Arsenal goalkeeper ‘battle’ downplayed as Raya says he has improved Ramsdale

News Desk

David Raya believes his battle with Aaron Ramsdale to be first-choice goalkeeper at Arsenal has made them both better players.

Spain international Raya is currently Mikel Arteta’s preferred option between the sticks and he became the first goalkeeper this season to keep a Premier League clean sheet against Brighton as the Gunners won 2-0 on Sunday to go top of the table.

Second-half goals from Gabriel Jesus and Kai Havertz secured the points for Arsenal, with Raya returning in goal after Ramsdale played in the 1-1 Champions League dead-rubber group game against PSV Eindhoven on Tuesday.

Since breaking into the side in September, Raya has unquestionably become Arteta’s number one as debate and argument reigns over who should fill the position long-term.

Raya, though, feels the fierce competition has improved both himself and England international Ramsdale.

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Asked if the battle has made him a better goalkeeper, Brentford loanee Raya replied: “Of course, and I think I have made him a better goalkeeper.

“I think that battle – I wouldn’t say battle, it’s just pushing each other in training, trying to help each other.

“If we see with each other when we are training that we can help each other, that’s how we are and that’s how we do. That’s the GK union that from the outside that you see.

“He is a top, top goalkeeper and a top, top team-mate. I hope he can say the same about me! We are team-mates, we are fighting for one position.”

Next up for Arsenal is a trip to face Liverpool at Anfield in a game where victory would put some space between the sides at the top of the table – where Aston Villa also feature after their comeback win over Brentford.

“Of course it is a massive game for any of the top teams playing against Liverpool away from home,” added Raya.

“I think comparing the last time I played there with Brentford and what we are going to face on Saturday is completely different. I think obviously they (the fans) will be more on top of us now, especially as we are fighting to be on top of the Premier League.

“It is going to be very, very important but we don’t have to focus on the atmosphere. We have to focus on ourselves and the football, and win the match.”

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Brighton, meanwhile, will be looking to recover from one of their worst performances of the campaign to date.

Roberto De Zerbi’s visitors managed just one shot on target at the Emirates Stadium as they were roundly beaten – with captain Lewis Dunk calling for a response against rivals Crystal Palace on Thursday.

“I think obviously, we’re disappointed,” he said.

“We had to do the dirty side of the game, where we usually control the game and have plenty of the ball but Arsenal stopped us doing that. We’ve just got to brush ourselves down, we’ve got a massive game on Thursday and we need to move on.”