Aaron Ramsdale appeared to be kicked by a Tottenham Hotspur supporter following Arsenal’s 2-0 North London derby victory on Sunday.
Ramsdale, who was involved in an incident with Spurs striker Richarlison moments earlier, was collecting his goalkeeper gloves from behind the goal after the final whistle when a fan appeared to kick out at him.
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A melee ensued with several players from both teams joining in, but Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta quickly ushered his players away, including Ramsdale, to celebrate in front of their own fans.
“The Spurs fans gave me some throughout the game,” Ramsdale said postmatch. “I was giving some back. The people I did give it to greeted it in sportsmanlike terms, but one fan tried to give me a little punch on the back.
“It is a shame as it is just a game of football at the end of the day. Both sets of players tried to bring me away, but thankfully nothing too drastic happened. It is a sour taste, but I’m sure we will enjoy it when we go back into the dressing room.”
The Professional Footballers’ Association released a statement after the match, saying: “Violence towards players is completely unacceptable. These types of incidents are happening far too often.
“Players have a right to be safe in their place of work. When a player is attacked, we expect the laws and regulations that are in place to protect players to be properly enforced.
“As the players’ union, we treat this as a priority issue. We will continue working with the authorities to demand that players and staff are better protected in their place of work.”
The incident came after Premier League leaders Arsenal put on a masterclass to overwhelm Tottenham and extend the gap at the top to eight points. Ramsdale had been a key figure in the victory, denying Harry Kane on several occasions.
“The manager also mentioned that in the last few North London derbies we haven’t kept a clean sheet, so that spurred me on a bit,” Ramsdale added. “We deserved the two-goal lead and maybe deserved more.”
Spurs’ boss Antonio Conte was not pleased with the action of the fan, calling on those in the stands to have respect for the players on the field.
“In every moment we have to show respect,” Conte said. “If we want respect, we have to show respect. Honestly, I didn’t see this. But if it happened, this type of situation for sure, I didn’t like it.”
The win puts Arsenal on 47 points from 18 games, eight ahead of Manchester City, with Newcastle United (who have played one game more) and Manchester United another point back.