Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Friday waffle + D’Aron Raydale

Morning all.

It’s Friday, football is back tomorrow and we’ll hear from Mikel Arteta ahead of the Chelsea game in a little while. I suppose the key question is whether or not Bukayo Saka is fit enough to take part – how openly the manager answers is another thing entirely. There haven’t been any reports of other Interlull injuries, but we’ll wait and see what he says about that when his press conference takes place. We’ll have all the bits and pieces over on Arseblog News.

Ahead of that, Aaron Ramsdale has been talking about the difficult situation he’s been in since David Raya arrived at the club and took his place. He says:

It has been difficult. There are times where you’re doing the right thing but it’s the wrong thing and if you don’t do it, it’s the wrong thing. So it’s a double-edged sword.

Whether it is me or David who plays we just need to focus and play but at the same time, it’s a strange, big headline. It’s one that we’re working through as a club and it’s one that the manager puts in front of us and we have to deal with it. That is what we are doing.

There were also parallels with what the on-loan Brentford man said during the international break when talking about the work on the training ground and their relationship.

Raya

We push each other every day in training: when he’s a little bit down, I push him, and when I’m a little bit down he does the same.

We train three goalkeepers, four at the most, for hours a week, and you need that kind of relationship because otherwise, the training is not going to go well.

Ramsdale

We are with each other for three or four hours a day – there are four or five of us in that  group so if we don’t get on it wouldn’t work. We work professionally really well together. We push each other in training and there’s days where I come in and I’m down because of the situation and he picks me up.

And for whatever reason there might be a day where he’s down and even though I’m suffering and hurting for not playing I have to stand up and be able to push him.

Whether that’s the company line, or Ramsdale just parroting what Raya said as an easy way to deal with the question, who knows? Quite probably it’s genuine, and they’re speaking the same truth – albeit Aaron’s is tinged with the ‘suffering’ he mentions.

As for the situation overall, I fully understand a manager wanting to have two good players for every position, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Both of these goalkeepers could be regular starters in the absence of the other, and you’re not dealing with any significant gulf in quality between them.

However, unlike any other position, goalkeepers don’t get bits of involvement to keep them happy. You don’t come on as a sub (regardless of what Arteta said after Everton). Your position is, for games that really matter, the one with least rotation. That’s just how it works without some radical shift in how keepers are used, and I don’t see that taking place at Arsenal right now.

So ultimately you just end up right back where you started, with one first choice keeper, and the other guy determined to leave because he wants to play, knowing he’s good enough to do exactly that for every other team in the league. We play Brentford at the end of November, a game Raya can’t play because of his loan status, and I’m curious to see if Arteta will throw Ramsdale in ‘cold’, or if he’ll give him some minutes beyond his inevitable start in the EFL Cup tie against West Ham.

It also becomes and remains a topic of conversation throughout the season even though most people can pretty clearly see what has happened at this point. I’m sure Arteta knew all this going in, and while I don’t think it’s a distraction per se, it’s still just there floating around the Arsenal ether. Maybe there’ll be a surprise in the coming weeks, maybe not. As long as we keep winning football matches, that’s the main thing.

Right, that’s it for now. As I mentioned, we’ll have press conference coverage on Arseblog News, and join us later on this afternoon for a preview podcast over on Patreon, looking ahead to Chelsea and all the rest.

Until then.

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