Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Ramsdale: Saka felt responsible for Arsenal collapse

Aaron Ramsdale has revealed that Bukayo Saka felt personally responsible for Arsenal’s failure to qualify for the top four last season and says he’s been trying to comfort his teammate by highlighting the club’s ongoing progress.

The Gunners looked well-placed to end a five-year exodus from the Champions League heading into the final weeks of the 21/22 campaign but stumbled against Sp*rs and Newcastle and had to settle for fifth place.

While Saka has always retained the love of the fans – he’s now been voted the club’s player of the season two years running – it sounds as though he beat himself up about the situation.

Speaking from Qatar, where both players are part of England’s squad for the World Cup, Ramsdale explained how he’s been comforting his 21-year-old teammate.

“When we missed out on the top four and he felt it was all his fault because he couldn’t provide for us, I was able to help him reflect on the fact the season before they’d finished eighth then we finished fifth and if we go another step again, we’ll be in the top four. It’s that perspective of, it’s a game of football and there’s a lot more to it.”

The Arsenal keeper also praised the way Saka and fellow academy graduate Emile Smith Rowe coped with the burden of expectation placed on them last season despite being so young.

“Don’t forget that he had the pressure of the whole football club on him last year; him and Emile Smith Rowe were our two main guys.

“He’s dealt with that and dealt with everything else and he’s thriving now. I can’t wait to see him thrive over here.

He added: “The kid is a lovely boy, he has time for everyone, works super hard throughout every week and very rarely misses a training session. And he used all that motivation from the criticism [after the penalty miss against Italy] but also, and more so, the love which everyone gave him, it gave him an extra boost.”

While last season’s collapse was obviously disappointing, we’re not sure anyone in their right mind would point the finger of blame at Bukayo. On the plus side, that all feels like it’s in the distant past. Saka has been flying again this season and Arsenal are five points clear at the top of the table.

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Duno

Wait, what? Anyway, I get his mentality and as long as it pushes him to be the best then I’m all for it. People forget that if Saka and Martinelli can develop to be even a fraction of the players that Messi and CR7 became (purely on footballing ability), then we will win lots and lots of trophies whilst absolutely loving it. We shouldn’t take it for granted the talent we are blessed with and the fact they’re at the same time too. Great times ahead indeed. I just pray and hope that these guys stay injury free and with… Read more »

C.B.

Injuries are what did for us last season, having to play Cedric (v poor at Southampton away), low-scoring Laca and young Lokonga, as examples. We still don’t have great squad depth so we have to keep our fingers crossed on injuries to our first team.

C.B.

And it definitely shouldn’t be that Saka feels he is responsible. He’s fantastic and we would have even been 5th without him.

Equaih

*wouldn’t

C.B.

Afraid not, shouldn’t is best here.

C.B.

Though totally agree on the second one!

Marty

I agree regarding there quality and adding Emil to them two also but u can’t say will win just because of them both remember it’s a team sport one or two players won’t win things we need the rest to play there part also , also knowone wants to be not starting eleven but if we want to win we need 2 quality players for each position like city, we need a squad before players like saka and martinelli burn out and over do it or pick up injuries and suspensions

Funsho Patrick

Star Boy!

Sean

We all know Saka should never have been feeling that kind of responsibility around our season end last year. But if he was, then I can’t help feeling that a big part of that could be down to professional idiots like Gary Neville pushing the same, tired “Arsenal bottled it again” narrative- even using it to this day as an argument against us sustaining a title challenge. The way the likes of Neville see it is rookie Mikel Arteta and his young team came unstuck against tactical genius Antonio Conte. How not one pundit (supposedly an expert in their analysis… Read more »

Boy Bastin

It wasn’t Saka’s fault, it was a team collapse (whether we like to admit it or not). Xhaka summed it up after the subsequent defeat at Newcastle, didn’t he – “If you’re nervous, stay at home”. The positive from that unfortunate situation is that everyone seems to be totally determined that it shouldn’t happen again – not that it’s likely to any time soon the way we’re playing but it’s good to have it at the back of their minds.

MeSoHornsey

It was nothing to do with Saka or even nerves really. Due to injuries at a very critical time our defence in the Spud and Toon games was Soares, Holding, Gabriel and Xhaka at left back.

Our midfield was Elneny and Lokonga and up front a misfiring Lacazette.

It’s a different team completely now with the summary additions and a fully fit squad. We were superb even last season when at full strength. I’m quite confident that top 4 is the minim we’ll achieve this season.

Boy Bastin

Well, Xhaka thought it was as we saw from the TV documentary, and he was on the pitch and in the dressing room so I think I’ll have to go with him on this one. It is, however, a completely different team (and attitude) now as you say so let’s not get too hung up on the end of last season.

PeteyB

He would be pretty close to the bottom of any list, if there was such a list, which there isn’t, not for me at least. There were many factors. Untimely injuries, and burnout being among them. I hope Saka can continue channeling his disappointments, and Edu etc. do likewise so we don’t get caught short again. It seems to me we have a huge opportunity this year, and who knows when we will again. I how every year is like this but with Newcastle gaining ground fast we’ll be up against 2 nation states next year… Maybe 3 with Dubai… Read more »

Boy Bastin

Yes, I think there’s a lot of sense in that. There were many factors, but we should remember that no team in Arsenal’s position (after the Leeds game last season) had ever failed to get that fourth spot. Of course, it’s all water under the football bridge now and who would have forecast the transformation that’s taken place in the short time since then. It’s a lesson learned though. Like you, I suspect that things will become even tougher next season (and it is likely to be a more difficult second half of the season this time around as well).… Read more »

EFU

Absolutely love the fact he said “they” describing the team for he came in. That was no arsenal team not in dedication,passion, commitment, Love for the club etc. This team you could tell love playing for the club and are humble and hungry to improve.

Fezec

30 years of following arsenal and I have to say, Saka at the tender age he’s at, could well be my favourite ever player.

His personality, his dedication, his positivity, his fortitude and talent are rarely found in someone so humble.

Long May he wear the glorious red and white and etch his name up there alongside Adams, Vieira, Bergkamp, Henry and Groves.

What a time to be a gunner!

Eric Blair

There are many in this squad with the potential to enter the hearts of Gooners everywhere as all-time favourites.

Badaab

21 is really too young to be carrying the hopes and dreams of an entire club and its fanbase on your back and could quickly lead to burnout/disillusion, so i hope the club take notice of this and do the right thing by investing in saka’s future by offering him the proper contract terms and making sure we have the necessary depth to allow the young man a day or two off.

Matti

It has very Fabregasesque vibes to it, doesn’t it? Let’s hope the end is much more pleasant for the fans

SMH

If only pepe had the same mentality

Guns Up

What makes you say he doesn’t?? Went from leading the team in goal contributions two seasons ago to being completely ignored by the end of last season (while leading the team in goal contributions per 90, mind you), and never said a single negative word about his situation, at least that I saw. Appeared to try to do what was asked of him, with increased work rate defensively, but simply isn’t what Mikel wants in a player. Simply a round peg for a square hole in the squad and he’ll move on and probably do just fine in France (off… Read more »

Heroes1978

Sad to say this, but Pepe is a journey man. Looking at his body language on the field of play you can’t see the fire of passion burning in him. In football talent without passion is useless, and that’s what you get in Pepe.

Qwaliteee

Nothing to do with Saka and plenty to do with Cedric, Lacazette (seconds out, round one ding ding) and Tavares (“You want to play in the fucking Champions League….?!!!”)

Mesut Ö’Neill

Our collapse was not on Cedric. It was a collective.

It was on Edu, Arteta, Stan for not strengthening in January. It was on the players who underperformed.

It’s amazing that Cedric is such a scapegoat. He tried his hardest, just not up to the standard required. Not his fault.

Emi Rates

World Cup out!

Simon

Some things should stay in the dressing room. There are some very valid points made by ramsdale but its not down to him fo share another team mates thoughts.pretty certain saka being a private person would not want this out there. Like ramsdal e a lot as an arsenal fan, but needs to learn when not to speak.

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