By Clare Fallon
During the long hours in the gym as he fought his way back to fitness from a horrific leg injury, Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey must have wondered whether he still had a future in football.
The February 2010 injury, when he shattered two bones in a tackle by Stoke City’s Ryan Shawcross, was a distant memory on Thursday as England’s media hailed the 22-year-old Welsh international as Arsenal’s Champions League hero.
Ramsey’s headed goal in the 62nd minute gave the Londoners an important 1-0 win over last season’s runners-up Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday, putting them firmly on the road towards qualification for the last 16.
Inevitably dubbed ‘Rampant Rambo’ by the tabloids, Ramsey celebrated his 11th Arsenal goal in 17 games this season, equalling his entire scoring tally from his previous five seasons with the club.
“Where on earth would Arsenal be without him?” asked the Daily Mirror.
“Quite simply, the Welsh midfielder has taken everyone’s breath away this season as he has been transformed into a world beater who last night stunned Borussia Dortmund in their own backyard.”
While Dortmund tried to digest what coach Juergen Klopp called a “nasty, vicious” defeat, Arsenal enjoyed the view from the top of Group F where they have nine points, equal with Napoli but ahead of the Italian side on goal difference.
A home victory against Olympique Marseille, who have yet to score a point, on November 26 would all but clinch qualification for Arsenal whose domestic form has put them five points clear at the top of the Premier League.
Wednesday’s win extended their unbeaten away record to 15 games and Ramsey, who has been at the club since joining from Cardiff City at the age of 17, was given much of the credit.
“Aaron Ramsey can do no wrong,” said the Guardian. “Everything he touches turns to goals right now.”
By Clare Fallon