SWANSEA (AFP) - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said he was never in any doubt Aaron Ramsey would return to his best form after the midfielder's goal helped secure a 2-1 win at Swansea for the Premier League leaders.
Ramsey spent nearly eight months on the sidelines after suffering a broken leg following a horror tackle by Stoke City's Ryan Shawcross in February 2010.
When he finally returned, Ramsey went on loan to Nottingham Forest and Cardiff City in a bid to rebuild his confidence.
It took time for the now 22-year-old Wales international to look the player he had been before his injury setback but this season Ramsey has been in irrepressible form, scoring eight times in league and European football.
Against Swansea, he made one goal for German teenager Serge Gnabry and scored himself as Arsenal went two points clear at the top of the table with a deserved victory at the Liberty Stadium.
"Ramsey is a young boy and today he and Gnabry scored. Together they are 40 years old!," said a disbelieving Wenger for whom this victory was an ideal way to mark his 17th anniversary as Gunners boss.
"With Aaron, we must remember that his career was a bit disturbed by a big injury," Wenger added.
"After that he had some bad points and I think the turning point was when people starting to question him.
"It is always an important time in your life. Can you deal with that? That's when I saw him responding and I kept the faith in him because I knew he would come back.
"Even then, he was always in good positions in the box. But because he has improved his technique and has more confidence now, he doesn't rush things. You saw that with his goal today," Wenger explained.
Neither side were able to break the deadlock in the first half despite the efforts of two midfield units who passed the ball with great quality.
Swansea's Wayne Routledge was inches wide with a shot from an acute angle after Michu had robbed Wojiech Szczesny and in first half stoppage time, Gnabry set up Olivier Giroud for a chance the Frenchman should have finished.
"Swansea played well and were sharper than us in the first half, but in the second half we played in a more compact way and we were much more clinical, purposeful and dangerous," Wenger said.
"I think we deserved to win the game." It was certainly a different story after the interval with first Gnabry and then Ramsey giving the Gunners a lead they held on to despite a consolation goal eight minutes from time by Swansea left-back Ben Davies.
Arsenal then had to endure a couple of worrying moments late on as Michael Laudrup's Swansea side pushed on in search of a point.
But defeat meant Swansea had gone three home league games without a win, conceding eight goals in the process.
"We started the second half too deep, went behind the ball and then lost our discipline," said Swansea manager Michael Laudrup.
"The thing that disappointed me was that between their first and second goals, we lost our shape and left too much space for their counter attacks.
"When you are playing against a side with that much quality, you cannot afford to do that."