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Arsenal Season Preview: goalkeepers

Could Aaron Ramsdale be among the top keepers in the Premier League this season?

Arsenal on Pre-Season Tour to the USA Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

There isn’t all that much interesting about the Arsenal goalkeeping situation this season. It’s settled. Aaron Ramsdale is the clear-cut first choice. He’ll start the Premier League matches. Should Arsenal make a deep run in any of the cup competitions, Mikel Arteta may turn to Ramsdale for key knockout matches, too.

Matt Turner is the backup. He’ll play the Europa League group stage matches, all the early cup competition games, and then some. Either Karl Hein and James Hillson will be the third-string keeper. I think Hein will at least start the season in the role.

Bernd Leno is headed to Fulham. Alex Runarsson (yeah, he’s still an Arsenal player) will head out on loan or be sold. Arthur Okonkwo, who the club rates highly, will spend the season at Crewe Alexandra in League Two.

Editor’s Note: I’ve decided to roll my best and worst case seasons into the positional previews. It makes more sense to have all the conversation about any particular player in one place rather than across multiple posts.

Aaron Ramsdale

Season Outlook: Ramsdale has a bit of a point to prove after stumbling down the stretch (along with most of the Arsenal roster, to be fair) last season. He was fantastic in the first half the year, among the best keepers in the league. Hopefully he can recapture that form where he was making the one or two big saves you need your keeper to make. We know he’s capable — he did it last year. Will he do it again? I think he will, especially with what should be an even better team in front of him this season.

Best Case Season: He’s a top two or three keeper in the Premier League. His strong play to start the season sees him starting for England in the World Cup come November. That’s well-within the realm of possibility. Right now, he’s just got to beat out Jordan Pickford. I suppose you could say the same of Nick Pope and Dean Henderson, that a strong start to the season puts them in the England conversation. Ramsdale has the inside track, however.

Worst Case Season: He continues where he left off last season, i.e. performing worse than expected goals. That spirals into an extended run of poor form and his confidence dips, which continues the cycle. I don’t think he’ll get dropped for more than a game or two in the Premier League if things go poorly, but in the worst case scenario, a fit Ramsdale doesn’t start every PL match for the Gunners.

Matt Turner

Season Outlook: If Matt Turner starts a Premier League match, something will have gone wrong at Arsenal. Turner isn’t playing in the PL unless Ramsdale gets hurt or is playing so poorly that the Gunners are in “we might miss Europe” mode. Turner is an above-average shot-stopper but needs to work on his distribution. With how Mikel Arteta wants and has Arsenal playing, Turner will get plenty of opportunity to develop that facet of his game.

Best Case Season: He impresses in the cup competitions and keeps his place as the Gunners make deep runs. In the absolute best case season, he starts one (or more) cup finals because Mikel Arteta trusts him enough to stick with him as the cup keeper despite the magnitude of the match. His impressive performances in the Europa League and Carabao Cup earn him the starting spot for the United States at the World Cup.

Worst Case Season: Playing behind a second-string starting XI, Turner and Arsenal get bounced from either (or both) of the Carabao Cup and FA Cup early. His limited ability to distribute the ball sees him dropped once the Europa League knockout stages start (or at least has him dropped for the first perceived tough opponent the Gunners face in the competition).