Ramsdale or Raya? Mikel Arteta’s unorthodox solution to Arsenal’s problem
The scoring substitute may be a sign of Arsenal’s greater strength in depth or Mikel Arteta’s capacity to influence games. For Leandro Trossard against Everton and in the Community Shield, Eddie Nketiah at Fulham and Gabriel Jesus against Manchester United.
So far this season, 40 percent of Arsenal’s goals have come from replacements, whether from bringing on Trossard for Gabriel Martinelli or swapping the strikers Jesus and Nketiah for each other. If that statistic probably is not sustainable, Arteta has another kind of impact sub in mind.
He had shown a willingness to switch his goalkeepers, giving David Raya a debut and Aaron Ramsdale a watching brief at Goodison Park. He has set up a duel for the season: there is an obvious interpretation that it is a battle between a new signing Arsenal have long coveted and a surprise recruit two years ago who his fellow professionals voted the best goalkeeper in the division last season. Whether Arsenal’s fixture list is big enough to keep each happy and if Arteta sees it as a genuine job-share remains to be seen but he said: “I cannot have two players like this in one position and not play them.”
That may simply be an argument to buy himself time while he decides between the two. The more instructive element is that Arteta believes he could field them both in the same game, and not merely because of injury or a red card.
“I’m a really young manager,” he began, unprompted. “I’ve been in this job [for] three-and-a-half years and I have few regrets with what I’ve done. One of them was that in two occasions, I felt after 60 minutes and 85 minutes, in two games, in this period, to change the keeper in that moment.
“But I didn’t do it. I didn’t have the courage to do it. But I’m able to