Over the last two seasons, since Raya’s promotion to the Premier League with Brentford and Ramsdale’s transfer to Arsenal from Sheffield United, the pair have become two of the best in their position in the competition. Both possess the confidence, composure and technical ability to perform the high-demanding role of a modern goalkeeper.
Ramsdale has a few years on Raya, with the Englishman turning 25 in May while the former Brentford 'keeper, who rose up through the ranks of the Blackburn Rovers Academy, turns 28 next month, albeit still young for a goalkeeper.
Statistically, there is little between the pair, both starting every Premier League match of the 2022/23 season and becoming integral to Arsenal and Brentford’s successful respective campaigns.
Ramsdale kept an impressive 14 clean sheets last season compared with Raya’s 12, while the former conceded 43 goals in the league last season, just three fewer than Raya’s 46.
Where differences can be found is in the number of saves made, Ramsdale totalling 95 stops across the campaign, significantly fewer than the 154 stops Raya was forced to make for Brentford, 10 more than any other 'keeper in the division.
This is further shown through the duo’s save success percentage, with Ramsdale at 68.6 per cent, while Raya’s ratio is 77 per cent. Of course, it is important to consider the context of their teams last season, with Brentford more likely to face more shots than the ball dominant Arsenal.
The Spaniard again stands out when looking at how active each 'keeper is, with the Madrid-born Raya making over double the number of high claims (52) as Ramsdale (22).
An integral aspect of Arsenal’s philosophy and recent success under manager Arteta is their emphasis on controlling the game and keeping possession in every phase. Because of this, a goalkeeper who enjoys the ball at their feet and is effective in build-up is essential.
This is another area that Raya thrives in, and it is one of the reasons why Arsenal moved for him. The 27-year-old had 1,882 touches last season compared with Ramsdale’s 1,276 touches. Furthermore, Raya completed 1,475 passes, of which 1,047 were forward, with Ramsdale completing 1276 passes, of which 572 were forward passes.
Ramsdale v Raya 2022/23
|Passes into final third||234||384|
|Passing accuracy own half||91.8%||86.5%|
|Passing accuracy in opp. half||22.5%||37.%|
|Clearances (inc. punches)||34||20|
|Shots on target faced||137||200|
|Save percentage (in box)||66.7%||71.4%|
|Save percentage (out. box)||75.9%||86.5%|
|Clearances (inc. punches)||34||20|
Raya himself spoke about this in his first interview since joining Arsenal and cited the club’s progressive style of play in as being one of the key reasons why he wanted to make the move.
“I’ve seen Arsenal a lot for a lot of years and since [Arteta] came he has made a massive difference to the style of play and to the club. The way the team plays out of the back, being confident and taking possession to the other team is the main thing why I fit in perfectly.”
It remains to be seen how the game time will be split, although with Arsenal back in the UEFA Champions League for the first time since the 2016/17 season, as well as both domestic cups, there will be plenty of opportunities for both 'keepers to get minutes.
Arteta himself spoke about the importance of having strength in depth and options in every position in a recent press conference, saying: “I have to try and have the best possible squad and the best possible balance.
“That’s not something you can isolate just with the goalkeepers because if I talk to you about what the full-backs feel with each other or the centre backs or the attacking midfielders, I’m telling you there is no difference at all.”