Former Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor has criticized Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta for not being upfront about the David Raya-Aaron Ramsdale situation, saying the Spaniard will not use the Englishman in important competitions.
Arteta’s side signed Raya on loan from Brentford earlier this season, admittedly to provide competition to then-first-choice goalkeeper Ramsdale. Since the transfer, the Spanish tactician has claimed time and again that he does not have a first-choice goalkeeper and that he will rotate them throughout the season.
Agbonlahor Claims Ramsdale Will Not Play For Arsenal In Premier League & Champions League
On Sunday (September 17), Raya made his Premier League debut for Arsenal, keeping a clean sheet in a 1-0 win over Everton. Arteta deployed the Spanish goalkeeper once again on Wednesday, starting him ahead of 25-year-old Ramsdale in the 4-0 victory over PSV Eindhoven in the UEFA Champions League.
Speaking on talkSPORT, Agbonlahor claimed that Arteta would maintain his selection throughout the season and called his rotation talks “absolute garbage.”
The Englishman said:
“Have a day off, Mikel. He’s talking absolute garbage. You might play one keeper in the Carabao Cup, the FA Cup, that’s it.
“In Champions League football, your best keeper is playing. In the Premier League now you can’t afford to lose a point because Man City, your best keeper is starting.”
“David Raya will play. Don’t listen to him about bringing on a keeper in the 70th minute. He’s talking garbage.
“He’s trying to make it sound not as bad for Ramsdale. Basically, he’s been savage and he’s seen Raya as a better keeper and he wants to win the title. Simple as that.”
Two-Keeper Philosophy Might Not Be The Best Tactic For The Gunners
Although the two-keeper idea seems excellent on paper, in practice, it might be less so. Goalkeepers need consistency much more than outfield players. They need to continue playing to maintain their lightning-quick reflexes and quick decision-making. Without regular game time, they become prone to slip-ups and unforced errors.
Arsenal have two excellent goalkeepers in Raya and Ramsdale, and while Arteta has refrained from naming a favorite, he is likely to do so, sooner rather than later. Based on his recent calls, Raya seems to be in the lead, and understandably so. However, a snub would also be brutal for Ramsdale, whose performances were crucial in helping Arsenal secure a second-place finish last season.