Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta can prove Tony Adams and Gary Neville wrong this week

Mikel Arteta still has some convincing to do to prove he was right to sign David Raya as Aaron Ramsdale’s competition in goal this summer with both Gary Neville or Tony Adams questioning the Arsenal boss for creating unnecessary “pressure”. Arsenal have been largely praised for their transfer business under Arteta with the likes of Martin Odegaard, Gabriel Jesus, Declan Rice and Gabriel Magalhaes helping the Gunners return to Champions League football.

Ramsdale also played his part with an impressive campaign last season with only David de Gea keeping more clean sheets in the Premier League. But Arteta surprised many in deciding to make a move for Brentford goalkeeper Raya, who joined on an initial season-long loan.

Ramsdale started the season in goal for the Gunners, but soon lost his place to Raya after the September international break and made his first Premier League start in nearly three months at the weekend against Brentford. The 25-year-old showed signs of nerves in the early stages and was nearly caught out as Yoane Wissa pinched the ball from his feet before Rice saved his blushes with a goalline block.

Neville noted at the time that Ramsdale’s error was a clear result of Arteta’s decision to sign Raya in the summer. Neville wrote on X: “This is what happens when you have 2 keepers eating each other! You put them both under pressure.”

Arsenal icon Adams also couldn’t understand why his former club opted to sign another No 1 calibre goalkeeper, calling it an unnecessary “weakness”. Adams said on talkSPORT: “I’m not too sure why they’re doing that [changing goalkeepers].

“For me, Ramsdale had a fantastic season last year. I get the other competitions and in top flight football nowadays you need a squad of players and a couple of fantastic goalkeepers, but you’re always going to have a number one. Go back to Arsene’s days, at the end he was changing goalkeepers left, right and centre and for me, it’s always been a weakness.

“I was watching them playing out from the back against Brentford and they nearly messed it up again.” Arteta now has a decision to make on whether to give Ramsdale another chance in the Champions League this week against Lens with Arsenal on the verge of qualifying for the knockout stages.

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A win for Arsenal will ensure they finish top of Group B with one game to spare and create an opportunity for Arteta to rest players against PSV next month. Sticking with Ramsdale in goal could be a sign that Arteta is willing to give both of his goalkeepers a chance to prove themselves.

It would also give the England international a much-needed confidence boost after a challenging few months. But reverting back to Raya would act as a warning to Ramsdale that any mistake – punished or not – will cost him dearly.

Neville and Adams clearly feel that having two goalkeepers battling with one another for a starting spot is disruptive to the team. However, Arteta has a chance this week to show that it could in fact bring the team closer together.

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