Aaron Ramsdale makes his case to remain first choice – as Arsenal make their own one for major trophies

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David Raya might have saved it, but Aaron Ramsdale did. Ramsdale’s block of Julian Alvarez’s lackluster penalty kick served as a response from the Arsenal goalkeeper. Ramsdale, a success story for Mikel Arteta’s team, has shown his fighting spirit since joining from Sheffield United. Despite Arsenal’s pursuit of Brentford’s Raya, Ramsdale is determined to hold onto his position as the number one goalkeeper. Ramsdale’s saves played a crucial role in Arsenal’s Community Shield triumph, including a stop against Phil Foden that had a bit of luck involved.

Luck seemed to favor Arsenal once again in the goal that forced a shootout. This type of late drama may become more common this season as added time becomes more prevalent. City had experienced a similar situation when they won the Champions League due in part to a save made deep into added time. In the shootout, Martin Odegaard, Leandro Trossard, and Bukayo Saka all scored, while Kevin de Bruyne missed for City. Ramsdale’s save then provided Fabio Vieira with the opportunity to secure victory, reminiscent of Patrick Vieira’s decisive goal in the 2005 FA Cup final against a Manchester club.

Although Arteta had only secured his second win in ten meetings with Pep Guardiola, any victory was welcome. Arteta may have found a tactical approach that suits his team against lesser opponents, as seen in the deployment of Kai Havertz as a false nine. Against City, however, Arsenal showed restraint and patience, adopting a more cautious approach with defensive midfielders and a willingness to stand off instead of pressing. This approach was a stark contrast to previous encounters with City, where they had been convincingly defeated. Havertz had his chances, but once again failed to take advantage of his opportunities.

The match had the feel of a phoney war, with a scarcity of chances. City’s Rodri attempted a lob from the halfway line, but Ramsdale was spared embarrassment as the ball landed on the roof of the net. Havertz had opportunities as Arsenal showed glimpses of counterattacking menace, but Ortega made two saves to deny him. Cole Palmer came on for City and scored a sumptuous goal, earning him the player of the match award. However, Trossard, Akanji, and Ramsdale’s interventions meant City were denied another trophy.

For Arsenal, winning the Community Shield held more significance, especially as they have fewer honors compared to City. For Ramsdale, the victory may have carried added importance as he fights for his place in the team.

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