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Raya or Ramsdale; Who's Number 1 at Arsenal?

It was somewhat surprising when Arsenal announced the Summer signing of Brentford goalkeeper David Raya. Whilst the Spaniard is a fantastic goalkeeper, the Gunners already had a top-class goalkeeper in England's Aaron Ramsdale. Raya has started to push Ramsdale out of the team, but who is the number one in Mikel Arteta's eyes?

For the first few games of the season, Aaron Ramsdale kept his spot. David Raya's deal hadn't been finalised in time for the season opener at home Nottingham Forest, a game in which Ramsdale made two very good saves.

That was enough to keep last season's first-choice keeper in goal for the three games up until the September international break. Whilst Ramsdale could've done better with Fulham's opener in their 2 - 2 draw at the Emirates, he was pretty much perfect in the victories against Crystal Palace and Manchester United.

Nevertheless, he was dropped in favour of David Raya for the trip to Everton after the internationals. Ramsdale was good in the first four games of the season, but David Raya has been nothing short of world-class in his first four games between the sticks for his new club.

He was so good on debut against Everton that Mikel Arteta trusted him with Arsenal's first Champions League game for seven years.

Raya was perfect again, and so earned the starting spot in the North London Derby, where he produced quite possibly the save of the season to deny Brennan Johnson.

Raya made a series of impressive saves in the first half of the derby and was on form again a week later to keep a clean sheet at the Vitality Stadium against Bournemouth.

Between Raya's most recent starts though, Aaron Ramsdale was recalled for Arsenal's first Carabao Cup tie of the season, which saw them beat Brentford 1 - 0. Ramsdale made two exceptional saves in the second half to keep the Gunners ahead, setting up a derby with West Ham in Round Four.

This potentially gives Arteta a selection headache heading into Tuesday's Champions League meeting with RC Lens. Ramsdale must play at least once in the competition after such a huge contribution to the Gunners' qualification last season and a hostile away game is precisely his cup of tea.

Deciding the starting goalkeeper for Tuesday's game is one thing, but there's then the small matter of hosting Manchester City on Sunday, and the selection has to be perfect for Arsenal to stand a chance of beating the champions.

If Arteta is truly going to try rotating his goalkeepers on a game-by-game basis, he'll probably be looking to rest Raya until the big game on Sunday. This might not be the best choice though, as Lens like to attack from their wing-backs most of the time, meaning lots of crosses into the box.

In his first two games for Arsenal, David Raya made 50 claims; Ramsdale made just 19 in his first four starts of the season.

In terms of shot-stopping, there's little to nothing between the Arsenal goalkeepers. Raya makes more catches but Ramsdale is a much louder goalkeeper who takes charge of his penalty area with more authority than Raya.

But David Raya's passes are nothing short of sensational. The Spaniard can pick out teammates in the other half of the pitch from a goal kick. On top of that Raya often comes out to play as a third centre-half, allowing Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ben White to push further up the pitch.

However, Aaron Ramsdale is unrivalled among Premier League goalkeepers when it comes to getting the crowd behind him. Arsenal fans adore him, and every time he gets the ball it injects a bit more energy into the crowd.

Ramsdale is also exceptional at winding up the opposing fans, whether at the Emirates or on the road. This doesn't speak to how good of a goalkeeper he is, but it's brilliant to watch.

It is incredibly difficult to pick between the two keepers at the moment, especially given the love there is for Aaron Ramsdale at Arsenal. But it feels as though every time David Raya plays he pulls further ahead of Ramsdale in that number one spot. His composure and raw quality make him look the part of a goalkeeper in a title-chasing team.

He may only be on loan for now, but Mikel Arteta and Director of Football Edu will certainly be activating Raya's £27m buy clause next season if he continues to perform this well.

Whoever the Gunners do pick as first choice, they won't quite have the same level of fear every time either goalkeeper goes down. They have two elite goalkeepers in their ranks, both of whom will be hoping to start the biggest games of the season, including the title showdown with Manchester City on Sunday.

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