Arsenal indebted to Ramsey

West Ham United 1 Arsenal 2

In 2007, he was just a 17-year-old kid on the bench for Cardiff City but Aaron Ramsey has come a long way since that day at Wembley. In fact, Ramsey has graduated to running the midfield of one of the most sophisticated teams in Europe.

No Cesc Fabregas, no problem for Arsenal. Not with the 19-year-old Welsh midfielder taking care of matters in the centre of midfield and calmly seeing off another FA Cup shock. Ramsey (pictured) scored Arsenal's equaliser yesterday, his second in two games, and it was his performance that was the defining factor before Eduardo da Silva settled matters with eight minutes remaining.

With Fabregas out of the side and not expected back until the game against Everton on Saturday, Ramsey is doing a fine job of taking his opportunity to play in the Arsenal first team. This is a teenager who can pass, tackle and score goals. He is known as "Rambo" to his team-mates but then in terms of finesse there is a bit more Rimbaud than Sylvester Stallone to his game.

It could so easily have been embarrassing for Arsenal, who only scored their equaliser to Alessandro Diamanti's goal with 14 minutes left, having gradually taken control of the game, with Ramsey integral. He may not be in the team by the time Arsenal play Stoke City in the FA Cup fourth round later this month, but the Wales international has sent a clear signal to his manager that he is comfortable on the big stage.

Wenger said at the start of the season he set Ramsey a target of playing "15-20 games". "It looks like he will get there very quickly," said the Arsenal manager. "He can play on the flanks and at full-back. He is physically very strong and his best position is central midfield because he is a goalscorer."

While Ramsey flourished, his teenage amigo Jack Wilshere struggled to make an impression. Any judgement should take into consideration the fact he only turned 18 on Friday, but given the great strides he made last season you could sense his frustration yesterday.

To put it bluntly, Wilshere had a stinker. When he comes to look back upon what should be a great career, he will remember yesterday as one of those occasions when virtually nothing went right for him. It happens, but for a young man desperate to make his mark in the professional game it must have been chastening that Arsenal's goals came after he was substituted.

As for Wilshere's desire to go out on loan, Wenger said he would have to wait until some of Arsenal's nine injured players return. Even Andrei Arshavin was unavailable for yesterday's game with a foot injury. "He [Wilshere] needs to play because when he does get games he feels under pressure to deliver something special," Wenger said. "I have no worries for him. We need players to come back before he can go out on loan."

This was not quite Wenger's best team – Abou Diaby and Samir Nasri were substitutes and you suspect Arshavin would have played if necessary – but it was close. Amid all the hysteria surrounding weakened teams in the FA Cup, Wenger gave the most sensible assessment of his priorities.

"The FA Cup matters to me," he said. "The team I picked was [selected] because I wanted to win. The problem is that we played Saturday, Wednesday, against West Ham [yesterday] and then we play Bolton on Wednesday and Everton on Saturday. You cannot play every game with the same 11 players."

There were some unfamiliar faces in the West Ham team too, with Gianfranco Zola giving Frank Nouble and Franco Daprela their first starts. Nouble is still just 18 years-old, a £1m signing from Chelsea's academy in the summer, and at times yesterday he was overwhelmed. For his age he is a very powerful player and when he harnesses that, he will be a contender.

The unfortunate Wilshere was partly involved in Diamanti's goal for West Ham in stoppage time at the end of the first half when Valon Behrami's pass struck him on its way through to the Italian. Diamanti held the line perfectly, William Gallas played him onside and he beat Lukasz Fabianski to the goalkeeper's left side.

Ramsey's goal came as West Ham tired. Alex Song, who departs for the African Cup of Nations in Angola today, played in Carlos Vela who, via a deflection, laid it off to Ramsey. His left-footed shot was too powerful for Robert Green. The England goalkeeper should have done a lot better with the winning goal, a tame header from Eduardo that looped over him.

Zola was upbeat, praising the effort of an inexperienced side which he said struggled to keep pace with Arsenal when Diaby and Nasri came on for the last 25 minutes. Wenger said his plans for the transfer window activity would depend on whether the "big guns" Manchester City and Chelsea spent their money in the Premier League or abroad. The way Arsenal look now, they might just have enough resources.

West Ham (4-4-2): Green; Faubert, Tomkins, Upson, Daprela; Diamanti, Kovac, Behrami, Stanislas (Edgar, 87); Jimeenz, Nouble (Sears, 76). Substitutes not used: Stech (gk), Da Costa, Payne, Lee, N'Gala.

Arsenal (4-3-3): Fabianski; Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Silvestre; Ramsey, Song, Merida (Diaby, 65); Wilshere (Nasri, 65), Vela, Eduardo. Substitutes not used: Mannone (gk), Traore, Eastmond, Emmanuel-Thomas, Gilbert.

Booked: West Ham Daprela; Arsenal Song.

Referee: M Clattenburg (Tyne and Wear).

Man of the match: Ramsey.

Attendance: 25,549.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Jay Z has placed a bet on streaming being the future for music and videos
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own