Arsenal star Aaron Ramsdale insists he is thankful for the Premier League defeat Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United side inflicted on the Gunners at the start of September. The north London giants started the weekend at the top of the table after taking 31 points from their opening 12 matches.
“It was a good reset for us,” the goalkeeper said. “It showed that we’re not untouchable, we still have a lot to work on – no matter where we are in the league. It’s good every now and then to be reminded of things. Of course, we didn’t want to lose and it’s definitely a crinkle in the sheets. But it came at a good time and is one we really bounced back from well.”
Arsenal have dropped just two Premier League points in their six matches since their defeat at Old Trafford and recorded back-to-back victories over Tottenham and Liverpool at the start of October.
The Gunners have also enjoyed a smooth passage to the last 16 of the Europa League after winning five of their group matches. And after keeping his fifth clean sheet of the season against Zurich on Thursday night, Ramsdale says his team have surpassed their own expectations this term.
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“We’re ahead of what we thought we’d be in both leagues,” the 24-year-old said. “We can now put Europe to the side and focus on the last few games before the World Cup.”
If Arsenal get the better of Chelsea and then win at Wolves next weekend, they will secure their place as Premier League leaders during the break for this winter’s World Cup. And Ramsdale is desperate for his side to be top the table when the tournament in Qatar is taking place.
“It would be massive – that goes without saying,” the talented shot-stopper added. “If we go in like that, then obviously we have had a great first period of the league. And throughout the World Cup, the management staff can re-evaluate things, players who have stayed behind can train really hard, and when we come back in we can put all that work on paper. It’s going to be a massive psychological boost if we can do that.”
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Arsenal have struggled away from home against the big sides in recent years and picked up just three points on their visits to Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham and Chelsea last season.
But those points came at Stamford Bridge as the Gunners thumped the Blues 4-2. And Ramsdale will be hoping his side can repeat that performance on Sunday and claim victory once again across the capital.