Having experienced relegation dogfights earlier in his career, Aaron Ramsdale believes we have to be careful of a Leeds United side heading to Emirates Stadium on Saturday with nothing to lose.
Our shot-stopper’s time at Bournemouth and Sheffield United means he understands better than most the mindsets of teams at the wrong end of the table when they head to those challenging for the championship, and feels that despite our contrasting fortunes this term, the Whites could fancy their chances of causing an upset.
“There was more freedom when I was down at the bottom playing against the bigger teams,” he said. “I wouldn’t say it was a ‘free hit’ but when you're playing against someone who's in and around you, it's a big pressure game and teams are nervous and don't want to make a mistake.
“But then they could come here to the Emirates and say, ‘we’re going to have a good go and see what happens.’ They could get to 0-0 after 60 minutes and then just sit in and defend for their lives. So the ‘free hit’ phrase is not one I like using.
“You saw what Bournemouth did, and I don't think we took that for granted. I just think you can be bottom of the table and you can score goals against anyone or beat anyone in this league. We've seen that with big teams dropping points.
“I think with these games, it's more about your concentration and your preparation before the game and then hopefully on the pitch, you take care of the performance.”
Since replacing Jesse Marsch with Javi Gracia last month, Leeds have picked up two wins and a draw from the Spaniard’s first four games, with the only loss coming away to Chelsea.
They recorded an impressive 4-2 victory at Wolves just before the international break, which will mean that as well as having nothing to lose on Saturday, they head to north London with a spring in their step following their new manager bounce. Aaron is under no illusions about the test we’ll face.
“We’re expecting a tough game,” he continued. “They've had a change of manager, but I feel like the way they have approached most recent games is still very similar. They have the same sort of style, the way they want to dominate the team by out-running them, and then letting their quality show after.
“They had a great win before the international break against Wolves so it will be another tough test, and hopefully it’s one we can come through like we have done at the Emirates more times than not this season. Hopefully it will be another good day for us.”