Arsenal have huge motivation to beat Tottenham to third says Aaron Ramsey
Thursday 22 March 2012
Midfielder Aaron Ramsey feels Arsenal's desire to beat Tottenham to third place in the Barclays Premier League has been clear to see over the last few weeks.
Not long ago, Spurs appeared dead set to secure third spot at the very least while the Gunners, lagging behind the top four, looked outside bets for a Champions League berth.
The form of both sides has changed markedly of late, though, with Tottenham failing to win any of their last four league matches and Arsenal claiming six victories in a row.
Last night's 1-0 triumph at Everton saw the Gunners leapfrog Spurs into third, a point clear of their north London rivals, who drew 1-1 with Stoke.
Perhaps even more significantly, Chelsea lost 2-1 at Manchester City, meaning there is now a six-point gap between Arsenal and fifth place with nine games left.
Arsene Wenger's men seem well on course for the Champions League and Ramsey thinks the team's form is showing how hungry they are to earn automatic qualification to the group stages by pipping Tottenham to a place in the Premier League's top three.
"The results went our way," Ramsey told Arsenal Player. "We carried on our good form and I hope we can keep it up until the end of the season.
"We have proved what we can do and how motivated we are to finish third. We are doing that at the moment, hopefully we can keep going."
Arsenal dominated the early stages of the game at Goodison Park and were in front inside eight minutes when Thomas Vermaelen headed in Robin van Persie's corner.
Everton began to settle and had what appeared to be a legitimate goal chalked off in the 31st minute when the flag was raised for offside against Royston Drenthe.
The hosts continued to press after the break, but Arsenal held out to claim three points at a ground where Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham have all been defeated in 2012.
Ramsey added: "It was great. We battled well and it came off. It was always going to be a tough place to come but we dealt with it well.
"They have done well against some of the top teams in the league so we are very proud."
Arsenal are renowned for their ability to attack in numbers, but their resilience shone through last night as they kept Everton at bay.
Centre-back Laurent Koscielny saw the solidity as a great team effort.
"It's not just the four defenders, it's all the team," Koscielny said.
"Robin (van Persie) made a lot of effort to help us, so it's all the team who defend and attack and we did the job very well.
"We need to carry that into the next game against Aston Villa at home (on Saturday)."
Everton's on-loan winger Steven Pienaar felt the Toffees' slow start to the contest was what ultimately cost them.
"I think it was a poor first 45 minutes from us and we deserved to go a goal down," Pienaar told www.evertonfc.com.
"But I think in the second half we did much better and we could have got a goal back. Unfortunately, it's how you start the game and it ended up in a defeat.
"I didn't see (the disallowed goal). I've heard most of the guys say it was onside but sometimes the officials make mistakes and you have to deal with it."
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