Arsenal brought in David Raya this summer on an initial loan, surprising many fans and pundits with Aaron Ramsdale establishing himself as the Gunners’ No. 1. The Englishman played a key role in Arsenal conceding the joint-second lowest goals against last season.
The England international has performed quite well for the Gunners since arriving in 2021. He even started 52 consecutive Premier League matches for the team. However, there was plenty of buzz on how manager Mikel Arteta would handle the goalkeeping situation after signing Raya.
Raya replaces Ramsdale at Arsenal and gets two clean sheets
After selecting Ramsdale for the club’s opening four Premier League fixtures, Arteta switched to Raya at the weekend. Arsenal did not lose any of their first four matches, but Ramsdale only collected one clean sheet. On the other hand, Raya picked up two consecutive clean sheets since featuring in the starting XI.
Following Arsenal’s 1-0 away victory at Everton on Sunday with Raya in goal, reporters questioned Arteta about the move. The manager compared having two quality keepers to a similar situation with outfield players. “It’s something that has been historically done like this, but I cannot have two players like this in one position and not play them,” stated Arteta. “David has tremendous qualities like Aaron has, like Karl [Hein] has, but we have to use them.”
While many assumed Ramsdale would be back in the starting lineup for a Champions League matchup with PSV on Wednesday, Arteta once again went with Raya. The Gunners crushed their Dutch opposition on the night and Raya kept another clean sheet. Admittedly, PSV did not actively test the Spaniard. Still, Arsenal managed consecutive clean sheets for the first time since March.
After the victory, Raya acknowledged the unusual situation and claimed that Ramsdale would need to fight for the position. “I’ve just been selected the last two games – that is just the choice of the gaffer, not my choice and when Aaron comes in, he will need to also fight for the team and to win games,” proclaimed Raya.
“I think it is the first time that two top goalkeepers are in the same team. That is just part of football now and the gaffer wants two top players for each position and that is what we have to work with.”
Ramsdale’s handling of situation key to club’s success
Time will tell if Arteta will rotate the starting goalkeeping role between the two players. However, the statistics tend to favor Raya. Over the last year, the former Brentford keeper has a better save percentage, crosses-stopped rate and clean sheet percentage compared to Ramsdale.
Having multiple options in the goalkeeping position is a positive for the club. Nevertheless, the vibe in the dressing room regarding the situation comes down to how Ramsdale manages the manager’s decision. The mood around Arsenal is particularly good at the moment and the club will not want any issues behind the scenes.
PHOTO: IMAGO & Sportimage
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