Let’s join Rakhoi to follow details of Premier League matches and football news; please visit the website. The long-term contract goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale signed a few months ago affirmed that he will be the team’s number-one goalkeeper in the future. So why did Arsenal sign Brentford goalkeeper David Raya?
1. Who takes the number one spot in the goal?
When Arsenal signed Aaron Ramsdale for £30 million from Sheffield United in the 21/22 season, many Gunners fans must have raised their eyebrows. Relegated for two consecutive seasons with Bournemouth and Sheffield United, Ramsdale does not seem to have the necessary qualities to become the main goalkeeper at a club with ambitions of reaching the top 4.
But since then, Ramsdale has always been present in Arsenal’s wooden frame. The long-term contract the English goalkeeper signed a few months ago confirms that he will be the team’s number-one goalkeeper in the future.
2. So why did Arsenal sign Brentford goalkeeper David Raya?
The answer is to increase competition for positions. To prevent Manchester City’s superiority, Arsenal cannot sit still. In the summer transfer window, they signed Jurriën Timber, Declan Rice, and Kai Havertz, three players who can immediately start. The same thing happened with Raya; His arrival will increase the pressure on Ramsdale. Because competition creates excellence.
Besides, Raya is an excellent and modern goalkeeper. He had an extremely impressive number of stops for Brentford last season. According to Opta, the Spanish goalkeeper saved nearly six more goals than the average goalkeeper is expected to concede. Only Fulham’s Bernd Leno (10.7) and Liverpool’s Alisson (9.5) achieved a higher rate.
Meanwhile, Ramsdale conceded 1 more goal than expected. This means that despite his bright moments, Ramsdale’s performance is quite up and down.
Even in the 21/22 season, when Ramsdale had an impressive debut season at Emirates Stadium, his blocking ability was only at the league average. Specifically, the 25-year-old goalkeeper only blocked 0.6 more goals than the average goalkeeper is expected to block.
Ramsdale’s ability to play with his feet is one of the main reasons why Arsenal targeted him. But that’s also what Raya can bring.
Brentford plays much more directly than Arsenal. Therefore, Raya is often asked to pass along to Ivan Toney, both on goal kicks and when the ball is live. 66% of his passes last season were long passes – the sixth-highest proportion of any Premier League goalkeeper and much higher than Ramsdale’s 51%.
Regardless, the pair have similar passing accuracy (63.4% for Ramsdale vs. 60.8% for Raya). Meanwhile, the accuracy of Raya’s tee shots at long distances is very good. Raya completed 42% of his long passes last season, one of the best rates in the division. By comparison, only 29.2% of Ramsdale’s long shots found a teammate – the third-lowest rate among starting goalkeepers last season.
Raya’s accuracy in long passes is a powerful weapon for Brentford. The Spanish goalkeeper created nine secondary chances last season – four more than any other goalkeeper. He also completed 22 forward passes – 16 more than any other goalkeeper last season.
Raya is good enough to start for most Premier League teams, including Arsenal. He plays too impressively to be a supporting double and will most likely usurp Ramsdale for the number-one position.
3. What should Arsenal do with Nketiah and Balogun?
Arsenal need to find a solution to their options at striker, especially with Gabriel Jesus out at the start of the season due to injury. Are they comfortable with Eddie Nketiah? What about Folarin Balogun?
As for Jesus, although he possesses many qualities of a modern striker, finishing has never been his strength.
Jesus has played in the Premier League for 7 seasons. During that time, he had a total of 83.6 expected goals. But from those opportunities, he only scored 69 goals, meaning he missed 14.6 goals. Since his first season at Manchester City in 16/17, no player has scored worse than expected by such a large margin.
4. Can Arsenal avoid the fallout of Rob Holding?
Nothing against Rob Holding here. The Englishman is a capable defender in the Premier League and a useful player for Arsenal. He is also a great personality in the dressing room. Every team needs a Holding.
But the decline in quality that Arsenal suffered when right-sided midfielder William Saliba was injured in March is obvious. Saliba had been playing excellently up until that point. His chemistry with Gabriel Magalhães at the heart of defense has been the driving force behind Arsenal’s remarkable start to the season.
5. Competition between Rice and Partey
If the signings of Timber and Havertz are the appetizers in Arsenal’s summer transfer window, then Rice is the main dish (coincidentally, because Rice means rice in English).
The former West Ham captain went to London for a fee of up to 105 million pounds. That price shows that Arteta believes that Rice’s presence will change the face of the team this season.
Rice’s presence puts Thomas Partey’s future in doubt. There has been interest from Saudi Arabia and Juventus for the Ghana international. But those rumors have cooled and it appears the 30-year-old will stay. Arteta also shared that he still has many plans with Partey for the upcoming campaign.
But in the context of both playing anchor midfielders, how will that happen in reality? First of all, owning both Rice and Partey is another example of Arteta building depth in a key position. It is important to know that Arsenal will be very busy when they have to play in the Champions League this season.
Putting aside the qualities of both, what Rice has over Partey is persistence. Rice has started at least 32 National League matches in the last five seasons; Since the 18/19 season, only James Tarkowski has played more minutes than Rice. On the other hand, Partey made 33 appearances last season but only appeared in 24 matches in his first two seasons at Arsenal.
The way this duo plays is quite similar. According to radar comparisons, the player in Europe’s top five leagues with the most similar profile to Rice is Partey. Off the ball, both are reliable ball-winners and excellent readers of the game.