There’s been a lot of debate in the air about David Raya vs Aaron Ramsdale. A large chunk of that, in my opinion, is the English looking out for the English.
But it doesn’t matter. There is no debate. Mikel Arteta thinks David Raya is the future of the Arsenal keeping story and he’s going to play his new man until it works.
The biggest error Arteta made was pretending his biggest mistake was not subbing on keepers during a game – or having different options for tactics. Arteta is never going to sub a keeper on at 70 minutes to change a game unless there’s a broken leg. All the tacticos frothing at the idea of this did make me laugh. The idea was always silly. If the most important player you can bring on to tactically change a game is a keeper, you’ve done something very wrong when picking your squad. There’s also the jarring nature of doing it in a game. If a keeper with cold gloves comes on and makes an error, the coach is in the mud. I also don’t see a game state where that move is merited. Chasing a game and you want a new keeper? Really? Defending a game and you want to bring on a keeper to see it out? Really? Arteta created the hill he is currently dying on and he deserves this. He should have just been honest about his plans… now people are prodding at him because by his own words, he should be dropping Raya right now.
What he should have said is he’s looking for something different this season and he’s changing things up.
David Raya is the chosen one and here are some things we have to consider:
Some of his errors of late are down to the way he’s being asked to play. He isn’t doing the same things as Ramsdale, he’s being asked to take things to the next level. That comes at a price, occasionally. We’ve seen Ederson, the very best, giving the ball away with consequences in the Manchester derby, and there are lots of moments you can find of him giving the ball away. His kicking success rate hovers in the same area as Raya. High-risk keepers come with high-risk errors. Arteta doesn’t want a keeper, he wants a makeshift centre back, and that’s a hard position to play.
He was lobbed from a cross at the weekend. It was an error, no doubt. He was out of position – and it angered me at the time. But looking back, it’s clear he’s at the front post because he’s aggressively trying to cut out crosses. Mudryk accidentally hit his shot into the only part of the net he would have scored from.
Some of the shakiness in the defence with the way he plays is down to the fact he’s had a short amount of time with his defence. Life was different at Brentford. He’d played in their system for 7 years, he knew everyone, he was part of their style. Arsenal is another level, he has to learn new routines, do different things, and unfortunately, that takes time.
Arsenal fans love Aaron Ramsdale. But it’s hard to look at his game over the last year and say it’s better than what we’re going to get when Raya settles. Aaron stopped coming for crosses, his kicking slowly regressed, his shot-stopping was way below average, and he made big mistakes in important moments.
It’s easy forget when part of the way you judge a player’s talent is how much you like them. The Moneyball concept was based on cutting out commentary like ‘his hairline is receding, he’ll lack self-esteem and confidence.’ You can’t judge a player by how much you like him.
Here are the stats side by side.
More passes, more successful passes, more ambitious passing, more touches, and better lost possession percentage. He’s also a suprem shot-stopper.
Also, let’s talk about his errors. The one against RC Lens ended in a world-class finish, the one against Spurs had a lot happen after it and ended in a world-class finish, the one against Chelsea was a horrendously lucky shot.
The luck will course correct, the errors will die, and he will show that he’s the chosen one with world-class performances.
This kind of reminds me about the time we signed Thomas Partey and the stats sites said they wouldn’t have taken him on a free transfer. Then he moved into the single pivot position and didn’t do well there game one and people said he’d fail. How did that work out as a hot take? Terribly.
The one thing no one offers in the Premier League chatter, even some of the smartest analysts, is time.
It takes everyone time to settle unless your name is Declan Rice.
Aaron Ramsdale will be sold in January for £40m and we’ll use that money to buy a striker.
That’ll be the end of that. Don’t hang your hat on ‘two quality keepers’ because quality keepers don’t sit on the bench. Ramsdale is a quality keeper, he needs to play, he will get a big offer.
Right, that’s me done.
Let me know YOUR thoughts in the comments section! x