Premier League • England

Why it’s tough to see a future where both Ramsdale and Raya remain at Arsenal

Arsenal goalkeeper duo David Raya and Aaron Ramsdale

Arsenal goalkeeper duo David Raya and Aaron Ramsdale

David Raya looks to have ousted Aaron Ramsdale as Arsenal’s No.1 and is expected to retain his place for this Sunday’s North London Derby against Tottenham.

With Mikel Artea, you never know; it wouldn’t totally surprise me to turn up at the game on Sunday and find that Ramsdale was playing but it certainly looks like we’re beginning to see this shift we were all expecting to happen.

I thought it was going to happen a little bit later on in the season but this kind of perfectly mirrors when Ramsdale took over from Bernd Leno after the first international break. And it’s happened again here.

For all that Mikel has had to say in the media afterwards, from the initial responses to all the questions he’s had, it’s very hard to look at it now and not think that, in the big games, that Raya is ahead of Aaron.

What we’ve seen from Raya in the two appearances that he’s made so far are a lot of the reasons why I believe that Arteta has brought him in and why he sees him as potentially the goalkeeper that can help Arsenal win the title.

He’s very calm, he’s very collected. Although he’s not as big as Ramsdale, he’s excellent when it comes to dealing with crosses and his distribution is fantastic.

That was a really tough game for goalkeepers on Wednesday night. We saw the first goal Bukayo Saka scored when the PSV goalkeeper spilled the shot, it was really difficult, horrible conditions. And yet, it looks like Raya was playing in perfect sunshine without a hint of breeze. He was so comfortable. He did everything he had to do very well, barring a couple of misplaced passes in the second half. It was just a really top performance from him and everything that I believe that he’s been brought to the club for.

The bigger picture

People feel sorry for Ramsdale because he’s such a popular figure in the dressing room, and certainly in the stands where he’s made such a big impact and proved all those doubters so, so wrong since he’s been here. But fans really want to win. The vast majority believe that Raya is probably a slightly better goalkeeper than Ramsdale.

It’s a shame that he’s sitting on the bench, but I think most fans looking at the bigger picture can understand why Arteta has done what he appears to have done. It’s about winning and Arsenal didn’t win last season.

Mikel would have spent the summer trying to work out what tiny little things he can do to make Arsenal better and get them past Manchester City and goalkeeper, for me, clearly was one of them.

Ramsdale didn’t lose the shirt. When Arteta signed Raya, it felt like it was going to happen after a couple of errors from Ramsdale but Mikel is a pretty ruthless guy and he’s not waited for those mistakes to happen because he’s not made any.

It depends now on how Aaron reacts behind the scenes if there’s going to be a problem or not, and Mikel will hope there’s no problem. But Ramsdale is clearly not going to be very happy with what’s happening.

England chances

A week ago, he was starting for England against Scotland, and really, really pushing Jordan Pickford for the No.1 spot for England with the Euros to come this summer.

He’s a very good character, he’s got a great personality and whenever I’ve spoken to him, that really comes across, but he’s a professional footballer, and he wants to play. He’s not going to want to sit on the bench.

Ramsdale will play games, he’s not going to be sitting on the bench every game. Mikel has been saying he will rotate and I believe him but we’re clearly seeing a new pecking order established. Raya is going to play more.

If you follow football and you know how goalkeepers work, it’s very tough to envisage a future where both of these goalkeepers remain at Arsenal for the long term. It always felt like a short-term thing, maybe for a season.

If Aaron has any ambitions of ousting Jordan Pickford in becoming England’s No.1, he’s going to need to play a lot of games and a lot of minutes. And if he’s going to be sitting on the bench, then he’s not really going to be able to do that. At some stage, someone’s going to go. And if you’re asking me right now, who would probably end up going, it’d be Aaron Ramsdale.

Sunday showdown

I was convinced Ramsdale was going to start against PSV. Raya came in against Everton and I thought Ramsdale would be starting the Champions League. And I was really surprised when it was Raya.

Certainly right now if I’m doing my predicted XI and then I’d be having Raya in goal for Sunday. It’s such a huge game for Arsenal, it always is, but the fact that Tottenham started the season so well, both teams going into it level on points, it’s a real opportunity for one of the teams to lay down a marker.

Arsenal warmed up for it in the perfect fashion on Wednesday night and they’ll be desperate to get the win. Raya said he doesn’t know who’s going to start yet but most of us have probably now got an idea and that they will it will be Raya again.

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