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Saturday 16 December 2017

Blow for Arsenal as talisman Ramsey is an injury doubt

Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey celebrates after scoring the winner against Crystal Palace
Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey celebrates after scoring the winner against Crystal Palace

Midfielder Aaron Ramsey could miss Arsenal's Premier League clash with champions Manchester City onSaturday after twisting his ankle on a pitch described by Walesteam-mate Gareth Bale as "the worst I have ever played on."

Ramsey, who has scored in two of Arsenal's three PremierLeague games this season, limped off in the final minutes of Wales' 2-1 win in Andorra after two goals from Real Madrid's Bale had spared Welsh blushes on an artificial surface described by manager Chris Coleman as "not up to the standard for a UEFA qualifier."

Coleman said: "He got a kick and there was a twist in his ankle. It was coming to the end of the game and it was pointless taking a risk with him.

"Hopefully he'll be OK for Arsenal at the weekend, but we'llhave to see what the next 24 to 48 hours hold."

Ramsey's bright form and ability to score decisive late goals would be sorely missed by Arsenal if he fails to recover in time for the lunchtime fixture.

Fresh from signing a new four-year contract with Manchester City and taking over as captain of Bosnia, Edin Dzeko has every reason to smile when he considers his future.

But the 28-year-old striker spoke with some trepidation about Saturday's trip to London. "It will be difficult, but I'm an optimist," he said. "As with every season, there are several teams that will battle for the title of champions in England.

"This season, Chelsea might be the most serious challenger, but we mustn't ignore Liverpool, Tottenham (Hotspur), Arsenal or (Manchester) United, who certainly will be much stronger than last year. After all, everyone has gotten (sic) stronger and everyone wants to be first."

Dzeko scored five goals in City's final four games last season to cement his status at the Etihad Stadium and steer the club to the championship.

"The past season was one of the best in my career," he said. "In the end, we reached the title of champions of England, the second in the past three seasons, and we succeeded in winning the Capital One Cup. I am really happy how everything played out."

City signed the powerful Dzeko in January 2011 from German club VfL Wolfsburg, where he scored freely as they won the 2009 Bundesliga title.

He progressed fitfully under then-manager Roberto Mancini, often receiving criticism for his touch and consistency, but blossomed last season with the arrival of new boss Chilean Manuel Pellegrini.

"I am happy at City," he said, when asked about his new contract. "The manager believes in me, which is certainly important, and I give my all on the pitch."

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