·21 September 2023
·21 September 2023
David Raya started in goal and kept a clean sheet in Arsenal’s first game back in the Champions League after six years away from the competition – comprehensively seeing off Dutch outfit PSV Eindhoven 4-0 at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night.
Raya has now started the last two games for Arsenal having replaced Aaron Ramsdale in goal for the away match against Everton at Goodison Park last weekend. Raya has impressed so far, keeping two clean sheets and displaying an air of assuredness with his distribution from the back.
“That’s his [Arteta’s] choice, it’s not my choice and when Aaron comes back in, he needs to fight for the team and to win games”, Raya said after Arsenal’s Champions League opener.
“I think it’s the first time that two top goalies are here at the same time so that is just part of football now and the gaffer wants two top players for each position- that is what I have to work with, and I have played the last two games and I’m not sure what will happen on Sunday”, he added.
Speculation has circulated as to whether Arsenal’s signature of Raya from Brentford in the summer is a move from Arteta to bring some competition into his goalkeeping ranks, or if it’s just a straightforward swap for Ramsdale and that Raya is slowly being worked into the side.
While he is an unbelievable shot-stopper, Ramsdale has been occasionally been suspect with his distribution from the back – as we saw during the Southampton game at the back end of last season when he gifted the ball to Carlos Alcaraz and more recently when he coughed up possession to Fulham’s Andreas Pereira. Both errors led to goals and cost Arsenal vital points, especially last season.
Raya is certainly being granted a run of games to prove that he is capable of being number one at the club and so far, he has made a stellar start. The north London derby is on Sunday and will be another stern test of Raya’s abilities, should he start.
Raya was also asked about the prospect of being substituted during games, something that Arteta said during the week that he regretted not doing during his managerial career.
“That’s his words and that is his choice as well, he’s the gaffer, he’s the boss so we have to listen and we need to deal with that,” he replied.