When Arsenal signed Aaron Ramsdale from Sheffield United last summer, many Arsenal fans were understandably concerned that the club was shelving out a substantial fee of around £30m for a goalkeeper that had suffered back-to-back relegations.
But since his introduction into the side in September 2021, at home to Norwich, Ramsdale has impressed and not relinquished his role as the starting goalkeeper in north London. He made several extraordinary saves throughout his debut season, with his denial of a James Maddison free-kick being the standout, as he immediately endeared himself to the Emirates faithful.
Not only was Ramsdale’s shot-stopping impressive, but his distribution was also significantly better than Bernd Leno’s. His composed – sometimes too composed – nature and ability to pick out a player allowed the side to get from back to front in a matter of seconds. It made opposition sides’ pressing more difficult, as his pinpoint passes to the likes of Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka bypassed their efforts.
Should Arsenal fans be concerned with Aaron Ramsdale’s form?
As the season progressed, however, Ramsdale’s form started to dip somewhat. He was no longer making as many stunning saves and was more prone to procrastination on the ball. His distribution, though still exceptional, was at times reckless.
His near post became a particular weakness. He conceded goals he simply shouldn’t have done to Liverpool’s Diogo Jota and Brighton’s Enock Mwepu.
To start 2022/23, although we are just two games in, Ramsdale has been a mixed bag. He made a couple of good saves in the win at Crystal Palace to preserve our advantage, but his performance against Leicester in the following game was poor.
He had some moments where his excursions sowed confusion, including for William Saliba’s own goal. He was culpable for Maddison’s goal too, with the Englishman scoring from an unlikely angle as the ball went through Ramsdale’s legs.
With Leno’s departure and the acquisition of Matt Turner, who has yet to prove he can challenge, Ramsdale may feel he has room to drop his standards due to the lack of quality competition that could displace him. Mikel Arteta has proven, though, that he is more than willing to drop players or send them packing, so the Englishman will no doubt have to cut out his mistakes.
Arsenal fans will hope Ramsdale dramatically improves his form and returns to his impressive outings when he was introduced into the starting lineup. If Arsenal are to build on a promising start to the season, the side will need a strong Ramsdale that can bail the team out when necessary.