Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher has explained why Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta should continue with David Raya as his No. 1 ahead of Aaron Ramsdale.
Arteta surprised many when he dropped Ramsdale in the Gunners’ 1-0 Premier Leaague win against Everton on Sunday (September 17). The English shot-stopper had been first-choice since arriving from Sheffield United in 2021.
The Arsenal boss said that he’s going to rotate between the pair throughout the season amid a return to UEFA Champions League football. Raya, 27, was once again chosen in goal for the side’s 4-0 thrashing of PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday (September 20) in the Champions League.
Many are questioning whether Ramsdale’s spot has been taken by the Spaniard. The 25-year-old was a standout performer for Arteta’s side last season, keeping 15 clean sheets in 41 games across competitions.
However, Carragher reckons Arteta has made the right call, as he views the England international as a top-four goalkeeper rather than a title-winning one. He wrote in his column for the Telegraph that Raya is a better goalkeeper:
“For me, it is a logical decision to pick Raya. Put simply, he is a better keeper than Ramsdale.”
“I am not saying Ramsdale is poor, or that he does not have potential to improve and enjoy a brilliant career at the highest level. The key difference right now is Ramsdale is a top-four keeper, not a title-winning one.”
Raya is on a season-long loan deal at Arsenal from Brentford, but the Gunners have a £27 million buy option. He impressed for the Bees last season, keeping 12 clean sheets in 39 games across competitions:
“Raya was hugely impressive at Brentford and deserves his chance to show what he can do at a club under greater scrutiny and pressure.”
The Spanish shot-stopper didn’t put a foot wrong in Arsenal’s Champions League win over PSV. He was comfortable in possession, finding a teammate with 12 of 17 long ball attempts. He also made four saves and made four high claims.
The north Londoners put up an admirable title challenge last season but came up short. There were several games in which Ramsdale came under scrutiny for some questionable goalkeeping, none more so than his error in a disappointing 3-3 draw against relegated Southampton.
Raya could be the missing piece of the puzzle for Arteta’s side to eclipse Manchester City atop the English football summit.
David Raya comments on potentially replacing Aaron Ramsdale as Arsenal’s No. 1
Raya was asked about displacing Aaron Ramsdale as Arteta’s first-choice goalkeeper after the win against PSV.
He gave an honest verdict on the situation while also sending a message to his English teammate:
“That’s his (Mikel Arteta’s) choice. It’s not my choice. When Aaron (Ramsdale) comes back in, he needs to fight for the team and to win games.”
Arteta had insisted that both goalkeepers would be key for his side this season, but many have doubts. The uncertainty over Ramsdale’s standing in Arsenal’s starting lineup has led to speculation over his future.
Reports claim that Chelsea and Bayern Munich are keeping tabs on his situation at the Emirates. He has three years left in his contract with the Gunners.