Ramsdale reveals secret to Arsenal back four’s success
This was an Arsenal victory undoubtedly built on the efficiency of the forward line in the final third, and don’t worry there’s plenty of praise to come for them, but before we get to that, how about a shout out for the Gunners back five.
It has to be back five because to ignore the performance of Aaron Ramsdale would be criminal.
If the England under-21 international hadn’t won over the vocal doubters he had before arriving in North London with clean sheets in his first three matches, his performance in the North London Derby ought to have done the trick.
Yes he did let in his first goal, but some of the saves he made were sublime. The outstretched finger tip he managed to get to a late looping deflected Lucas Moura effort was the pick of the bunch.
It is not just the 23-year-old’s shot stopping ability that makes him stand out though, it is the instant connection he has been able to form with the defenders in front of him.
After Takehiro Tomiyasu followed in to clear a rebound from a fine Ramsdale save before Heung-Min Son could tap in, the former Sheffield United stopper made a point of going out to high five the Japanese international and thank him.
The defence seem far more pumped up with him around, with Gabriel again showing signs of leadership, constantly encouraging his teammates at set pieces and Kieran Tierney already not exactly lacking in the desire department.
A special mention in the defence should go to Ben White who had a superb match.
Much has been made of the England international’s supposed inability to do the actual defending part of being a centre back, but he was able to prove his capabilities on Sunday.
An early crunching tackle on Son set the tone, while the aerial duel that he won with Harry Kane led directly to Emile Smith Rowe’s opener.
This group of Ramsdale, Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel and Tierney have only been together for three games but they look to have the hallmarks of an excellent Arsenal back line.
When asked what the secret to this was after the game Ramsdale revealed that extra time spent on the training pitch had been key.
“Although it was bitterly disappointing not going away with the England squad last camp, I think that gave me 10, 12 days with probably about 10 to 12 of the lads which I wouldn’t get normally,” he told Ian Wright after the game.
Looking back on it now it seems that time spent together over the international break and the increased periods spent at London Colney is proving the secret to this Gunners’ backline’s understanding of one another.
Mikel Arteta will be hoping it can continue for as long as possible.