Aaron Ramsdale has praised his teammates’ aggressive and never-say-die approach, which he felt made the difference in our 2-1 win against Fulham.
The shot-stopper played a key role in the comeback victory with a pair of excellent saves to deny Aleksandar Mitrovic and Nathaniel Chalobah late on, which were necessary as his defence also dug deep to grind out a win when our backs were against the wall.
And Aaron believes those battling qualities and team spirit are factors which are always improving, having begun being forged last term.
“I think we found a lot of times last season that we stood up for ourselves,” he said. “I remember going to Burnley and winning 1-0 and standing up to an onslaught, but you add Saliba into the back four who is a big boy; Ben playing right-back and Tomiyasu then coming on, you've got a back four where each of them is 6'3".
“It's not that we were lacking in that area, it's just about the love of defending. It's not necessarily thinking: 'I'm just not going to get bullied’, it's: 'I'm not going to concede a goal'. I think I made a save and then the ball stayed out of the back of the net because Ben White threw his body in front of it, so that's testament to the defenders.”
The England international also feels that the adaptability in the squad means that we’re able to substitute craft for graft, and be brave mentally as well as physically to heap pressure on our opponents; something that was evident as we pushed for a winner which eventually came via Gabriel’s scrambled effort.
“There's a lot of different aggression you can show; you can show it in tackles, winning your headers and duels but also pressing,” Aaron added. “I think we press all the way through the games, not just in spells in the first half and if we don't get a goal, then we sit off.
”If the game fits going long we will try and adapt, and we're not just going to play one-dimensional. We came back into the game passing the ball the way we wanted to do from minute zero to 95. I think they [Fulham] allowed us to play because they brought on [Issa] Diop and they had the big boys at the back and [Bernd] Leno was catching crosses for fun, so we focused on short play around the box on and it paid off.”
Standing in a position in close proximity to our supporters, Aaron backs up Mikel Arteta’s belief that the positivity generated in the stands is having a huge effect on our players, with Gabriel following in William Saliba’s footsteps by quickly bouncing back from an error leading to a goal to make a huge contribution at the end of the pitch.
“The fans have been unbelievable,” said Aaron. “Saliba scored an own goal, and they started singing in his name. Gabi made a mistake and the fans were unbelievable. I've had a laugh and joke with the two centre-halves - one own goal and a mistake, and then a goal each for a pair of them - I've said no more of this!
“This the loudest I've heard [Emirates Stadium]. Obviously it helps that we're winning on the pitch, but it's in the times of struggle within the game that they're coming to our aid and helping us, and it really does lift us.
“Hopefully we can carry on winning these games at home and make it a fortress.”