Aaron Ramsdale has admitted that the heartbreak of being pipped by Tottenham for the final Champions League spot last season has pushed the players on to reach new heights this year.
Arsenal were overwhelming favourites to clinch fourth spot coming into the North London derby at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for the antepenultimate game of the 2021-22 season.
Mikel Arteta’s men were thrashed 3-0 by the Lilywhites in the game, with Gary Neville suggesting that the Arsenal players were “brutalised” by the Spurs fan base on the day (Sky Sports MNF).
The Gunners then lost 2-0 at St James’ Park in their penultimate game of the season, allowing their local rivals to clinch fourth place with wins over Burnley and Norwich.
However, Arsenal have gone up a couple of notches this season and look favourites to win their first Premier League title in almost two decades, currently sitting five points clear of Manchester City at the top of the table.
Ramsdale has admitted that the players have used the heartbreak of last season as fuel to push them on.
The Arsenal number one told The Daily Express: “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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As painful as it is to admit, we have to take our hats off to Arsenal and Arteta, who have done excellently to go from where they were two years ago to the point they are at now.
Their improvement from last season also shows that we are not a million miles away from challenging the best teams in the country as a couple of smart signings could completely transform the side.
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