Friday, September 29, 2023

Kai Havertz and Aaron Ramsdale dropped as David Raya gets nod in goal for Arsenal’s Premier League clash at Everton

Mikel Arteta has made two big calls for Arsenal’s Premier League trip to Everton by benching both Kai Havertz and Aaron Ramsdale.

David Raya has been given the nod ahead of the England international, with the Spaniard set to make his first appearance in a Gunners shirt since his arrival from Brentford.

Raya is set to make his first start since joining Arsenal from Brentford in the summerGetty Images

Is Ramsdale’s position as Arsenal undisputed No.1 under threat?Getty Images

Meanwhile, after weeks of criticism for the slow start to his Arsenal career, big-money summer signing Havertz has been dropped.

Fabio Vieira takes his place in the attacking midfield role after a number of impressive appearances off the bench this season.

It means homegrown fan favourite Emile Smith Rowe will have to wait for his chance to impress, with the 23-year-old yet to make a Premier League appearance this season despite his return to fitness.

It’s not often a manager will bench his No.1 goalkeeper, particularly when he is the class of Ramsdale who has barely put a foot wrong and is coming off the back of a start for England during the international break.

The signing of Raya from Brentford – on an initial loan deal for £3million with a £27m obligation to buy – caused a bit of the stir over the summer.

Questions were asked whether a clear No.1-quality goalkeeper would get much game time with Ramsdale already established between the sticks, while some Gunners supporters feared it might upset the dynamic behind the scenes and unsettle the England man.

But with Arsenal due to kick off their Champions League campaign this week against PSV Eindhoven, Arteta may have thought it the perfect opportunity to give his starting glovesman a rest and Raya his chance to impress against lowly Everton.

The Havertz decision was less of a surprise considering the amount of criticism is has faced since his arrival from Chelsea.

Havertz has yet to make an impact at ArsenalGetty

The German forward started in each of Arsenal’s first four league games of the season but managed no goals or assists, with many questioning his effectiveness in Arteta’s system.

Facing winless Everton might have given Havertz a perfect opportunity to open his account for the north London club.

But one person who will not be surprised he has been dropped instead is Arsenal fan Darren Bent, who told talkSPORT his £65m arrival was the worst signing of the summer.

“The two worst deals in the Premier League this season are Mason Mount and Kai Havertz,” said the Drivetime host.

“Mount has had no impact whatsoever and that started in pre-season, but I’d have to say Havertz is probably the worst deal because he’s been given opportunities.

“Mason Mount has been injured, Havertz has been playing every single week.

“Mikel Arteta is continually putting him in there and the performances have just not been there. So far for £65m, no.”

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