Pundit Simon Jordan has criticised Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta’s use of his goalkeepers.

Mikel Arteta sprung a surprise with his Arsenal starting XI selection against Everton on Sunday. The Spanish coach handed goalkeeper David Raya his debut for the Gunners at Goodison Park, with usual No. 1 Aaron Ramsdale relegated to the bench. 

The Arsenal boss was questioned about his decision after the game. Arteta defended his choice, saying, “I cannot have two players in this position and not play them. David has tremendous qualities like Aaron has and Karl has, but we have to use them and it is like this,” as quoted by the club’s official website.

He went on to say, “my feeling is to get everybody engaged in the team that they have to play, regardless of the competition – this is my message.”

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He suggested that he plans to swap between having Raya or Ramsdale between the sticks on a regular basis, as he might with two players in any outfield position. Both ‘keepers may well end up playing plenty of football this season.

However, this unconventional approach could easily backfire on Arteta. One of the two players may well cement the starting berth as his own, or one of them could easily become unhappy with the rotation policy being mooted and seek to move on from the club.

Arsenal Men's First Team Squad 2023/24
Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

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Simon Jordan does not think this approach is wise. Speaking on TalkSport, he said, “it feels like a bit of innovation for innovation’s sake. It feels like Arteta is making sure that everyone thinks he’s a clever, innovative manager that isn’t just following in the footsteps of Pep Guardiola.”

Jordan went on to stress that goalkeepers aren’t like outfield players, and that clubs usually have a designated first choice for good reason. However, he then stated that, “I’m obviously not against the idea of it if there’s good reasons for it, like a set of circumstances where there are specific skillsets that one goalkeeper has over another.”

Arteta may well be planning to select his goalkeeper on a game-by-game basis. This would make more sense, though, if Ramsdale and Raya offered radically different profiles and playing styles. However, both the £30 million England man and the twice-capped Spain international have largely similar strengths.

Both are good on the ball and are top class shot-stoppers. However, Raya may well have the edge in terms of the quality of his distribution and his ability to come off his line and claim crosses. It is less obvious where Ramsdale holds a clear advantage over the 28-year-old.

It will be fascinating to see to what extent Arteta makes good on his promise to shake things up with his goalkeeper selections throughout the season.

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