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Ramsey fires Arsenal seven points clear

ESPN staff
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Aaron Ramsey did not celebrate against his old side © Getty Images
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Arsenal put the pressure on their rivals to move seven points clear at the top of the Premier League thanks to a 3-0 victory at Cardiff.

Aaron Ramsey netted his 12th goal of the season by giving Arsenal the lead in the 29th minute against his former side. The Welshman found the back of the net from a free header from Mesut Ozil's cross.

Cardiff forced Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny into a fine save as they enjoyed a dominant spell during the second half.

But Mathieu Flamini as a substitute sealed the points for Arsenal with a tremendous strike four minutes from time, with Ozil once again turning provider with a neat pass. Ramsey then grabbed his second of the game in injury-time when he finished from Theo Walcott's pass.

Ramsey enjoyed a great reception from the home crowd prior to kick-off, and then almost helped put Arsenal ahead after 70 seconds.

His pass picked out Jack Wilshere, who beat David Marshall with a curling effort which rattled the crossbar.

Arsenal's strong start was punctuated by an injury to Per Mertesacker after the German clashed heads with Bacary Sagna, and Cardiff almost capitalised with the defender on the sidelines having further treatment.

Kevin Theophile-Catherine surged down the right to deliver an inviting cross which Campbell headed wide.

Arsenal should have led in the 15th minute but Olivier Giroud made an embarrassing error. The French striker thought he was offside when Ozil attempted to flick a through ball on to him - with replays suggesting the £42 million signing had got a touch - and stopped when clean through on goal.

However, assistant referee Lee Betts did not raise his flag and, by the time Giroud had realised, Steven Caulker had got back to make the block, much to the fury of Arsene Wenger.

Ozil's next contribution saw Arsenal take the lead. His fizzing cross picked out Ramsey's run and the midfielder's header left Marshall with no chance.

Jordon Mutch sent an attempted overhead kick wide from close range but Arsenal were firmly on top and Ramsey could have doubled their lead just before the break. Giroud picked him out at the far post but he was crowded out by defenders and eventually sent his shot well over the bar.

Another chance arrived seconds into the second half. Ramsey was again at the centre of it, bursting past Peter Whittingham and Kim Bo-kyung to tee up Giroud, only for Ben Turner to block the goalbound effort on the line. The miss almost proved costly when Kim flicked on a ball into the Arsenal box and Campbell rose to direct a powerful header goalwards, only for Szczesny to make an excellent low save.

The chance prompted a big improvement in Cardiff's play, the hosts upping the tempo and finding a way to disrupt Arsenal's passing patterns. However, they created little and Arsenal remained a potent threat, with Santi Cazorla hitting a tame effort at Marshall from Wilshere's pass.

Whittingham and Don Cowie worked Szczesny from distance before Flamini slotted home from Ozil's pass for his first Arsenal goal since January 2008, and Ramsey added a third in time added on.

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