Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta started David Raya ahead of Aaron Ramsdale for Sunday’s clash at Everton because he is better at claiming crosses.
That is the view of ex-Gunners midfielder Adrian Clarke, who also believes Arteta will chop and change his goalkeepers throughout the season.
Eyebrows were raised when Ramsdale was left out of the line-up at Goodison Park having started the previous 76 Premier League matches for the north Londoners.
Arsenal fan and broadcaster Piers Morgan took to social media to accuse Arteta of humiliating the England international, who hasn’t done anything wrong this season.
He posted: “I don’t understand what Ramsdale has done to deserve being dropped?
“[Kai] Havertz, yes.. but Ramsdale’s been consistently superb for us. Why humiliate him?”
Speaking after the 1-0 win, Arteta insisted that it was a regret of his last campaign that he couldn’t change his goalkeeper at will.
And following the initial loan signing of Raya from Brentford, he now has two top-quality shot-stoppers at his disposal.
And Clarke, who came through Arsenal’s academy and now works for their in-house media team, has insisted no malice was intended towards Ramsdale following his omission.
Speaking on the talkSPORT Breakfast Show, he said: “I don’t see it as anything sinister, honestly, I genuinely don’t.
“I think that Mikel Arteta wants to use them both, he’s got two really good goalkeepers. I don’t think there’s much between them if I’m honest.
“And I think he’s thinking about, and he talked about this after the game, he said he’s got a couple of regrets about not changing his goalkeeper during a game, a couple of times last season to close things out, I think was the context of it.
“A little but like he used to put Rob Holding on – extra defender towards the end of the game – he said, ‘I thought about doing it with a goalkeeper before, and I haven’t’.
“And maybe he’s just thinking a horses for courses approach this season might work, and it might just sort of gee both of the guys up to outperform one another I guess.
“It’s unusual, no one’s ever really done it, but that might be what we see over the coming weeks, where literally on a game-by-game basis, we don’t know who’s going to play.
“One reason I think why David Raya might have played this game, is he’s so good at coming out to catch crosses.
“And Everton are big, they put crosses into the box – although they didn’t put many in this game.
“He caught 51 balls last season which was the second highest behind Emi Martinez, Ramsdale only came out and caught 17.
“So they’re very different in that aspect of goalkeeping and I think we saw that during the game, Raya was really, really confident coming out among bodies.”
He added of Arteta’s decision: “I think he’s looking to drive up standards, Aaron Ramsdale is probably too comfortable in his own eyes.
“Because last season, Matt Turner didn’t provide legitimate competition for his place, so look, he’s brought in a guy that can push him now.
“And I think he’s saying to them both, ‘look, outshine one another, show me who’s the number one’.
“And by the end of the season, I’m sure that Mikel will know in his own mind who he wants to have number one moving forward.
“I do think between now and January at least, we might see a bit of a shootout between these two, dipping in and out of games.
“I kind of understand why, because they’re both pretty evenly matched.”
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