Aaron Ramsey accepts Arsenal have to perform better against the bigger side on the road if they are to win the Premier League this season.
The Gunners led the table longer than any of their rivals last term, but ended up finishing fourth behind Chelsea, Liverpool and champions Manchester City. Their cause wasn’t helped by results against these sides on the road: at the Etihad Stadium they lost 6-3 in December, they suffered 5-1 at Anfield in February, and they fell 6-0 at Stamford Bridge in March.
Traditional rivals Manchester United also beat them at Old Trafford, and Everton, who were challenging for fourth-place towards the end of the campaign, saw them off 3-0 at Goodison Park. And ahead of the trip to the blue half of Merseyside this weekend, Ramsey admits he and his team-mates must improve on the road when they face the better teams.
“The biggest thing we need to do is to pick up points against the bigger teams away from home,” he told Sky Sports. “If we’d have nicked a win or a couple draws in those games last season we would have been up there on 84 or 85 points. That’s the one thing we have to improve on. We lost to Everton away last year so we go there on Saturday and we’ll be looking to put things right and hopefully come away with a good result.”
Arsene Wenger’s side began the campaign with a 2-1 home win against Crystal Palace, which was secured courtesy of a stoppage time goal from Ramsey. A 0-0 draw in Turkey against Besiktas in the UEFA Champions League playoff followed on Tuesday night, a match in which the Wales international was sent off in for two bookable offences.
“I think it was a difficult game where a lot of players were going over easily and I think the European refs tend to give those fouls a lot more than they do over here, so that’s something I am going to have to learn,” he added. “That’s my first red card for Arsenal and hopefully my last as well. I’ll be a bit more streetwise and not give away free-kicks so cheaply.”
As for Everton, they opened their campaign with a 2-2 draw at top-flight new-boys Leicester City. A repeat of the 3-0 win of last season will give them the confidence they can again challenge for a place in the Champions League, whilst a triumph for the away side would begin to right the wrongs the Gunners experienced on the road last term.
Arsenal fans, how close are you from being a side capable of winning the league? Was the goalless draw in Turkey a good result? Would you take a point at Goodison Park?