Tottenham have themselves to blame for Arsenal fighting for title

Arsenal v Everton: Pictures

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Tottenham fans already dismayed at the sight of their rivals sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League table have been told it’s their own club’s fault Arsenal are there. Goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, who was part of the side which opened up a five-point gap at the top with the 4-0 win over Everton, claims that losing out on fourth place to their fellow north Londoners last season has been the driving force behind Arsenal’s relentless pace during 2022-23.

Many had expected Mikel Arteta’s side to wobble under the pressure from Manchester City after they tamely surrendered a top-four finish to Tottenham during the run-in to last season. Instead, that experience has made Arsenal even more determined to cling on to their pole position.

Ramsdale said: “Last season hurt a lot – especially as it was to the other lot down the road, which made it even worse for our fans and for us. The scars of last year are driving us on – no one has forgotten about that and what’s happened.

“So that’s obviously a big driving force in this team. That was definitely a driving factor at the start of the season and is something now we forget about because of the position we are in but it was definitely massive at the start of the year.

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“It is just knowing our mistakes at the end of the season, the teams we dropped points against and knowing we have to trust our process, trust our basics. It is knowing that if we do 9 out of 10, 10 out of 10 then we should get results and if we don’t, at least we can say we have done everything we can.

“There were times last year we dipped under our levels, didn’t do what we had practised or what we had done all season. So it was a big lesson for us and we are just taking it into each game at the minute.”

Before his £24million move to Arsenal in 2021, Ramsdale had fought – and lost – successive relegation battles with Bournemouth and Sheffield United. Compared to that, Ramsdale insists the demands of battling for the title are a breeze.

“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. “I found out the hard way that you can’t get too low or you can’t get too high.

“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.

“So, yeah, 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.”

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