Socceroo Ryan suffers defeat on Arsenal debut


Socceroos goalkeeper Mat Ryan has debuted for Arsenal, the English Premier League club he supported as a kid, making a number of classy saves in a loss to Aston Villa.

It was a baptism of fire for Ryan as he was beaten by a deflected shot just 74 seconds into Saturday's clash, the only goal of the match.

Villa's Ollie Watkins netted the goal after a loose pass by Arsenal's Cedric Soares, with the strike deflecting off Rob Holding to squirm past Ryan.

But Ryan went on to make seven saves in a strong debut for Arsenal, including a diving stop to deny Jack Grealish late in the game.

He also saved shots from Villa's Ross Barkley, John McGinn and Watkins in the second half at Villa Park.

"On first reflection, I think there were plenty of positives for me and I loved being out there," Ryan told Optus Sport after the match.

"It still hasn't sunk in that it's my childhood club that I supported and I just played for them.

"I think as it sinks in, post-game and I reflect it will be nice. But I wanted the perfect start with the result."

With his debut, Ryan became the first Australian to appear for Arsenal in a competitive game since John Kosmina in 1978.

He was signed on loan from Brighton last month and came into Arsenal's starting side to replace Bernd Leno, who was suspended last week.

Ryan, 28, had earlier said it was "surreal" to join Arsenal, the club he grew up supporting in Australia.

Villa's 1-0 win lifted them above Tottenham to eighth on the Premier League table, while Arsenal remained at 10th.

Villa keeper Emi Martinez, who was sold by Arsenal in September, was important with several fine saves, especially his effort to stop a Granit Xhaka free-kick that was heading into the top corner.

Source AAP