Arsenal confidence is returning says Aaron Ramsey

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The Independent Football

Aaron Ramsey claims Arsenal are ready to put their troubled start to the season behind them after his injury-time strike secured victory in Marseille.

While the scars inflicted by Manchester United's 8-2 humbling of the Gunners earlier this season, not to mention further defeats to Liverpool, Blackburn and derby rivals Tottenham, will take some time to disappear, Arsene Wenger's men are beginning the healing process.

The Champions League has proved a consistent source of optimism, starting with an impressive two-legged victory over Serie A high-fliers Udinese in the play-offs and continuing in the group stages, where Arsenal are unbeaten after three matches.

Midfielder Ramsey's clinical conversion in the second minute of added time last night provided a 1-0 win in their stiffest test yet, away to their main Group F rivals Marseille at the formidable Stade Velodrome.

Now the Welshman, who had been on the field less than 15 minutes when he secured the points in France, believes there is good cause to look ahead with positivity.

"We haven't had the greatest of starts to the season but, hopefully, we've turned the corner by getting a few wins on the bounce and we want to keep it going," said Ramsey.

"There is no question our confidence is returning now.

"In past games, we could have defended better as a team and it was a bit harsh to blame it on the defence. I thought they did magnificently last night."

Seven points from their last three European outings is a sequence to be proud of, especially with neither Borussia Dortmund or Olympiacos naturally fulfilling the role of group makeweight.

But Ramsey is quick to stress that the form must be replicated in the Premier League.

A 2-1 win over Sunderland last weekend still only lifted Wenger's side to 10th in the standings and there are sure to be further trials ahead - starting with Stoke on Sunday.

Stoke manager Tony Pulis has got the better of Wenger before and will be eager to do so again at the Emirates Stadium, although he must also cope with the rigours of a continental campaign due to his side's Europa League participation.

Ramsey simply wants to repeat what has proved successful in the Champions League.

"We've done well in Europe so far so we just want to keep the momentum going in the league," he said.

"It is important to keep that momentum going and, hopefully, get another win at the weekend."

Ramsey spent nine months on the sidelines after a tackle by Potters defender Ryan Shawcross left him with a double leg fracture last year.

He has played against them once since then and does not intend on letting that incident play on his mind when their paths cross again at the weekend.

"I am fine. It is just another game for me and what happened before is in the past," he said.

Arsenal have injury concerns over Kieran Gibbs, who missed the Marseille clash with a stomach muscle strain, and fellow full-back Carl Jenkinson who was forced off after an hour with a knee complaint.

PA

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