He believes that Arteta now prefers David Raya to Aaron Ramsdale, following Raya’s excellent performance against Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend.
Additionally, he also said that despite Arsenal’s middling start to the 2023/24 season, he thinks they will begin to ‘hit their stride’ soon.
What did Alan Smith say regarding the goalkeeper situation at Arsenal?
On David Raya and Aaron Ramsdale, Smith said [via Lord Ping]: “David Raya is his number one now. He sees things in Raya that he doesn’t see in Ramsdale. He must think that Raya has better ability with the ball at his feet and a better passing range.
“There were times during the match against Tottenham where Raya was standing on the half-way line – he really does take up some advanced positions when Arsenal have the ball in the opponents half.
“I don’t think Arteta will come out and publicly say that Raya is his number one because of the damage that might do to Ramsdale’s confidence, although Ramsdale will know that he (Arteta) prefers Raya.
“If it carries on like this, I think that Ramsdale will try and leave the club at the end of the season. Ramsdale is too good a goalkeeper to be content with sitting on the bench and it is very difficult for any manager to keep two goalkeepers of that quality happy within the same squad. Something will have to give at some stage.”
What did Smith have to say about Arsenal’s first few games?
Speaking on Arsenal’s slow start to the season, Smith mused: “I don’t think Arsenal’s start to the season has been as bad as some people have made out. You don’t always click into top gear straight away.
“The results have been there, some of the performances haven’t been top notch for an Arsenal side, but there were times in the match on Sunday when Arsenal were knocking the ball about and Tottenham couldn’t get near them.
“Some of the Spurs lads at the golf day even admitted that and, when Arsenal are playing with confidence and zipping the ball about, they are a very difficult team to play against. I think Arsenal are slowly warming up. I’m pretty sure they will hit their stride soon.”