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Competition for Ramsdale as David Raya signs for Arsenal on season-long loan

David Raya has joined Arsenal on a season-long loan from Brentford, giving Aaron Ramsdale some overdue competition for the starting position, following the permanent transfer of Matt Turner to Nottingham Forest. Arsenal correspondent, Andrei Petrescu, reports.

Raya stated recently that he continues to harbour a strong ambition to play in the Premier league. Therefore, his decision to transfer to North London over the German champions Bayern Munich, makes perfect sense. Raya was convinced to sign with the Gunners by the Arsenal project.

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Arsenal have the option to buy Raya, who joins on a loan move from the Bees, for up to £27 million.

The signing of Raya may put Ramsdale under some necessary pressure for a club challenging for honours. No disrespect to Matt Turner, but he was never really a threat to wrestle the number one spot at the Emirates away from Ramsdale.

Mikel Arteta is a huge admirer of the Spaniard. He wanted to bring the 27-year-old to the Emirates in previous windows but could not secure a deal with Brentford. Finally, Arteta has his goalkeeping target and Ramsdale might have to fight to retain the number 1 spot.

Arteta likes his goalkeepers to be good with their feet in order to build up from the back. Thus, he was so eager to bring the English international (Ramsdale) in the summer of 2021 from Sheffield United.

Raya however, is a bit more direct than the 24-year-old. At Brentford the focus was on Ivan Toney and Bryan Mbeumo winning the first header and catching the opposition unprepared. This give Arsenal a welcome edge. Potentially, they could have two different styles of play in mind and could be less predictable against lower block teams.

Like Ramsdale, Raya is able to play short at times. However, Raya’s passing accuracy in his own half is 5% less than Ramsdale’s. Mikel Arteta will not be pleased to see possession given up this cheaply. Raya is more accomplished when going long and has a 13.5% better accuracy rating than the Englishman.

Ramsdale number 1 spot under scrutiny?

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Competition creates quality, and Arteta wants nothing less than the best for his team to consistently contend for the Premier League title and other major honours.

Aside from that, Raya excels between the sticks in the modern day. Arsenal has long been a fan, especially since their current goalkeeper coach Iñaki Caña was instrumental in getting him from Blackburn Rovers to Brentford in 2019.

Now, with the Gunners recruiting a top-class keeper, pressure will be on Ramsdale to perform at the highest level. He will no doubt be aware that the slightest mistake could cost him his place on the team sheet.

Not that Ramsdale seems perturbed. The 25-year- old simply said’ Bring it on’ when asked about the arrival of a new face in the goalkeeping department. Fighting talks indicates that the youngster will not give up his spot easily and may be inspired to work to become even better. This can only be good news for Arsenal and England.

Ramsdale VS Raya

RamsdaleRamsdale v Raya 2022/23Raya
234Passes into final third384
91.8%Passing accuracy own half86.5%
22.5%Passing accuracy opp. half37
14Clean sheets12
34Clearances (inc. punches)20
343Shots faced562
137Shots on target faced200
68.6%Save percentage77%
66.7%Save percentage (in box)71.4%
75.9%Save percentage out. box86.5%

There is not much between the two as the stats above show.

And, looking more deeply into how the two compare using data, Ramsdale is far more comfortable with the ball at his feet with 2,801 passes since he has been in the Premier League, with Raya completing only 1,701 forward passes. This indicates that he was more direct in his build up play for the Bees.

In regard to touches, the Englishman accumulated 5,352 touches which reflects the way Arteta trusts his keepers with the ball under their feet, while Raya had only 3,098 touches at Brentford.

Arteta’s plan is to have strong competition for places on all fronts. In another area of the pitch, Reiss Nelson has shown that he is capable of competing with Bukayo Saka, as seen last season when called upon he delivered (including a last minute winner against AFC Bournemouth which ended 3-2). With the other new signings in Declan Rice, Kai Havertz and Jurrien Timber providing competition in other areas of the pitch too, the depth of the squad is becoming stronger, suggesting Arsenal will be better equipped to compete on all levels.

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The saving percentage does not look in the favour of Ramsdale. He allowed 39 goals into his own net while playing for a far superior team, with Raya only allowing 27 since his Premier League debut in 2021/22 season.

Another reason the pursue of Raya makes sense is his capability of shot saving in which the current Arsenal’s number 1 lacks at times making despicable mistakes. With the Arsenal stopper making 91 saves since his debut for the club in 2021/2022 season, whilst Raya has made a miraculous 232 saves since his Premier League debut.

That, however does not imply Ramsdale is a bad shot stopper: Arsenal is a better unit defensively than Brentford.

In all fairness, the difference is not huge between the two, which is why the recruitment was once again top notch from the Gunners. They now have two outstanding keepers who can challenge each other in order to become better.

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