Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta revealed he “regrets” not trusting his instincts to change goalkeepers during games in the past after dropping Aaron Ramsdale on Sunday.
Ramsdale’s run of starting every Premier League game since March 2022 was abruptly ended when he was replaced by David Raya in goal for Arsenal’s 1-0 win at Everton on Super Sunday.
When explaining his reasoning for dropping Ramsdale for the first time, Arteta said he treated the goalkeeping position as any other – even to the point where he has considered changing ‘keeper midway through games in the past.
He said: “It’s the same rationale as to why Fabio (Vieira) and Gabby [Jesus] played – I haven’t had a single question about why Gabriel hasn’t been starting. He has won more trophies than anybody else in that dressing room, including me.
“I want Aaron to react the same as Gabriel Jesus. The same as Kai Havertz, as Takehiro Tomiyasu. Exactly the same. We play with 11 players, not 10 plus one.
“I’m a really young manager, I’ve been in the job three and a half years. I have few regrets, but one of them is that on two occasions, I felt after 60 minutes and 85 minutes of two games in this period to change the goalkeeper in that moment.
“I didn’t do it, I didn’t have the courage to do it. But I’m able to take a winger or striker and put a centre-back on to play a back five to hold on to a result. We drew those games, and I was so unhappy.
“Someone is going to do it, and maybe [people will say] that’s strange. But why not? Tell me why not. You have all the qualities in another goalkeeper to do something, you want to change the momentum, do it.
“It’s a regret that I have. Now my feeling is to get everybody engaged, that they have to play regardless of the competition. That’s my message.
“We adapt to our qualities that our players have, and try to play to their strengths. There are games to do certain things, games to do other things. In my opinion it was really important against Everton, and it was really important to benefit the team.”
Arteta: We played an incredible game
Even accounting for Everton’s difficulties in recent years, Arsenal arrived on Merseyside searching for their first win at Goodison Park since 2017, with a shock 1-0 defeat last season a factor in their title-race capitulation.
The Gunners’ performance in their first victory in Liverpool in 11 attempts was rarely pretty, but Arteta talked up the quality of his side’s showing as they finally put their hoodoo behind them.
He told Sky Sports: “For six years we haven’t won here and there are a few reasons for it. It’s how you do things and the input you do in every single action.
“I think we played an incredible game, we kept them quiet and created many, many chances, The first [disallowed] goal as well should be allowed. We dominated the game and we are extremely happy to go away with a win and a clean sheet.
“I think we took the game into the areas we wanted for long and we were really solid. We gave very very little away. They haven’t created a single chance. It’s about intelligence but also about the fight.”
Dyche: We were miles off it on the ball
Everton manager Sean Dyche added: “We defended in numbers which you have to do against teams like this often – not always, but often.
“We did well on that side of the game but with the ball we were miles off, we gave it away too many times. When you break their play and you counter you have to keep the ball. You have to play with those bits of quality which we never found.”
Asked what his side needed to improve on the ball, he said: “Just the character on the ball. You’ve got to want the ball and you’ve got to use it.
“You can’t just win it back and say ‘job done’. You’ve got to then activate yourself as a team and I just thought that was lacking. If the first pass is wrong then it doesn’t give you a chance to counter and you’re defending again anyway.”