FA Cup: Aaron Ramsey has the taste for more success with Arsenal

Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey with the FA Cup trophy after sealing a 3-2 extra-time win against Hull City last year.
Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey with the FA Cup trophy after sealing a 3-2 extra-time win against Hull City last year.
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Aaron Ramsey ended Arsenal’s nine-year wait for silverware and hopes, like London buses, trophies will all come in a rush for the Gunners.

The Wales midfielder scored the extra-time winner in last season’s FA Cup final against Hull City and hopes the Gunners can repeat the victory against Aston Villa at Wembley today before mounting a sustained Premier League title challenge next term.

Ramsey’s winners’ medal is in a trophy cabinet in his home “which is slowly growing,” he said, as he targets another success after Arsenal’s late-season charge secured third place in the league.

“Hopefully we can win the FA Cup this year. Then that’ll be two things in two years so hopefully we can just keep that run of winning things going,” said Ramsey.

“Back-to-back finals are not an easy thing to achieve. In the second half of the season we have shown the form that we need throughout the season to win this league.

“We certainly showed that we are capable of going on these big runs and not losing too many games.

“If we can just show that consistency throughout the season then we’ll be challenging for the Premier League, and that’s what we’ll be looking to do next year.”

Ramsey knows Arsenal must justify their position as favourites against Villa by going out to win the trophy.

“It’s so important to have that hunger and determination to go out and prove that you’re worthy winners,” he said.

“It’s not going to be an easy game, we’re going to have to be aware of that, but all the lads are even more hungry to win something this time around.

“We want that feeling that we had last year and we want to go on and win more things.”

Ramsey’s strike against Hull completed a remarkable recovery from the Gunners, who fell 2-0 down within eight minutes.

“I was thankful in a way that they did score their two goals early on in the game and that we did have a large chunk of the game to get back into it,” he said.

“That gave us the kick that we needed to get going.

“We managed to score before half-time and then it felt like we were in control of the game and created a few opportunities to get back into it.

“We managed to do that and to win in extra-time was amazing.

“To score a winner in the FA Cup final, it’s everybody’s dream and I managed to live it.

“To finally win something after all those years and the pressure that has been put on this club was such a nice feeling of relief to finally win something.”

The 24-year-old hopes to experience the ecstasy of victory without the agony this season.

He said: “We never do it easy. We’ve experienced what it’s like now, going a few goals behind early in the game, but we still believed in ourselves and our ability to get through it.

“Hopefully, it will be a bit easier this time and we won’t have to put so many people through that.

“Villa are a good team, very solid and of late they’ve been in really good form, so we’ll have to be aware of that.”

Ramsey is a rumoured target for Barcelona, once their transfer embargo is lifted, but he insisted he has one solitary focus.

“That’s just something that’s been written in the papers,” he said.

“I’m focused on Arsenal and winning the FA Cup. That sort of news doesn’t affect me or even enter my mind.”

Villa FA Cup hero Peter McParland, meanwhile, has called on the West Midlands club to harness the spirit of 1957 and revealed then-coach Bill Moore had already planned their celebrations beforehand.

The 81-year-old scored twice in Villa’s last FA Cup win 58 years ago when they beat Manchester United 2-1 at Wembley.

Faced with the Busby Babes Villa were underdogs but McParland said they believed they would win after trainer Moore, who aided boss Eric Houghton, outlined their plans for a post-victory photo opportunity.

McParland, the last player to score for the club in the FA Cup final, senses a similar situation to 1957.

“Arsenal are going to be hot favourites and back then Manchester United were hot favourites,” he said.

“It’s about Villa showing they can do things against Arsenal.

“We were the same. We had the last team talk in the hotel and our trainer Bill Moore, who was way before his time, nominated two players – Stan Lynn and Peter Aldis – to get the captain (Johnny Dixon) on their shoulders with the Cup.

“That was a tradition then, the skipper being lifted up, and if you see the pictures Bill is in front with a big smile on his face so he had all that planned.

“He knew where he was going to be too. He got down the front and he has a terrific smile on his face.

“That was a psychological boost for us. We were confident and there was a spirit in the team that we could do this.”

McParland, who played for Villa between 1952 and 1962, had a crucial role at Wembley that day, scoring twice after a crunching collision with United goalkeeper Ray Wood after just six minutes.

McParland recovered well enough to grab a five-minute brace in the 68th and 73rd minute to win the trophy for Villa, despite Tommy Taylor’s consolation.

“Jackie Sewell was on the corner of the area and played a beautiful ball in and I directed it straight into Ray Wood’s hands,” he recalled.

“We both kept running and fortunately Ray pulled away at the last minute.

“The side of my head hit him in the cheekbone. When I went down on the deck half of the 100,000 people were booing. I recovered and Ray had a cracked cheekbone and came back to play on the wing – and caused a few problems!”