Arsenal came out swinging at the King Power stadium. Pressing high, winning individual battles and being dangerous. It was a dominant opening 30 or so minutes followed by mostly protecting the lead until the last 30 or so minutes of the game. Gabriel scored from a superb in-swinger set piece from Saka and Smith-Rowe followed up on the counter to smash it past Schmeichel 13 minutes later. It was a tale of two halves with Arsenal getting the job done in the first and closing it out in the second with Ramsdale rightfully taking the MOTM award home.
THIS IS RAMSDALE’S WORLD AND WE’RE ALL LIVING IN IT
Not many could predict that a two-time relegated GK could repay the big money spent on him by Arsenal, including myself. What I’ve seen so far has exceeded not only my expectations but of 90% of people who thought this transfer was a bad idea. To quote L’Equipe, he is the “Golden Glove” right now and he proved it once again today. He was a breath of fresh air and his passing alongside his marvelous saves and run-outs were MOTM worthy. But I’m not here to talk about that.
Aubameyang has came back into form in style. Goals and assists, you name it. But something about him has been different – there was a clear shift in his on the pitch behaviour. His pressing is better, he links up play, he wins his duels… I’m entirely convinced that Aubameyang’s upturn in form has had a Ramsdale touch to it. To explain..
“Apart from the goals, the celebration when they put the ball in the net, do you see the way he runs, the purpose he has to press the ball, and when he takes it his movement, his link, how is leading the game? That is when he is changing the rest, not when he is static and then he puts the ball in the net. I prefer this Auba”. – Arteta on Aubameyang
Aubameyang simply isn’t the most gifted technician out there. He relies on timing and quick bursts to get into positions before a defender does. Naturally, he turns worse and worse with his technique and touches the less space he has. Ramsdale has brought in him what Leno simply couldn’t. He gave him a fighting chance in duels and his confidence simply skyrocketed afterwards, in duels as well in other facets of play.
Ramsdale’s kicking power is absurd and ranks him up there with the likes of Ederson. This gives him a huge advantage over someone like Leno. He can go over the defence, under the defence, slices, looped balls into fullbacks, line breakers into midfielders… not much more you can ask of him to do than to keep doing it consistently.
So how exactly does that translate to Auba being more combative in duels and in link-up play?
Arteta isn’t shy about going long when there’s risks in the 1st or 2nd phase of play. For that, you don’t need a 6’5 CF capable of winning every duel out there to make the long ball useful. Far from that. It’s in the kicks. When Leno goes long it’s usually into no man’s territory and possessions get suffocated because of the long air time and how high the trajectory of the ball is. For someone like Aubameyang that’s a no go, he’ll lose the will and not challenge for anything with the same intensity despite being capable of that. Same goes for balls into his feet.
Ramsdale has made him believe. Balls travel quicker and they’re much more direct. As a result Auba can at the very least challenge for the ball without being afraid of defenders simply suffocating him in a still position. The pairing are also showing some brilliant Aguero-Ederson like a connection on striked balls into feet which only makes you wonder how Leno wasn’t replaced sooner considering Ramsdale insists on finding Auba every second attack in what looks to be a pre-planned tactic…
IT’S A MENTALITY
Aubameyang has realized he shouldn’t be a pushover in duels or shy away from link up play – we all knew he could do this but for one reason or another, he couldn’t kickstart it into motion. All those little things lit a spark inside Auba and we’re finally seeing a guy who believes and plays like he has no weaknesses.
Arsenal fans should truly be excited for both Ramsdale and Aubameyang and they’ll hopefully keep this going.
– Why is Granit Xhaka so hard to replace at Arsenal?
– Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang isn’t a finished article
– Charlie Patino: The Rolls-Royce midfielder Arsenal have been brewing in their ranks
– Is Aaron Ramsdale a good buy for Arsenal at £32 million?