Aaron Ramsdale: 'Incredible' save for Arsenal in impressive season

Eyebrows were raised when Arsenal forked out an initial £24m in the summer for Aaron Ramsdale, a goalkeeper with back-to-back relegations on his CV.

The 23-year-old had conceded 130 goals across his last two seasons at Bournemouth and Sheffield United, but has not been on the losing side since displacing Bernd Leno as the Gunners’ number one.

And Ramsdale’s performance against Leicester epitomised his start for Mikel Arteta’s side – making three excellent saves, including one stunning stop from a James Maddison free-kick.

“We needed Aaron because he made an incredible save just before half-time,” Arteta said.

“My reaction there when I saw the ball leaving Maddison’s foot, I said ‘goal’. So I don’t know how it happened, it was incredible – and the moment and the timing.”

Aaron Ramsdale
Ramsdale spent time on loan at Chesterfield and AFC Wimbledon earlier in his career

How good has he been?

While Ramsdale started the season playing second fiddle to Leno, his promotion to first-choice goalkeeper has coincided with a seven-game unbeaten league run.

And bar Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy (90%), the Sheffield United academy product can boast the highest save percentage in the Premier League (86%) of any goalkeeper to have faced more than two shots on target this season.

Name Number of saves Percentage
Edouard Mendy (Chelsea) 27 90%
Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal) 24 86%
Jose Sa (Wolves) 27 75%
Lukasz Fabianski (West Ham) 25 71%
Jordan Pickford (Everton) 25 70%

While his save from Maddison was arguably the game’s standout moment, he also made important interventions to prevent Jonny Evans, Ademola Lookman and Harvey Barnes from pulling the hosts back into the contest.

It ensured he was rated player of the match on the BBC Sport player rater with a score of 9.36, the second highest mark awarded to any Premier League goalkeeper this term.

“He is playing with a lot of composure, in a really natural way and showing great quality,” Arteta added.

“He made three big saves in the game. When you want to win matches and have that consistency you need players to perform at the top level and Aaron did that today.”

David Seaman, who won two Premier League titles and four FA Cups during a 13-year spell at Arsenal, has also been one of several high-profile former players to praise Ramsdale’s performances this term.

“I’ve been really impressed because it’s a massive step for him, he’s been at Bournemouth and Sheffield United and now he’s at Arsenal and playing like he belongs there,” Seaman told BBC World Service before the game.

“His confidence is brilliant and his form is really good as well. He’s very lively with his feet, his reactions are brilliant and almost every game he’s making a big save and doing it perfectly.”

Future England number one?

Ramsdale has become a popular figure at the Emirates, where he not only had to dislodge Leno, but persuade supporters he was the right man to challenge the German, after previous back-up Emiliano Martinez was allowed to leave for Aston Villa.

“He’s gone to a big club, two relegations, so think about the mentality,” former Arsenal defender Martin Keown told BT Sport.

“You might’ve felt: ‘was it too much for him?’ But I think he’s stood up, his character has been outstanding but when he was called upon today, really good saves.”

Ramsdale has won caps for England between under-18 and under-21 levels but is yet to make his senior bow.

And while he went to Euro 2020, both Jordan Pickford and Sam Johnstone have played more recently for Gareth Southgate’s side.

However, time appears to be on his side and Arteta believes he could go on to stake a claim for a place in the England team.

“I think when you dream big, it is always positive,” Arteta said.

“Keep your feet on the earth, other people make those decisions, but he needs to be doing what he’s doing every day.

“Train the way he trains, look after himself the way he does, have that mentality he has and good performances and the rest will come.”

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