Paul Merson claims ‘major mistake’ has put Mikel Arteta ‘under pressure’ at Arsenal

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Paul Merson has weighed in on the goalkeeping debate at Arsenal after a questionable David Raya incident.

Paul Merson has issued his verdict on the David Raya-Aaron Ramsdale debate at Arsenal. Mikel Arteta surprised many when he secured a loan-to-buy deal for then Brentford goalkeeper Raya despite Ramsdale largely impressing last season.

It only took a matter of weeks for Raya to displace Ramsdale as Arsenal’s Premier League number one, but he hasn’t exactly taken the step up in his strike. The Spaniard has made mistakes early on, and he made another in Saturday’s draw with Chelsea, stepping off his line early to allow Mykhaylo Mudryk to score a mis-hit cross.

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The errors have only added to the debate, with many criticising Arteta for strengthening a position that - arguably - didn’t need strengthening, even if the Spaniard clearly feels otherwise.

Arsenal legend Merson has now had his say on the situation, telling Sky Sports: “I’m a great believer in not fixing something that isn’t broken. With his handling of the goalkeeper situation, Mikel Arteta has put everyone under severe pressure. He’s put himself under pressure and he’s put David Raya under pressure. That was another major, major mistake at Stamford Bridge.”

Speaking about Raya’s struggles, he added: “It’s different for a goalkeeper at a top club. The pressure is well and truly on when you play for a big club like Arsenal week in, week out. Everything you do is put under the microscope. On the other hand, at a club like Brentford there’s very much the mentality of you win a game and you lose a game. At big clubs everything is magnified, and Arsenal is a big club.

“Raya is a good goalkeeper, but he’s fallen behind the eight ball. He’s going to find it hard to get out of this dip in performance, especially with everything he does being analysed. Arteta will have looked at all the stats and Raya’s stats are good. However, it’s why all the players that are picked for England are at the top sides.

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“You see it all the time when people make a case for a player playing at a team lower down the league, but that’s why Gareth Southgate sticks with players at the top teams. They play under severe pressure every week.”

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