Aaron Ramsdale sat down with Nick Ames at The Guardian recently where he discussed Arsenal’s season so far, thoughts on the title race, the ‘bottlers’ claims and much more…
It was officially announced yesterday that the Arsenal number one has signed a new long-term contract in North London, keeping him at the club until 2027. A few more players are expected to follow in his footsteps, after the outstanding season the Gunners have had, with Bukayo Saka and William Saliba set for contracts extensions before the 2023/24 season gets underway.
Aaron Ramsdale believes the progress Arsenal have made this season is undeniable and he also says the club is moving in the right direction, despite missing out on the Premier League title this season.
Arsenal haven’t won the Premier League in 19 years, since the 2003/04 season, and the youngest team in the league have come the closest to changing that. However it looks like Mikel Arteta’s side will just come up short in the title race this season to one of the best teams in the world, in Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, and I don’t think there’s any shame in that.
Arsenal’s minimal title hopes all but died on Sunday evening when the Gunners were comprehensively beaten at home to Brighton. The players were visibly dejected as they left the Emirates pitch, knowing it was all but impossible to now be Premier League champions this season.
When the Arsenal team arrived at London Colney on Tuesday morning following the defeat, they were expecting the usual post-match debrief from Mikel Arteta. He prefers to wait two days after a disappointing result before talking to his squad about what had gone wrong, but he did not want to talk about Brighton. This time, the Arsenal boss instead chose to look at the bigger picture, to remind his players of what they have achieved this season & to show them how much they have developed as a team.
Aaron Ramsdale on the meeting following the defeat to Brighton: “We did a different style of meeting, just remembering how far we’ve come. He put on the board about how we can still have the most wins by any Arsenal team in the Premier League, and about how it’s very disappointing at the moment but how progressive the season has been, how positive we can be.”
Arsenal have qualified for the UEFA Champions League for the first time in seven years and they will finish inside the top two for only the third time in the last 19 years. The progress is undeniable and this young Arsenal side is only going to get better.
Aaron Ramsdale on his personal performances in 2022/23: “This season has been incredible, the jump from last year especially. But I understood my ability and it was just about trying to unlock that and do it more consistently. I’m still learning and trying to hone some skills but the good thing for me is that I’m helping the team on a regular basis, when called upon, more often than I’m not.”
Arsenal have failed to win five of their last seven matches in the Premier League which has all but handed Manchester City the Premier League title with two games left to play. The run began after the Gunners let two 2-0 leads slip at Anfield and then against West Ham in April. In that time Manchester City were perfect, winning 14 games in a row. That’s the standard Mikel Arteta’s side was up against if they wanted to be champions come May.
Arsenal have been labelled ‘bottlers’ after the way they let their eight point lead at the top of the Premier League table slip over the last month, however Aaron Ramsdale doesn’t agree with the claims.
“It does when it comes from certain people who don’t necessarily have the knowledge or the experience. I also think it’s very hard to say that with a team [City] who have won it in five of the last six years, gone on an 11-game winning streak and will potentially win the treble. So we have to be realistic as well.”
“This narrative of ‘bottled it’, I think it is an easy way out. It’s just quick, cheap narrative from certain people who have not actually gone digging into stories of what we’ve achieved. Some people are saying it and forgetting that other teams have had the same experience as us. We let them worry about that, let them get views and people listening to them. We are disappointed but extremely proud of ourselves as well.”
Aaron Ramsdale isn’t the only one to have this point of view, with Liverpool legend, Jamie Carragher also agreeing with the Arsenal number one, saying he doesn’t think Arsenal bottled the title this season.
Aaron Ramsdale went onto explain how the pressure of fighting for a title is different to the one when you’re in a relegation battle, as he was with Bournemouth and Sheffield United before joining Arsenal: “The pressure of a relegation battle is much worse than fighting for the title. A new pressure will now come because of the expectation of going again next year and trying to sustain that.”
“But it’s more of an enjoyment when you’re at the top of the league, you’re trying to play with freedom, with a smile. When you’re down there, it’s really difficult to have that mindset because at times you’re worrying about what people are thinking: ‘He shouldn’t be enjoying it as much because we’re down at the bottom.’ So for me the pressure down at the bottom is totally worse because who wouldn’t want to be at the top? Who wouldn’t want to be going for the league?”