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How Arsenal should line up for 2023-24 season: Mikel Arteta must be brutal and start David Raya over Aaron Ramsdale



The Gunners have recruited smartly this summer, but it’s now down to their manager to be brave and select his best team

Arsenal could not have done much better in the summer transfer window. Mikel Arteta identified his key targets early on and, David Raya aside, three were integrated into the squad in time for pre-season.

The early signs suggest that that trio of new arrivals are all going straight into the starting XI. Jurrien Timber adds extra ball-playing and versatility to the defence, Declan Rice is one of the best defensive midfielders around and Kai Havertz could be transformative if Arteta can unlock his mercurial talent.These fresh faces complement a unit that came shockingly close to ending the club’s wait for a Premier League title last season – something that was inconceivable when the campaign began. There will be no element of surprise this time around, with Arsenal pretty much universally tipped to challenge at the business end of the table.

GK: David Raya

It’s hard not to love Aaron Ramsdale. A few eyebrows were raised when the Gunners spent £30 million ($38m) to bring him to the Emirates, on the back of successive Premier League relegations with Bournemouth and Sheffield United, but the Englishman has risen to the challenge over the past two seasons, becoming a firm favourite with the fans in the process.

Football is an unforgiving game though, and Arteta has shown typical toughness in pushing the club to sign Raya this summer. It might seem heartless, but expect to see the Spaniard usurp Ramsdale as Arsenal’s No.1 this season. The numbers don’t lie.

Raya registered the best save percentage in the Premier League last season and also comfortably bettered Ramsdale’s post-shot xG minus goals allowed numbers – the latter being the most reliable, numerical indication of shot-stopping ability.

The data also suggests Raya is a better distributor. He completed 39.3 percent of his passes over 40 yards last campaign, while Ramsdale only managed 25.4%. In addition, Raya is a superior ‘sweeper keeper’, averaging more offensive actions outside his penalty area than Ramsdale.

All of this points to the same conclusion: Ramsdale’s days as the Gunners undisputed No.1 are over. He will still contribute, with Arsenal primed to play more games than they have previously under Arteta if all goes to plan, but Raya is likely to start more Premier League matches.