By Giuseppe Muro
Aaron Ramsey pulled on an Arsenal shirt for the first time in nine months as the Reserves beat Wolves 2-1 on Tuesday.
The midfielder had not played since he suffered a double leg fracture at Stoke in February but he got 45 valuable minutes under his belt on a bitterly cold afternoon at the Club's training ground.
The game was goalless when Ramsey went off at half time but Arsenal secured all three points in the second half thanks to strikes from Roarie Deacon and Gilles Sunu.
Deacon fired the Gunners ahead from close range after 53 minutes and Sunu rounded off a decent move five minutes later to put Neil Banfield’s side firmly in the driving seat.
Sam Winnall’s header made the final 25 minutes a rather nervy affair but Arsenal stood firm on a day Ramsey will always remember.
Manager Banfield welcomed the Welshman and Manuel Almunia into his starting line up - the latter returning from an elbow problem - as James Shea and Oguzhan Ozyakup dropped to the bench.
Deacon moved from his customary position on the wing to spearhead the Arsenal attack and was, as ever, supported by Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Chuks Aneke and Gilles Sunu.
All eyes were on Ramsey as referee Collins got proceedings underway and his first involvement was to harry and disposes Nathan Rooney in midfield within the first minute. He was back.
That was the first of a number of significant contributions from the 19-year-old in the opening exchanges.
After just six minutes he made a positive run into the right channel before winning a throw and then just a minute later went close to marking his return with a goal.
Ramsey received the ball just outside the area before fizzing a low shot towards the bottom-right corner and was only denied by smart save from Aaron McCarey.
The former Cardiff man’s quick-thinking then started a move that almost resulted in a chance for Sunu.
His quick free kick released Emmanuel-Thomas who fed the overlapping Havard Nordtveit on the right and his deep cross found Sunu before Jamie Reckford cleared.
Either side of that chance Aneke could, and perhaps should, have put Arsenal in front. First he headed wide from barely six yards when unmarked and then thundered a shot against the post from a tight angle.
Ramsey was at it again on the half-hour mark as he showed great touch in very little space to find Sunu - who couldn’t get a shot away.
Ramsey's final act of the day was to neatly dribble past two defenders and into the area before running into the giant frame of Ronald Zubar.
A more than satisfying return.
He and Almunia were replaced as part of a pre-planned change at half time with Shea and Ozyakup coming on in their place.
Just five minutes into the second half Wolves missed a golden opportunity to go ahead when John Cassidy fired against the bar from eight yards with the goal at his mercy.
Then three minutes later, Deacon gave Arsenal the lead.
Craig Eastmond showed great endeavour to make space for a shot on the edge of the area and his effort was too hot for McCarey to handle. When he parried, Deacon was on hand to tap home and give the Gunners the initiative.
Sunu made it two five minutes later when he finished well from Conor Henderson’s centre. The substitute received the ball from Deacon inside the area and crossed for the unmarked French striker who side-footed home to cap a fine Arsenal move.
Winnall pulled a goal back after 67 minutes when he powerfully headed past Shea when unmarked. With that came belief from the away side, who started to think they could rescue something from the game.
A period of pressure followed but the Arsenal defence, notably the impressive Miquel and Sead Hajrovic, stood firm to ensure the win.
- Almunia 46
- Miquel (C)
- Ramsey 46
- Sunu Goal!
- Deacon Goal!
- Aneke 55
- Shea 46
- Ozyakup 46
- Henderson 55
Wolverhampton W. Res
- Winnall Goal!