we play what you want but all the same.

"From that moment on it is always the captain after consulting the players who decides and everybody respected it."

Trimming the club colours is one thing, but Wenger joked "we would all hang outside the Emirates" if Arsenal tried to change them completely, as Cardiff's Malaysian owner Vincent Tan did when switching from blue to red.

"He managed to do it, but if you take the case of Arsenal, with the history of the club, it would be extremely difficult," he added.

Bet with SkyBet  Arsenal Specials. Click here to bet.

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e was right to leave, but not just because of the money City were coming into. If I remember rightly he had a reasonable amount of chances to shine at City, but he never passed the bloody ball. Loads of aimless dribbles and 40 yard shots and not much else. I would say that if he had learnt to be a bit more of a team player he may have done better at City.

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h! And.... has it gone in!?' Well John, it is quite literally your job to tell me, so stop phrasing it as a question.

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