Aaron Ramsdale exclusive interview: Arsenal panicked last season as top four collapsed – this year is different
Aron Ramsdale insists Arsenal “know what it takes” to keep their cool in the title chase and says they learned from their meltdown at the end of last season.
Arsenal enter the international break eight points clear at the top of the table with ten games to play, but still have to visit a Manchester City chasing side who have been locked in worrying equipment in recent weeks, and have also a game in hand.
Mikel Arteta’s side have lost five of their last 11 games last term to cede fourth place to rivals Tottenham, but Ramsdale are confident they won’t ‘panic’ this time around.
“At the end of last season, we panicked in some games, I think we learned from [that]said Ramsdale standard sports. “I think we know how to deal with that much better now.
“That’s not to say we’re not going to go into a game and panic again. But for the most part we know what’s needed and how to play and how to conduct ourselves. We’re a young team, we’ve had a very difficult team last year missing the top four and at Tottenham it’s even more [tough]so we are learning game by game. I think a big credit goes to the staff, but also to our failure last year.
City play ahead of Arsenal in the next three rounds, giving Pep Guardiola’s side the chance to put pressure on Arteta’s young side.
But Ramsdale continued: “Deep down as a footballer, you know what’s going on. You know when City have won and the gap is potentially [down to] two points or five points. But the feeling that we have at the football club at the minute, especially for me, I have so much fun.
“It’s like playing with your friends again. You feel like you’re going to win, but you don’t take it for granted. Suddenly you can be 2-0, 3-0 and you’re on cruise control. It’s just a great feeling.
Ramsdale believes this season’s signings, including Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko from champions City this summer and the January addition of Jorginho from Chelsea, have added much-needed dressing room experience, and says their cast of young talent is also came.
“The additions of Jesus and Zinchenko are a huge help,” said the keeper. “They’ve been there and done it. Jorginho is now in [in January] and he was there and did it, [winning] all trophies other than the Premier League and the World Cup.
“But then you also have people like Bukayo [Saka], Gabby Martinelli and Martin Odegaard who are another year in the Premier League, another year wiser and international experiences in the World Cup and captain of the football club. So I think everyone has a story, which added to last year’s story and added more strings to their bow. At the moment, everything is working superbly well and we are reaping the benefits.
Ramsdale also praised Arteta and said the ‘intense’ Spaniard’s unique approach to management helps keep the team sharp.
Arteta was responsible for bringing a replica of the iconic clock positioned above the end of the clock at the Emirates Stadium into the dressing room for the recent win at Fulham, as part of a bid to make the remote grounds more like home.
“He’s intense, really intense,” Ramsdale said. “He just loves football, loves Arsenal, loves developing young players, which is amazing.
“He comes up with these things to try to move us forward. We play games at the hotel. Sometimes it can be dodgeball, sometimes it can be the difference on TV to get our brains working, it’s just his way of trying to get us fired up before the game, before the warm-up, making sure that we are live and breathe football when we are resting.
“The clock was another genius idea. It’s not all working out, but what he’s trying to get out of it, I can definitely see the benefits.
Ramsdale himself has also played a key role in Arsenal’s superb season and was speaking after being named Goalkeeper of the Year at the London Football Awards last week. The 24-year-old, who is currently part of the England squad preparing for this week’s European Championship qualifiers against Italy and Ukraine, says he feels settled in as a top goalkeeper two years after signing with Sheffield United.
“I feel like I’ve established myself, especially at a club that pushes for certain things: Europe, titles or trophies,” he said.
“I know it can be taken away in the blink of an eye, but I feel part of the group and what I can contribute, as well as helping out when I’m not playing. It’s definitely not over, but I know it was a tough journey to get here and I really enjoyed participating.