Arteta's Surprising Goalkeeper Choice Spurs Arsenal to 1-0 Victory at Everton
Arsenal's manager, Mikel Arteta, downplayed the significance of his surprising decision to start David Raya over England goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale in their 1-0 victory at Everton on Sunday.
Raya, the Spaniard on loan from Brentford, got the nod for the match at Goodison Park and had a relatively quiet game as Arsenal maintained control throughout. When asked about the decision to bench Ramsdale, who had played every league game for Arsenal the previous season, Arteta likened it to his choices in the outfield positions.
He explained, "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 has, but we have to use them, you know."
Arteta revealed that there had been instances in the past, during his tenure as Arsenal manager, when he considered changing the goalkeeper during a game for tactical reasons but hesitated, largely because such a move is unusual. He stated, "I didn't have the courage to do it. But I'm able to take a winger, or a striker, or a central defender or to drop to a five and hold that result. We drew those games, and I was so unhappy. Why not change the keeper? We have all the qualities in another goalkeeper to do something when something is happening and you want to change momentum. Do it. Now my feeling is to get everybody engaged in the team. They have to play, regardless of the competition. We have to do it."
The question now is whether Raya will continue to be the preferred goalkeeper in what is a crucial week ahead for Arsenal, including a Champions League clash against PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday and a highly anticipated north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur.
When asked about how Ramsdale would react to this decision, Arteta emphasized that every player on the team should have the same response. He said, "The same as Gabriel Jesus, the same as Kai Havertz, the same as Takehiro Tomiyasu. Exactly the same. We play with 11 players. We don't play with 10 plus one, or sometimes nine. We play with 11 players. Exactly the same."