Arteta painted clear picture to stop Arsenal’s Saliba and Gabriel ‘problem’

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Mikel Arteta has been told that he should reinstate Aaron Ramsdale as Arsenal’s No 1 or risk a big problem with William Saliba and Gabriel. Following his arrival from Brentford on a loan-to-buy deal, David Raya has become the Gunners’ first-choice goalkeeper – but his shaky start to the campaign is struggling to justify such a bold decision.

Arteta was keen to bolster his ranks over the summer and ensure that there was competition for every spot in his starting XI. As a result, Jurrien Timber was signed to try and force his way into the Arsenal defence, with Declan Rice and Kai Havertz purchased as part of a midfield reshuffle.

Despite impressing last season, Ramsdale was provided with new-found competition in the shape of Raya, with Arteta insisting that there is no favoured option. However, Raya has started the majority of matches so far this season – and his performances have prompted criticism.

The Spaniard shone at Brentford but has looked shaky at the Emirates Stadium, flapping at crosses and recently making a woeful mistake in allowing Mykhaylo Mudryk’s cross to loop over his head and nestle into the back of the net.

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Questions have been raised about whether bringing Ramsdale back into the team would resolve the defensive problems in the short-term– and ex-Liverpool defender Steve Nicol is in agreement that Arteta needs to deal with the matter as soon as possible amid fears over how he is impacting Saliba and Gabriel.

Speaking about Raya, he told ESPN: “I think if he continues to flap at crosses [that] come into the box and gets himself in bad positions like Shaka (Hislop, co-pundit) thought he did for the Mudryk cross at the weekend then I think it’s going to have an effect on Saliba and Gabriel because their starting position is going to change.

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“They’re now thinking crosses into the box, we haven’t got Aaron Ramsdale who is 6ft4 and a big imposing goalkeeper, that makes a defender’s job different. When you know your keeper has got that authority in the box then it makes your job slightly different.

“When you have a keeper who is not particularly good in that area, as a defensive unit you might have to change your mindset a bit. I think the concern is, and we’re a long way from it, that his inadequacy from these balls in could start seeping through. There are early signs that this could be a problem.”

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