The goalkeeping issue still glaring for Arteta

A debate that is not about to die any time soon is that of Arsenal goalkeepers. The Gunners have two top goalkeepers, who happen to have similar traits, despite the manager signing one as an upgrade of the other.

Right towards the end of last season, and at the start of the current one, Englishman Aaron Ramsdale was deemed the first choice keeper at Arsenal. With Matt Turner as his understudy, and doing well when called upon, it was not expected that a change in that department would be effected any time soon.

However, the manager, Mikel Arteta had other plans, and just before the transfer window shut, when all thought he was done with signings, the Spaniard would unleash another Spaniard; goalkeeper David Raya as competition for Ramsdale. After a few matches on the bench, Arteta would throw in Raya, upstaging Ramsdale.

Now it doesn’t seem like there is a way back for Ramsdale, who has featured in just one league game since Raya made his Gunners debut.

Pundits agree

There is little chance, if any now, that Ramsdale could get his slot back. Pundits and punters alike, will agree that in Arteta’s way of operation, there is no likelihood there will be a change here. Most of the top betting sites also seem to agree with this feeling that Ramsdale’s time at Arsenal may be coming to an end. Some of these are really top bookies reviewed on Cheekypunter, which you can also check to see what their experts are saying about the trusted and popular UK football bookies.

Despite this general agreement that there is little chance Ramsdale will upstage Raya, pundits fail to underpin the outstanding qualities that Raya may be bringing to the table, that Ramsdale lacks. It is a fact that some of the high profile errors from Ramsdale last season heavily cost Arsenal, but we can’t also deny the fact that Raya is never an upgrade on Ramsdale. His high profile errors this season have either cost Arsenal points, or put the Gunners in sticky situations.

Biggest weaknesses

One of the biggest weaknesses Ramsdale had last season was in dealing with crosses, and the Gunners conceded a good number of goals from corner situations. His positional awareness was in most cases questionable and though his distribution of the ball was tipped to be among the best.

However, when he got his chance this season, against Brentford, Ramsdale did not have a very confident game, at one point almost crumbling under pressure in a back pass situation and needing Declan Rice to save him. These are however similar problems that have been experienced under Raya, who has at times been unable to convincingly deal with crosses and high balls despite his advantage when it comes to heights.

A number of goals conceded at the near post also expose Raya’s weaknesses that opponents keep on trying to exploit. While no one has an issue with having competition for positions, the goalkeeping position is one that Arteta has seemingly failed to address, right from the sales of Emi Martinez and Bernd Leno, to the acquisition of Ramsdale and Raya.

The Author

Neil Sherwin

Co-editor of BackPageFootball.com. Writes mostly on Premier League and A-League with contributions to other sites including TheFootballSack, InBedWithMaradona and Bloomberg's BSports. Has featured on The Guardian's Football Weekly.

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