Arsenal Has Its Swagger Back And His Name Is Aaron Ramsdale
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It’s been quite some time since Arsenal has had any sort of swagger to its game. Having slowly fallen from the upper echelon of the Premier League, the Gunners are experiencing their first season out of Europe in nearly three decades. But led by some shithousing from keeper Aaron Ramsdale, Arsenal looks to have rediscovered its confidence.
Ramsdale made eight saves, including a stunning, sprawling denial of a James Maddison free kick, as Arsenal blanked Leicester City 2-0 on Saturday. The 23-year-old English goalkeeper added to his mystique by joining along with Leicester fans singing “you’re shit” to him.
Leicester fans were chanting "oooohh you're shit aahhhhh" and he said ahhh with them pic.twitter.com/8EuOVbgFq1— KG (@KingKosser) October 30, 2021
After losing three straight league matches to open the season, Mikel Arteta replaced Bernd Leno with Ramsdale as the Gunners’ No. 1 keeper, and the youngster has been key to the current seven-match unbeaten run in league play. His self-confidence in goal has helped solidify what has for years been a shaky back line, and he’s bailed out his defense with some of the best saves of the season.
Just before halftime on Saturday, Ramsdale kept out an upper-90 free kick from Maddison before getting up in time to prevent Jonny Evans from poking home the rebound.
Ramsdale Save vs Leicester City
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) October 30, 2021
“My reaction when I saw the ball leaving Maddison’s foot, I said ‘goal,’” Arteta said after the match. “I don’t know how it happened. It was incredible. And the timing of it as well was crucial.”
Peter Schmeichel, father of Leicester keeper Kasper and one of the greatest goalies of all time, was impressed by the save. (For his part, Kasper Schmeichel was excellent in goal on Saturday too.)
Best save I’ve seen for years by Ramsdale— Peter Schmeichel (@Pschmeichel1) October 30, 2021
There’s no doubt Ramsdale is a man in fine form right now. And he knows it too, using the occasion to do a little shithousing with the Leicester fans.
When the final whistle blew, he made sure to let the supporters at the King Power Stadium know who came out on top.
Post match celebrations - starting with Ramsdale celebrating in front of the Leicester fans who had been giving him grief throughout the second half.Banging his Arsenal badge and then bowing in front of them pic.twitter.com/IC3brTmqMK
— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) October 30, 2021
While you could argue it’s poor sportsmanship or too brash from a side that went into the weekend closer to the relegation zone than Chelsea atop the league, Ramsdale has backed up his swagger.
Of all Premier League goalkeepers who have faced at least two shots this season, only Chelsea’s Benjamin Mendy (89.7%) has a better save percentage than Ramsdale (85.7%), who has kept out 24 of 28 shots he’s faced.
“We invest money in talents that we believe can be great for the future of the club,” Arteta said. “And we made that decision (to sign Ramsdale) based on that. Aaron has had some really encouraging performances. Today he made some incredible saves. You can have some great games, but doing it for 20 years, that’s the challenge.
“He can dream big, and that is very positive.”
Gabriel, who has looked like one of the best center backs in the league in recent weeks, scored the opener on a header in the fifth minute and Emile Smith Rowe made it 2-0 in the 18th. The rest was down to Ramsdale and the defense, as the Gunners, at least briefly, surged up to fifth place in the Premier League.
Leicester City vs. Arsenal Highlights
Information from Reuters was used in this report.