By Mark Mann-Bryans, PA
Aaron Ramsdale has revealed he approaches every game as if Arsenal are languishing in mid-table and insists a lack of title-winning experience could be an advantage.
The Gunners moved five points clear at the top of the Premier League as they rolled Everton aside 4-0 at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night.
Bukayo Saka’s fine strike opened the scoring with a Gabriel Martinelli brace sandwiching a goal for captain Martin Odegaard on a comfortable night for Mikel Arteta’s men.
A FOURmidable team performance 🤩 pic.twitter.com/xLQ6yBvGtX
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) March 1, 2023
The victory opens up a good lead over closest rivals Manchester City, with both sides now having 13 games left of the campaign as Arsenal pursue a first Premier League title since 2004.
Arteta poached Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko from City last summer and the pair have certainly added title-winning know-how to a young squad.
Zinchenko, in particular, has shone and put in another standout performance to help down Sean Dyche’s Toffees.
The likes of Saka and Martinelli are in great form but have never been involved in a tussle at the top of the table – with Ramsdale more experienced at relegation scraps than title tilts.
The England goalkeeper suffered back-to-back top-flight relegations with Sheffield United and Bournemouth and is enjoying the different pressures that come at the business end of the division.
“I wouldn’t say it’s easy but it’s definitely a pressure which is so much nicer to have than the opposite side,” he said.
“It’s an enjoyment and because not a lot of us have been here before, we don’t really know how to handle it.
“So we’re just going in and playing the games as if we were 10th, 12th, whatever.
“We’re just going out to play with our group of team-mates and try and win as many games as possible.
“And when you play here at this stadium, or even away, the fans… honestly it’s so much easier to play when things are going well and we’re relishing it.”
Ramsdale also admitted that battling against the drop gave him a more rounded approach to the game.
“I found out the hard way that you can’t get too low or you can’t get too high,” he added.
“If you lose a game of football that can’t take over your whole life, otherwise I would have been sat in a house not seeing the outside world for a long period of my short career.
“Obviously I want to win every single game and do well, but it’s not the be all and end all at the minute.
“Of course, if we get to four, five games to go and we are still in the same position that’ll definitely change. But for now, it’s just playing with a group of my mates and enjoying it.”
Everton’s players will be feeling the similar pressures Ramsdale experienced earlier in his career as defeat in north London leaves them in the bottom three.
Dyche, whose side beat Arsenal last month in his first game in charge, has previously kept Burnley in the Premier League against the odds and knows how important it is to put a bad night at the office behind them as quickly as possible.
“It’s essential,” he told evertontv.
“I’ve not been naive to the challenge. There are plenty of good players here and now it’s about standing up individually because it rubs off very quickly.
“One of my sayings is, ‘Be the man who makes the difference’ and that rubs off but now the whole team has to go out with that mentality.
“We’ve seen it since I’ve been here, so it is there but now we have to take it on the road because we can’t just rely on our home form and home fans.”