Mikel Arteta’s ‘volcano’ the key to Arsenal improvement after impressive Leicester win

Mikel Arteta after Arsenal's victory against Leicester

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When Arsenal were in the midst of a transfer tug-of-war with Sheffield United for Aaron Ramsdale in the summer there were plenty of confused and dissenting voices. Did the Gunners really need to spend £24million on a new goalkeeper? A few months on and those questions have a pretty emphatic answer.

Arsenal’s problems over the past few seasons have rarely been attributed to Bernd Leno, who has, in the most part, been a steady if unspectacular presence between the posts.

The German was Arsenal’s undisputed number one goalkeeper for three successive seasons after joining from Bayer Leverkusen.

Understandably, he didn’t take too kindly to Ramsdale’s arrival, with the 23-year-old providing a clear threat to his position.

Yet that competition for places is exactly what Arsenal needed. Ramsdale has come in, given the squad a shot in the arm and performed consistently well.

Even when they are not regularly called upon, goalkeepers have the ability to set the tone at the back of the team. It may be a cliche, but Ramsdale is a good man to have in the dressing room.

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Thankfully, he’s also a brilliant shot-stopper too, as he showed in the 2-0 win over Leicester on Saturday.

Ramsdale made eight saves in total, including a jaw-dropper from James Maddison’s free-kick at the end of the first half.

His work ensured the goals from Gabriel and Emile Smith Rowe were not wasted as Arsenal extended their unbeaten run to nine games with an impressive win.

Arteta was happy to talk about his goalkeeper in his post-match press conference.

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“I think he’s settled in a group that is very welcoming, that has a lot of young energy with very humble senior players that accommodate you straight away,” he said.

“Aaron’s character is full of energy. He’s a volcano, he can transmit that passion and they have great togetherness in the team.”

Ramsdale is still yet to lose a game when playing for Arsenal and the side’s run of six clean sheets in their unbeaten run stretching back to the 5-0 defeat by Manchester City on August 28 is surely not a coincidence. His transfer fee was money well spent, as Arteta was keen to point out.

“We invest money in talent and people that we believe can be great for the future of the club,” the Gunners manager said.

“We made the decision based on that. Aaron has had some really encouraging performances.

“Today he made some incredible saves to help the team maintain the clean sheet. He needs to continue to do that. In football he has to do that for 50 games for 20 years. It is only the start.”

Arsenal are now up to sixth place in the Premier League and are level on points with West Ham and Manchester United.

aThey have quietly gone about revitalising their season and their goalkeeper has undoubtedly played a key role in that transformation.

Ramsdale has previously stated that he is aiming to become England’s number one goalkeeper by the time the 2022 World Cup rolls around in a year’s time. And on this form, why not?

“When you dream big it’s always positive,” Arteta said. “Keep your feet on the earth, there are people who make those decisions and he needs to be doing what he’s doing every day.

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

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