Aaron Ramsey looking to prosper in 'big month' ahead for Arsenal

Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool as well as an FA Cup replay lie ahead

Midfielder Aaron Ramsey believes Arsenal are ready to meet their “big month” head on.

The Gunners host Barclays Premier League champions Manchester City on Sunday to start a run of six potential crunch fixtures before the end of January - with a Champions League last-16 tie against Bayern Munich also looming on the not-too-distant horizon.

After an FA Cup replay against Swansea at Emirates Stadium next Wednesday, Arsenal then travel to Chelsea on January 20, before tackling West Ham in their rearranged Boxing Day fixture, which is followed by a possible FA Cup fourth-round tie at Brighton ahead of the visit of Liverpool.

Wales international Ramsey, however, insists the squad have the strength of character to cope with such a demanding schedule.

"It is a big month for us. We play some teams who are above us [in the Premier League] and we have an FA Cup game as well, so it is important to take these opportunities," Ramsey said on Arsenal Player.

"We have Manchester City at home and Chelsea away, games that we did well in last season, so hopefully we can do the same again this year and that will set us up nicely for the run in to the end of the season."

Arsenal have some decent form against City in recent encounters, beating the big-spending Blues 1-0 at Emirates Stadium in April and battling to a 1-1 draw away earlier this season.

Ramsey feels the Gunners can use those results as a positive for this weekend's showdown, where victory would keep them within striking distance of the top four.

"It will give us an extra bit of belief," he added.

"We beat them last year at home and with Yaya Toure gone to the Africa Cup of Nations, it is a big loss for them.

"He is a big player for them and so influential, so hopefully we can take full advantage of that and get another good result."

Arsenal have also seen their options hit by the African Nations Cup, as forward Gervinho is away with the Ivory Coast.

However, Arsene Wenger could see his midfield options boosted by the return of Abou Diaby.

The injury-plagued France international played for the Under-21s in their midweek draw against West Brom in what was a first competitive fixture since hobbling out against Chelsea on September 29 with a thigh problem.

Arsenal Under-21s coach Terry Burton said: "Diaby was arguably the pick of the senior players that came in.

"He came into the game and started to develop his all-round game, got on the ball and controlled the game.

"He can slow the tempo down or speed it up.

"Hopefully he has come through the game well."

Full-back Andre Santos also made his comeback from a stomach muscle injury, scoring the equaliser in a game which saw midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong, who had just returned from a loan spell at Charlton, shown a red card after collecting two late bookings and must now serve a suspension.

Arsenal, meanwhile, remain hopeful of pushing through an improved contract offer for Theo Walcott, with reports suggesting a new five-year deal worth around £90,000 could even be signed ahead of the City game.

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine