Premier League • England

Mikel Arteta slammed for ‘planting seeds’ in minds of two Arsenal players he has ‘messed around’

David Raya, Aaron Ramsdale Arsena

David Raya and Aaron Ramsdale are competing for Arsenal No.1 spot

Mikel Arteta has been heavily criticised for messing around two Arsenal players in his efforts to create a more competitive atmosphere in his first-team squad.

Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel firmly believes that Arteta has made a major error by pitting goalkeepers Aaron Ramsdale and David Raya against each other since the latter’s arrival on loan from Brentford over the summer.

The Spaniard has replaced Ramsdale as the club’s No.1 but has already made a number of serious errors this term. That has led to Arteta being taken to task on why he moved for the Brentford man in the first place when Ramsdale had impressed last season.

And, following Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa on Saturday evening, Schmeichel told The Times: “I think what we’re seeing is a couple of issues.

“One is situations like Mikel Arteta has created at Arsenal [as has Roberto De Zerbi at Brighton] where the manager wants two players competing for the No.1 spot.

“That shows a lack of understanding about the position. Goalkeepers need the confidence that, regardless, they’re still playing next week.

“You don’t want your ’keeper flying here, there, everywhere trying to show the manager he’s better than the competition.

“Yet Arteta has planted that seed in the minds of both Raya and Aaron Ramsdale.”

Arteta was forced to defend Raya after Arsenal’s 4-3 win over Luton Town on Tuesday after he made two costly mistakes which led to goals.

Schmeichel feels for Arsenal duo

And although the 28-year-old Spaniard could not be faulted for John McGinn’s winner for Villa, Schmeichel chose to reflect on his performance at Kenilworth Road instead.

“The first mistake is a technical error,” Schmeichel added. “Instead of meeting the ball, he’s waiting for it and Elijah Adebayo heads it in.

“So, he knows he’s made an error and then he’s panicky. His mind is not clear. It’s, ‘I need to show the manager…’

“For the second mistake, the 100 per cent concentration you need isn’t there. Why not just block the shot [from Ross Barkley] with his feet?

“Nick Pope has been doing it forever. Pope is first and foremost a goalkeeper who just gets whatever in the way and saves it.”

Ramsdale is likely to get the nod in midweek when Arsenal head to PSV in the Champions League, having already qualified for the knockout stage of the competition.

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