Video: Aaron Ramsey scores a stunner as Arsenal beat CSKA
Gunners will take 4-1 lead to Moscow for Europa League quarter-final second leg
Arsenal 4 CSKA Moscow 1
Anything Cristiano Ronaldo can do, Aaron Ramsey can do too. The Welshman’s stunning flick goal against CSKA Moscow last night rivalled the Real Madrid striker’s overhead kick against Juventus on Tuesday.
It was one of four goals in a 26-minute first-half blitz that ripped the heart out of the Russians, and that should secure Arsenal their place in the last four of the Europa League.
The Gunners still have to negotiate an unenviable return leg in Moscow next week, but few doubt they can cope with a Russian side who were lucky to leave the Emirates without conceding three or four more goals.
Of the four they did leak, two came from Ramsey and two from Alexandre Lacazette, back to his best after a difficult winter. But it was the Welshman’s brilliant effort on 28 minutes that had the home fans out of their seats.
Mesut Ozil, outstanding throughout, spotted his teammate in space just inside the CSKA penalty area. His lofted pass left Ramsey with much to do, but he conjured a sublime finish, leaping to meet the ball and then, with his back to the goal, flicking it over the head of the Russian keeper.
“I saw a little movement [from the keeper] so I knew if I managed to get it over him I would have had a chance of it going in, and thankfully it did,” said Ramsey, who had opened the scoring on nine minutes.
CSKA Moscow levelled six minutes later, after a clumsy challenge just outside the area by Laurent Koscielny allowed Aleksandr Golovin to strike a wonderful free kick past Petr Cech.
After that it was all Arsenal, although manager Arsene Wenger cautioned against getting carried away. “We have done half of a job,” he said. “We have to be realistic. We have to do the job over there, go and try to win the game, that’s the best way.”
Only around 200 CSKA fans made the trip to the Emirates and there was no trouble before, during or after the game - which comes as a relief given the strained relations between Britain and Russia.
Now Arsenal must hope Thursday’s return leg passes peacefully. Asked if he had concerns about going to Moscow, Ramsey said: “No, of course not. We’re going over there for a game of football so we’re looking forward to that... we’re looking forward to the rest of the season and, hopefully, we can finish off strongly.”