In an era where football constantly evolves, Mikel Arteta’s recent decision to rotate goalkeepers signifies a new chapter in the sport’s development.
As the unexpected switch grabs headlines, Arteta stands firm in his vision for modern football.
This unexpected change has sparked discussions in the football world, with Arteta confidently predicting that such moves between the goalposts will become a regular occurrence in the modern game.
Arteta’s decision to start Raya, who joined Arsenal on loan from Brentford in the summer, over the established Ramsdale seemed to pay off as the Gunners secured a well-deserved victory against Everton.
During the match, Raya had little to do thanks to Arsenal’s dominant performance, and substitute Leandro Trossard‘s exquisite second-half winner sealed the deal.
The Arsenal manager expressed his delight with the team’s performance but appeared somewhat frustrated by the attention surrounding his goalkeeper selection.
Arteta emphasised that both Ramsdale and Raya would be actively utilised throughout the season, revealing his regret at not making similar changes in the past when the team was vying for the title.
“I haven’t had a single question on why Gabriel Jesus didn’t start. He has won more trophies than anybody else, including me, in that dressing room.
“It is something that historically is not done. I cannot have two players in each position and not play them.
“David has tremendous qualities, like Aaron has, like Karl Hein has, and we have to use them.”
The Arsenal manager’s decision to rotate goalkeepers is a clear departure from traditional football norms, where goalkeepers enjoy the status of being an undisputed starter.
He admitted that he lacked the courage to make similar substitutions in the past, a decision that left him with regrets.
In his words, “I didn’t have the courage to do it, but I am able to take [off] a winger or a striker and put a central defender back and go to a back five to hold that result. And we drew those games, and I was so unhappy, and someone is going to do it, and maybe it [the reaction] will be: ‘That is strange. Why?’ Why not? Tell me why not. You have all the qualities in another goalkeeper, and you want to do something to change the momentum, do it.
“It is a regret that I have and my feeling is to get everyone engaged in the team. They have to play regardless of the competition. Do it. That is my message.”
When asked about how he expected Ramsdale to react to losing his place as Arsenal’s established first-choice goalkeeper, Arteta emphasised that he treated all players equally, stating, “The same way as Gabriel Jesus, the same as Kai Havertz, like Takehiro Tomiyasu. Exactly the same. We play with 11 players, not 10 plus one or sometimes with 10 or nine. Exactly the same.”
Arteta’s bold approach to goalkeeping and his willingness to challenge the conventional thinking in football highlight the ever-evolving nature of the sport.
In an era where tactics, strategies, and player roles are constantly changing, it appears that goalkeepers are no longer immune to the winds of transformation.
As Arteta rightly puts it, “Why not?”
In a game as dynamic as football, where success hinges on innovation and adaptability, his decision to rotate goalkeepers might just be the start of a new trend in the beautiful game.