Raya’s form ‘really impressive’ since joining Arsenal – Arteta

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Mikel Arteta has defended David Raya after his errors contributed to two goals for Luton Town in Arsenal‘s 4-3 win at Kenilworth Road on Tuesday, and added that the goalkeeper’s form has been “really impressive” since joining the north London club in the summer.

Raya, who has controversially replaced Aaron Ramsdale as Arsenal’s No. 1 goalkeeper this season, was at fault for both Elijah Adebayo and Ross Barkley‘s goals in the second half before Declan Rice‘s stoppage time goal earned all three points for Arteta’s team.

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“If you look at his form and what he has achieved since he’s been with us is really really impressive,” Arteta said.

“I have three great goalkeepers and I’m really happy. I have great wingers. Some of them are on the bench but there’s no questions related to them.”

Arsenal travel to Villa Park to face Unai Emery’s in-form team on Saturday and Arteta said he is expecting his league leaders to face a tough game.

Aston Villa, who put in a dominant performance in their 1-0 victory over champions Manchester City on Wednesday, are up to third in the league. They have won 14 straight Premier League games at Villa Park and have also qualified for the knockout stage of the Europa Conference League.

Arteta praised the job that former Arsenal manager Emery is doing at Villa Park in his news conference on Friday.

“I think you have to give huge credit to them and Unai and the coaching staff,” the Arsenal boss said.

“They are going to be a tough opponent and it is one of my favourite grounds… [It’s] no surprise. I have followed him since he was coach of Almería and what he has done at every team is remarkable.

“He has always improved the players, the team and the club. He is Basque like I am. I really admire him. I am really happy for him.”

Arteta will not be on the touchline for the match, with the Spaniard serving a ban following his third booking of the season.

“I think I am in the directors’ box, I don’t know, it is a discussion we will have later on. But let’s see, hopefully I will have a really nice view,” Arteta said.

Arteta said Thomas Partey would not be available for selection, but added that the midfielder was recovering well from his thigh injury.

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