Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey has raised hopes of his fitness for this weekend’s blockbuster clash with Manchester City after injuring his ankle in Wales’s 2-1 victory over Andorra on Tuesday.
The injury came on Andorra’s heavily criticized la Vella stadium pitch, which utilizes a 3G artificial surface with rubber bits.
After Andorra stunned Wales by taking a sixth-minute lead through Ildefons Lima’s penalty, Chris Coleman’s side went level 16 minutes later through Gareth Bale before the Madrid man curled in a beautiful 81st minute free-kick to claim all three points.
Just before the final whistle, however, the glee turned to glum when Ramsey went down clutching his ankle, requiring substitution. Following the match, Ramsey was livid citing the lack of pliability that is likely to be the subject of action from UEFA following the filing of the official match report.
“I don’t know how you could play football on that pitch to be honest. Normally we play quick and play the ball on the floor, playing around teams, but we couldn’t do that. It was bobbly so it was very difficult.” Coleman echoed the midfielder’s sentiments: “In my opinion the pitch is not up to the standard of a Uefa qualifier … If you’re a passing team, forget it.”
Arsenal fans feared the worst, another key player sustaining injury while on international duty, but hopes were raised Wednesday when Ramsey spoke of his improved fitness.
“I’ll be all right – the pitch was very hard there’s no give in it so I rolled my ankle a bit,” Ramsey said. “Hopefully it will be nothing and I’ll be available for Saturday. These are the games you want to play in and I’m looking forward to it.”
With Olivier Giroud (ankle) and Theo Walcott (knee) both ruled out for this weekend’s match at the Emirates (Saturday 7:45am ET on NBCSN), news of Ramsey’s positive outlook will raise spirits among Gunners fans. The Welshman is enjoying yet another strong start to a Premier League season, scoring in two of Arsenal first three matches, the 2-1 win over Crystal Palace and the 2-2 draw with Everton.