Arsenal’s recent matches, including the Champions League clash against PSV Eindhoven, have seen David Raya between the sticks, leaving Aaron Ramsdale’s future at the club in question. In this article, we compare the two shot-stoppers and assess what the future may hold for the Gunners’ goalkeeping department.
Who Is the Better Goalkeeper Between Aaron Ramsdale and David Raya?
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Ramsdale in Unfamiliar Waters at Arsenal
Since joining the North London outfit in 2021 for around £30 million, the Englishman has been the undisputed number one in the goalkeeping department. Thanks to his brilliant performances, then-starter Bernd Leno had to transfer to Fulham. After that, the 25-year-old has established himself as one of the best in his position in the league, while also solidifying a spot in the England national team.
However, the arrival of Raya from Brentford has seen the usurper become the usurped. The Spaniard has taken over from Ramsdale the same way the latter took over from Leno.
Raya’s Rise Through the Ranks
The Barcelona-born keeper started his professional career with former Premier League champions Blackburn Rovers. Prior to this, he was also an outfield player in futsal which explains his ability with the ball at his feet. Raya helped the Riversiders win promotion into the second division after which he moved to Brentford.
After gaining promotion to the Premier League with the Bees, the Spanish international has grown in confidence and has developed a reputation for being one of the best goalkeepers in the division, eventually earning a move to Arsenal.
What Separates the Two Shot-Stoppers?
In the 2022/23 Premier League season, both the keepers played all 38 games for their respective clubs. While Ramsdale kept 14 clean sheets, Raya kept 12 for the West Londoners. The former conceded 43 goals in total, only three fewer than Raya’s 46.
However, the Brentford man faced a lot more shots on target than the Arsenal keeper. He made a league-leading 154 saves at a handsome save percentage of 77.7% whereas Ramsdale saved 94 shots at 70.6%.
Raya also has a better cross-stopping percentage of 8.7% to the Englishman’s 5.8%. Furthermore, Raya is statistically the better sweeper keeper thanks to his 54 defensive actions outside the penalty box compared to Ramsdale’s 43 while they both have a similar average distance of defensive action (Raya 15.8 yds, Ramsdale 16.1 yds).
Where the Spaniard outshines the former Sheffield United star, is in distribution. Although they both have very high short and medium pass completion percentages, Raya has a much higher long ball completion rate at 44.7% to Ramsdale’s 35.8%. He also has 13 progressive passes to the Englishman’s 8.
Even though these statistics portray two highly talented, confident, and composed goalkeepers, Raya proves to be slightly better at what a modern goalkeeper is expected to be in recent times.
Arteta’s Stance on the Goalkeeping Situation
Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta continues to emphasize that the change in goalkeeper is merely to promote healthy competition within the squad as is the case with every other outfield position. In a recent interview, he stated: “I cannot have two players in each position and not play them. David has tremendous qualities, like Aaron has and we have to use them.”
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The benching, however, has already attracted some attention from rivals who are interested in signing the out of favour Englishman. Chelsea and Bayern Munich are reportedly monitoring Ramsdale’s situation. The 25-year-old is also keen on fighting to win back his spot in the team.
At the moment, it remains to be seen what the future holds for both the talented players and the club, but it promises to be an interesting story to keep an eye on.