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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has been urged to stick with David Raya in goal for this weekend’s north London derby following Wednesday’s impressive win over PSV. Raya has started for the Gunners in their last two matches and is yet to concede a goal for his new club, with Aaron Ramsdale having dropped to the bench.
Raya kept a clean sheet on his Arsenal debut at Everton last weekend and followed up with another strong performance against PSV in the Champions League in midweek. The north Londoners cruised to victory by scoring four goals without reply to maintain their winning form ahead of Sunday’s meeting with Tottenham.
Arteta has since been urged by former England striker Michael Owen to hand Raya another start against Spurs, with the Spaniard a cut above the rest with the ball at his feet.
“It’s fascinating,” he told TNT Sports when quizzed on Arsenal’s goalkeeping dilemma. “I probably would side with sticking. I like Raya. As soon as I saw him at Brentford, I thought this keeper can play in a Champions League team.
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“I think he’s exceptional. He’s very good with his feet. He’s an all-rounder, and I rate Ramsdale as well, but if I had to choose I’d probably just side with Raya.”
It would be a shock if Raya is dropped for Arsenal’s next match against Tottenham, with the 28-year-old yet to be really tested during his short spell between the sticks. He has not put a foot wrong thus far and will certainly have high hopes of playing in his first north London derby this weekend.
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It remains to be seen whether Raya will be able to make the goalkeeping position his own, with Ramsdale seemingly facing a battle to regain his starting spot. However, there could still be some chopping and changing in the position over the coming weeks until a clear frontrunner emerges.
Arteta played down the significance of his decision to drop Ramsdale against Everton last weekend, insisting that it was no different to swapping outfield players. He said: “It’s the same rationale that Fabio [Vieira] played here or Eddie [Nketiah] played instead of Gabriel Jesus.
“I haven’t had a single question on why Gabriel Jesus hasn’t started and he’s won more trophies than anyone, including me, in that dressing room. I cannot have two players like this in one position and not play them. David has tremendous qualities, like Aaron has, like Karl [Hein] has, but we have to use them.”
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