Football News

Mikel Arteta reveals Arsenal goalkeeper regrets after dropping Aaron Ramsdale for David Raya

By Harry Edwards

Published: 13:53, 18 September 2023

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has confirmed that he will keep rotating his goalkeeping options this season to spread game time between Aaron Ramsdale and David Raya.

The Spaniard made what appeared to be a bold call on Sunday as Raya started in goal against Everton, ahead of No.1 Ramsdale. Ramsdale had started Arsenal’s previous four league games this season as well as all 38 in the Premier League in 2022/23.

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Raya, meanwhile, was signed from Brentford in the summer on a season-long loan, with an option to make the move permanent for £27m next year. On his Gunners’ debut at Goodison Park, Raya kept a clean sheet, having to make just one save.

Ramsdale, meanwhile, has made five saves in his four Premier League appearances so far, conceding four goals. Even before Arteta made his decision, some Arsenal fans had been asking for Raya to start ahead of Ramsdale, given the Englishman’s slight weakness when it comes to distribution.

However, Arteta has insisted the decision was purely down to having two quality goalkeepers, likening it to other big names not starting.

“It’s the same rationale as to why Fabio [Vieira] and Gabby [Jesus] played – I haven’t had a single question about why Gabriel hasn’t been starting. He has won more trophies than anybody else in that dressing room, including me,” Arteta told reporters.

“I want Aaron to react the same as Gabriel Jesus. The same as Kai Havertz, as Takehiro Tomiyasu. Exactly the same. We play with 11 players, not 10 plus one.”

In fact, Arteta wasn’t done there. The Spaniard went on to speak of some regrets of his short managerial career so far, including a decision not to substitute a goalkeeper mid-game. We only really see goalkeepers changed for injuries or if there has been a red card, or for knockout games in anticipation of a penalty shootout.

But Arteta was referencing goalkeeping changes for tactical reasons, such as those behind his decision to start Raya over Ramsdale.

“I’m a really young manager, I’ve been in the job three and a half years. I have few regrets, but one of them is that on two occasions, I felt after 60 minutes and 85 minutes of two games in this period to change the goalkeeper in that moment.

“I didn’t do it, I didn’t have the courage to do it. But I’m able to take a winger or striker and put a centre-back on to play a back five to hold on to a result. We drew those games, and I was so unhappy.

“Someone is going to do it, and maybe that’s strange. But why not? Tell me why not. You have all the qualities in another goalkeeper to do something, you want to change the momentum, do it.

“It’s a regret that I have. Now my feeling is to get everybody engaged, that they have to play regardless of the competition. That’s my message. We adapt to our qualities that our players have, and try to play to their strengths.

“There are games to do certain things, games to do other things. In my opinion it was really important against Everton, and it was really important to benefit the team.”

Arsenal’s next game sees them return to the Champions League, taking on PSV on Wednesday. And all eyes will be on who starts between the sticks for the Gunners.

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