Arteta hails ‘impressive form’ of under-fire Arsenal star tipped to cost them the title

Will Ford
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta

Mikel Arteta has praised David Raya for his “impressive form” since his move to Arsenal amid claims the Brentford loanee could cost the Gunners the Premier League title.

Raya has replaced Aaron Ramsdale as the Arsenal No.1 this season following a loan move that’s widely expected to be made permanent in the summer.

Arteta initially claimed that Ramsdale and Raya would be rotated during the season but the Spaniard is the clear first choice, starting every Premier League game he’s been available for since his debut.

But the 28-year-old has been far from convincing, and made two significant errors in the 4-3 win over Luton last time out, flapping at a cross to allow Elijah Adebayo to head home into an empty net, before allowing Ross Barkley’s shot to squeeze under his body.

Despite those errors, and poor stats in general, Arteta insists Raya has been “impressive” for the Gunners this season.

“If you look at his form and what he has achieved since he’s been with us it’s impressive. I have three great goalkeepers and I’m really happy,” he said in his press conference.

“I have great wingers. Some of them are on the bench but there’s no questions related to them.”

Asked immediately after the win over Luton for his thoughts on Raya’s performance, Arteta was keen to split the blame.

He said: “We have to defend better the situations as a team.

“There are certain things leading to the goals and it’s not about blaming, we have never done it, and we’re not going to do it now. It’s about how the team reacts to that, because it’s going to happen, and I love that response.

“I think we can defend the goals much better, that’s for sure.”

The Mailbox reckons Arsenal will struggle to win the title with Raya in goal and Jamie O’Hara agreed, claiming the Brentford loanee is a “massive problem” for Arteta.

“I don’t believe Arsenal can win the league with that goalkeeper. If you look at the best teams that win the league every year, mostly Manchester City or Liverpool, they have the best keepers,” O’Hara said on talkSPORT.

“Cech, Van der Sar, Schmeichel, Alisson, Ederson. For me Arsenal can’t win the league with David Raya in goal and that’s where I think they’ve got it wrong.

“If you’re going to upgrade from Ramsdale you’ve got to upgrade properly. David Raya is not that guy and he will end up costing them.

“Declan Rice stepped up tonight, Havertz scores as well. Big moment for them in the 96th minute. Brilliant and Arsenal fans will be buzzing but in the grand scheme of it David Raya is a problem for them. A massive problem.”

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