Three Reasons Why Arteta Must Pick Ramsdale over Raya for Arsenal vs Sevilla

No-one ever wants an Arsenal player to do badly - struggling under pressure and giving goals away means Raya must give way to Ramsdale

Three Reasons Why Arteta Must Pick Ramsdale over Raya for Arsenal vs Sevilla

Aaron Ramsdale Arsenal keeper. David Raya Arsenal keeper. Something has to give

It is safe to say that struggling under pressure and giving goals away, while ceding possession through poor distrubution is not how Mikel Arteta envisaged David Raya's first couple of months in North London.

While all the talk will be rightly about VAR costing Arsenal at Newcastle, many have rightly pointed if Raya has taken the ball cleanly, rather than flapping at it, Anthony Gordon would not ahve scored, and we wouldn't be discusing video technology in the aftermath. 

Unfortunately, we are already at the stage where the former Brentford goalkeeper's ability is being questioned as to whether he is capable of being Arsenal's long-term No1. 

If you throw in the fact that former incumbent Aaron Ramsdale is hugely popular with supporters - who value his character and commitment as a player who wears his heart on his sleeve and will always give everything to the cause - then the 28 year-old Spaniard's position is already precarious.

Of course, every team, and every manager always looks to bolster their squad with better players. Coaches are always on the lookout for upgrades in any position. 

Indeed it is one of Arteta's strengths that he has spent the last four years overhauling - and yes, upgrading his team. 

That is not in question. What is in question is whether Raya is actually an upgrade over Ramsdale at all?

Here are three reasons why Arteta must pick Ramsdale over Raya, starting with the vital Champions League clash against Sevilla at the Emirates.

1 - Shot-stopping

You have to say Ramsdale is the better shot-stopper.

Yes, he didn't exactly cover himself in glory during the 3-1 defeat at West Ham - but that's more to do with the fact that alas, Arteta, has somehow managed to weaken the confidence of both his first team goalkeepers simultaneously - a rare feat indeed.

And, yes, while it might feel like faint praise to say that because surely that is the basic minimum expected of a keeper. But yet, the ability to gather safely can imbue such confident in the defenders and team around the keeper. If, as a defender you aren't sure whether your keeper will come and punch (weakly as it sadly turned out against Spurs) or have a propensity to spill the ball, then you spread fear into your team. And that means dithering and a lack of clarity when it comes to playing out. 

2 - Footwork

While Raya performed excellently for Brentford at times,. Ramsdale, you feel is the more instinctive keeper when it comes to making reaction saves. While Raya has been lauded for his distribution, as a keeper you need excellent footwork at all times, not just to play the ball out with your feet, but to move around the goal as quickly and efficiently. And for a big man, Ramsdale has always prided himself on excellent footwork. Which is vitally important when you consider the speed of the modern game

3 - Character

What does character mean? Not dropping your head after you make a mistake. Still being as vocal as you can when all eyes are on you after an error. Not letting what has gone before you, affect the future. Showing pride and passion in the shirt, even when a fevered atmopshere could affect your decision making. Ramsdale has all these in abundance. Witness his outstanding display in last season's North London derby, during the 2-0 win at Spurs. Ramsdale was immense form start to finish in a fiery atmosphere. He even got kicked for his troubles by a fan at the end. But did it bother him. No, he relished the fire and the fury in the heat of the battle. Compare that to Raya, who looked more diminished at the match went on in the atmospheric Stade Bollaert. 

We all want Raya to do well and it goes without saying that whoever is between the sticks will always have our full support during matches - but keeping an underperforming player in the side at the expense of the team is not what you would expect from Arteta.

A spell away from the limelight would benefit everyone 

Apart from the fact that his shaky distribution leads us to belileve he Raya is not the keeper we were looking for, with all the fanfare regarding the Barcelona-born netminder's technique - that he was the equivalent of a No10, or at the very least a proficent outfield player prior to arrival - have been dubunked by his raking passes upfield have invariably seen his team lose possession. 

Three mistakes from Raya (not including failure to cut out the cross prior to Gordon's goal on Saturday)

Lens: Lost 2-1

The Spanish international was at fault for Lens' opener at the  Stade Bollaert during the Gunners 2-1 Champions League. Yes it was fevered atmopshere - but that is exactly why you need your keeper to puff out his chest, and say: 'bring it on' - which is exactly what Ramsdale would have done. That in turn spreads confidence around the backline.

Chelsea: Drew 2-2

The 28-year-old was also guilty of sloppy play during the London derby at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. Yes, conditions were treacherous after a pre-match downpour that continued well into the game. He was lackadasical when passing out from the back and could have been punished by Chelsea at 2-0 up. If your team is 2-0 down you might have conceded the game with 13 minutes to go when in Brentford colours, but Arsenal are a step above - and require firm commitment at all times. 

And that's without mentioning Raya being wholly culpable for Mykhailo Mudryk's goal being unable to prevent the Ukraine international's effort looping into the net, aftere coming off his line.

Spurs: Drew 2-2

Further back in his struggling Arsenal career - ie last month - Raya might have just made an exceptional save vs Spurs, but it was his failure to clear his lines effectively with a weak punch that allowed the Lilywhites back into the game when they capitalised on his underwhelming clearance to score, thereby altering the momentum of such a frenzied derby.

Small margins, yes, but that's why he was drafted in by Arteta - because the Arsenal boss thought he could improive the side with marginal gains, and become an upgrade on Aaron Ramdale in the process. A plan that has quite spectacularly failed. 

Ramsdale is said to be attracting the attention of Chelsea. Let's just hope Arteta sees the error of his ways before a selection mistake becomes abject failure, and the club lose a top class keeper, with a powerful attitude and battling character to match. 

No wants ever wants an Arsenal player to do badly. Let's make that clear. But when a player is so lacking in form and confidence, to keep him in the side, when everything points to a spell on the bench to regain composure and take stock, it surely makes sense to do so. That shows strength. Not weakness. Will Arteta have the strength to make that decision. 

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