Arsenal defensive fortress: The David Raya effect?

The Premier league season is officially over and Arsenal missed on the title to Manchester City just by 2 points. However, Arsenal had one of their best season performance wise and their main highlight was their defensive steadiness throughout the season.

It is fair to say that Mikel Arteta transformed this Arsenal side into one of toughest team to play against. Their defensive quality is remarkable and credit of this should also go to the goalkeeper David Raya, who joined on loan from Brentford.

Arsenal’s main goalkeeper for a long time was Aaron Ramsdale. They signed him in 2020/21 amidst all the scrutiny by the fans and pundits for the signing. Although it did not take much time for Ramsdale to prove all his doubters wrong. Despite this, Arteta’s purusit of excellence in every department made me intrigued to go for David Raya.

Raya initally joined Arsenal on a loan, however his remarkable performance and crucial role insisted Arsenal to make this deal permanent for £27 million.

A Calculated Gamble by Arsenal?

However, the decision of Bringing Raya despite Ramsdale’s performance was met with criticism. After a while, Arteta’s vision was understood by everyone when Raya started delivering standout performances and making him the first-choice goalkeeper at Arsenal. His performance has been extraordinary and is a crucial part of Arsenal’s defensive strength this season. Gunners only conceded 28 goals throughout the 38 games in this season.

Raya not only brings his goalkeeping abilities and skills to the table. His box command and his leadership qualities make him even more interesting option to have for future. Arteta has praised Raya with every chance he got for his commendable performances and his impact on the pitch, especially against Tottenham Hotspur in the North London derby. In a chaotic game as a North london derby, Raya’s calmness and composure was admirable. Arteta said “Raya stepped up and he got what 6-7 crosses. He was amazing, that’s what we want.”

What’s in the future for Ramsdale?

However, this performance of Raya has been bad news for Ramsdale’s future at Arsenal. Despite being on top of his game and delivering quality performances, he found himself as the backup option at Arsenal.

Reports also revealed that Arsenal will sell Ramsdale once the deal for Raya is finalized. There are already clubs interested to sign Ramsdale and Newcastle are the favorites to sign him, given the injury record of their goalkeeper Nick Pope.

This decision of Arsenal to change the fan favorite goalkeeper defines his commitment towards Arsenal and his long-term vision for the club. His approach is about steadily building the club instead of going for a short way of success. The signing of Raya ensures a quality player in a crucial position. It also gives the rest of the to play confidentially knowing that they a have quality goalkeeper in the back.

Arsenal fans and the team are enjoying their journey under Mikel Arteta and Raya’s signing is a milestone in this journey. It highlights the club’s approach of competing to be the best in the world and working on any of their weaknesses. With the squad quality and Raya in goal, Arsenal have a quality squad to compete for titles next season.

This transformation in few years is a testament to Arteta’s vision and club’s trust in him. Although, the departure of Ramsdale would be tough for fans, the signing of Raya highlights the focus and goal of the club. With the new season approaching, Arsenal fans can witness their team’s not only attacking quality but also their defensive steadiness.

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