Arsenal icon Henry delivers ‘devil’s advocate’ verdict on Arteta’s ‘problem’; two Gunners stars criticised

Lewis Oldham
Henry on Arsenal situation
Arsenal legend Thierry Henry.

Club legend Thierry Henry has offered his take on the Arsenal goalkeeper situation after David Raya’s poor performance against Luton Town.

Declan Rice saved Arsenal with a stoppage-time winner at Kenilworth Road on Tuesday night as the Premier League leaders battled back from behind to beat Luton Town 4-3. 

In a chaotic game, summer signing Raya arguably should have kept out two of Luton Town’s goals. Elijah Adebayo outmuscled him at a corner to equalise for the hosts before Ross Barkley’s shot crept under the Spanish goalkeeper for their third.

Arsenal signed Raya on loan in the summer from Brentford and they are expected to make this deal permanent in 2024 for £27m.

Raya has been heavily criticised at the start of this season and Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher thinks he is becoming a “massive problem” for Mikel Arteta.

The 28-year-old was recruited after Aaron Ramsdale barely put a foot wrong for Arsenal last season. The England shot-stopper has slipped down the pecking order but he kept a clean sheet in their 1-0 win over Brentford before the international break.

While Henry recognises that Raya should have done better against Luton, he also points out that Ramsdale “made two mistakes and didn’t get punished” against Brentford.

“Yeah the corner and the goal of Ross Barkley…” Henry said on Raya via Amazon Prime.

“But I’m going to play the devil’s advocate, I watched the Brentford game. Ramsdale made two mistakes and didn’t get punished. So that was only his luck.

“I don’t know if you remember. There was a missed pass, the ball, and Declan Rice saved it on the line. Afterwards, he wanted to throw the ball, it bounced above the head of the striker.”

OPINION: Arteta has game-changer Rice to thank as Arsenal again find a way to win against admirable Luton

Regarding Raya’s technique, Henry thinks the goalkeeper would have been better off attempting to save Barkley’s shot with his feet.

“So many times, go with the closest part of your body to the ball, which is your foot,” Henry added.

“(David) De Gea, Nick Pope does it, Peter Schmeichel used to do it – by the time you go down there, how are you going to save that? The ball is going to his feet and by the time he goes down here, if you stay, the ball is going to your feet easily.

“But if you take it away, the ball will go under. It’s an awkward way of stopping it.

“If he stands his ground like Peter Schmeichel and De Gea used to do, they used to save that with their feet all day every day. It’s easy for me to talk because I was not a goalkeeper, but if you stay, he saves that.”

MAILBOX: David Raya will cost extraordinary Arsenal the Premier League title this season