Aaron Ramsdale was Given a Rare Start in Goal in the Premier League on Saturday against Brentford-

3 months ago
Aaron Ramsdale almost gave away the opening goal in calamitous circumstances on his return to the Arsenal line-up against Brentford.

The former Bournemouth and Sheffield United stopper was back between the sticks for the Gunners with Mikel Arteta unable to call upon David Raya, who would be playing against his parent club.

Ramsdale had thrived in the No. 1 shirt for Arsenal since his arrival two seasons ago, but despite a strong run of performances since signing - including emerging as perhaps the heir to Jordan Pickford for England - he has fallen out of favor.

Saturday's London derby came as something of a chance for the keeper to put himself forward as the new No. 1 with Arteta preferring for his stoppers to compete with one another.

However, he wouldn't have foreseen the start to the game that he endured, almost throwing away his clean sheet when Yoane Wissa pressed him inside the box with just 13 minutes on the clock.

Ramsdale looked to play the ball out from the back but dawdled in possession, allowing Wissa to close him down and snatch it off his toes.

Wissa took a few touches but after not finding an away round Ramsdale laid it off for Bryan Mbeumo, whose shot was blocked off the line by Declan Rice.

'He was the headlines before the game, but nerves seem to kick in,' said TNT Sports pundit Rio Ferdinand during the game. 'The home fans were singing Raya's name which would unnerved him. He has to thank Declan Rice there.’

He also attempted to throw the ball out and start a counter-attack in the 35th minute, only to throw it directly into the ground and straight to a Brentford player's path in an uncharacteristically error-strewn first-half.

The home fans could be heard singing 'You're just a s*** David Raya' and 'England's No 4' at the keeper during the latter stages of the first 45 minutes.

There had been plenty of discussion around Arteta's goalkeepers heading into the game, with many pointing to the potential pressure Ramsdale might find himself under in his first start for the side since losing his place to Raya.

'I think no matter what he does today, he's the number two goalkeeper at Arsenal, no matter what the manager says publicly,' said Ferdinand.

'He's proved himself at this level, I didn't think his position would be under threat at all, but his manager saw something in the way a different keeper can bring something different to the team, and Raya's that guy. He's the number one goalkeeper.

'I think you've got to say who's the number one, and who's the number two goalkeeper, and I don't think the manager's done that. That leaves everyone in limbo.'

Only David De Gea kept more clean sheets than Ramsdale in the Premier League last term, and his time in goal for Arsenal had been largely incident-free.

He is also highly capable with the ball at his feet, however, the argument often used to justify Raya's inclusion is that the Spaniard's footwork is superior.

Ramsdale has been largely out of action in the f