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Arsenal legend criticises some of Mikel Arteta’s decisions and team approach

Arsenal legend Jens Lehmann has criticized some of Mikel Arteta’s approaches this season and questioned his handling of some key players

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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta
Image credit: Getty Images

Arsenal legend Jens Lehmann has expressed bewilderment over Mikel Arteta’s decision to replace Aaron Ramsdale with David Raya as the club’s first-choice goalkeeper at the beginning of the season.

Ramsdale, 25, joined Arsenal in a £30 million deal from Sheffield United in 2021 and appeared to establish himself as the club’s number one goalkeeper under Arteta, making 78 appearances across two seasons. However, last summer saw the arrival of David Raya, 28, on a season-long loan from Brentford, leading to Ramsdale’s unexpected demotion.

Despite initial struggles and scrutiny over Raya’s performances, recent errors, notably in Arsenal’s victory over Tottenham, have reignited the debate surrounding Arteta’s decision.

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Lehmann, a key figure in Arsene Wenger’s ‘Invincibles,’ remains puzzled by the move, questioning the logic of replacing a consistent English goalkeeper with a relatively unproven Spanish counterpart.

Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale

Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale (Image credit: Getty Images)

“The ‘keeper is the most important position in the team,” Lehmann stated in an interview with The Daily Mail. “If you have a good, brave English keeper at a big English club doing well and then you bring in a Spanish guy who has never played for a big club at that level – it just doesn’t make sense.

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“The ‘keeper is the most important position in the team. If I were Ramsdale, I don’t know how I would react because it’s not easy at that age. When you’re older, it’s different.”

While acknowledging Arteta’s positive impact at Arsenal, Lehmann stressed the necessity for the club to secure trophies consistently to maintain its status as a top-tier team. He pointed to their cautious playing style, contrasting it with the bold approach of the ‘Invincibles,’ who famously went unbeaten in the 2003-04 season.

“They’re very different to us [the Invincibles] in their approach – much more cautious and slower with the ball,” Lehmann remarked. “If you’re too cautious in football, you can’t win trophies. Most of the time, the bravest teams win the league.”

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