The goalkeeper position at Arsenal is a newly formed topic of debate among fans and pundits alike.
After the arrival of David Raya, the competition for the coveted first-choice spot has reached fever pitch.
As the Gunners establish themselves as genuine title contenders once again, the question on every Arsenal fan’s mind is clear: should it be Aaron Ramsdale or David Raya who stands between the posts?
Arteta’s Arsenal goalkeeper revelation
The importance of a starting goalkeeper can be displayed by the little use of rotation in the shot-stopping department across Europe in previous seasons. English pundit and former player, Gary Neville, believes that “it’s [the goalkeeper position] the toughest position to play”, so rotating this spot is simply unsound. Goalkeepers, especially for top clubs, are constantly under scrutiny, so there is never a perfect time to rotate without damaging confidence.
In fact, Ramsdale surpassed former Gunner, Bernd Leno, in early 2021 after the Gunners conceded nine in their first three Premier League games. In that instance, Arteta never looked back, and the German keeper only started once in the league after, thanks to a Ramsdale injury, before signing for Fulham the following summer.
The competition between the keepers also stunts player development and growth. The manager ultimately has the final say on whose name is on the team sheet, so the competitors run the risk of losing character on the pitch and their play style being altered with the ambition to impress. However, it isn’t just tough for the goalkeepers, it is also challenging for the surrounding players, who have to change their expectations of their goalkeeper’s ability, strengths and characteristics each game, therefore altering their own play style and decisions to accommodate this.
Eventually, as players start playing less and their involvement in the team diminishes, players will be looking to move away in a bid to find themselves starting between the sticks consistently. Ramsdale’s motivation for this would be in a bid to start for his country in the upcoming Euros campaign, whilst Raya’s initial incentive to move to the Emirates was to win silverware in his peak years.
Continued on the next slide…