Arsenal extended their lead at the top of the Premier League table with a thrilling victory over Luton Town. Arteta’s men went on to secure their 4th consecutive league win on Tuesday. But it wasn’t just a piece of cake. Two awful errors from Arsenal’s goalkeeper David Raya almost cost his side three crucial points.
After making an impressive start to his Arsenal career, Raya has looked nervy in recent weeks. Yet Arteta decided to go ahead with the Spaniard in the lineup as Arsenal came face-to-face against the newly promoted Luton Town F.C. in their 15th league match. A decision that nearly backfired.
Arteta’s team experienced a positive first half that boasted a 2-1 lead thanks to goals from Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus. It is the 2nd half where things got a bit wobbly.
A corner in the 49th minute saw David Raya attempt to reach for the ball. The Spaniard was in no man’s land as he failed to collect the ball cleanly and thus allowed Elijah Adebayo to head the ball into an empty net making it 2-2 on the scoresheet. Just eight minutes later it got even worse for Raya as he completely allowed Ross Barkley’s low left-footed shot to squirm under his body and into the net.
Raya’s mistakes were arguably ones he should have managed to stop. Ally McCoist, the Amazon Prime commentator, described these errors as “horrible.” Arsenal supporters were undoubtedly surprised by such basic errors coming from their primary goalkeeper.
Fans were quick to rub salt into his wounds as they slammed him for being “small” on social media. This isn’t the first instance where concerns about his height have emerged. David Raya isn’t a commanding presence in the goal and occasionally he had to pay for it.
The Spaniard is measured at a mere 183 cm (6ft) as opposed to the average goalkeeper’s height of 188 cm (6 ft 1.6 inch). Arsenal fans have criticized his short stature, implying that it limited his ability to handle the conceded corner. They pointed out that his fellow goalkeeper, Aaron Ramsdale would have handled it more effectively because of his taller build. Ramsdale is around 188 cm himself.
Thankfully Arsenal did not have to trail for long. Kai Havertz scored just within three minutes to equalize the scoreline. Declan Rice became their saviour and scored the winner in the 7th minute of stoppage time to complete the comeback and spare Raya from extreme humiliation.
Arteta was not ready to point any fingers toward his goalkeeper. When asked about Raya’s performance in the post-match interview with SkySports, he said: “We have to defend better the situations as a team. There are certain things leading to the goals and it’s not about blaming, we have never done it, and we’re not going to do it now. It’s about how the team reacts to that because it’s going to happen, and I love that response.”
However, fans have urged Arteta to reinstate Ramsdale back in the squad. They’ve highlighted Raya’s recent struggles and nervousness in goal. On the other hand, Ramdsale has made the best of the opportunities he has gotten.
With a decent performance and a clean sheet in his last game against Brentford, Ramsdale has proved that he cannot be overlooked. Mikel Arteta now has a tough decision to make ahead of Arsenals’ next game.
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