Football News

“There’s a belief in him” – Martin Keown hails David Raya ahead of Man City test

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 12:30, 18 March 2024

Martin Keown believes David Raya has banished the anxiety that engulfed Arsenal following his signing last summer.

The 28-year-old goalkeeper is currently on loan from Brentford and was initially seen as competition for incumbent Aaron Ramsdale, but he’s since usurped the four-time England international.

However, once he assumed the number one role, the Spaniard made unfortunate headlines, conceding six goals across his first eight Premier League appearances. The Gunners won five times while dropping seven points. Mikel Arteta, though, retained faith in Raya.

The Barcelona-born shot-stopper recently became a hero as the North London side reached this season’s Champions League quarter-finals. After drawing their Round of 16 tie with FC Porto, penalties were needed to decide the contest, and Raya ensured passage by denying Wendell from twelve yards.

“There was an anxiety in the stadium when he first came into the Arsenal team. You see now, there’s a belief in him and there’s a unity now,” Keown told TNT Sports after the game.

“David had some difficult moments at the start,” Arteta added. “He has stood up with incredible personality and ambition and in the end he’s been rewarded.”

Expectations were relatively high as Raya led all goalkeepers for both saves (154) and save percentage (77%) in the Premier League last season; he is currently the only goalkeeper to top both categories in a single campaign in the competition since this data is available (2003-04, minimum ten starts).

So far, having kept nine clean sheets, he leads the race to win the Premier League Golden Glove, which is three fewer than last season’s haul. Of those goalkeepers who have played at least 1,890 minutes, Raya has conceded the joint fewest goals (19) alongside Alisson, though his expected goals on target conceded (16.05) is better.

Among his shoutouts was against Manchester City, which saw Arsenal run out 1-0 winners. Once back from the international break, the Premier League challengers will lock horns at the Etihad.

Raya’s record against the English champions is four appearances, three wins, two clean sheets, and three conceded.