Arsenal squad’s David Raya reaction speaks volumes as goalkeeper gets lucky

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Written By Maya Cantina

Several Arsenal stars embraced David Raya immediately after the final whistle in their dramatic 4-3 victory over Luton on Tuesday. In a clear sign that they back the under-fire goalkeeper, the likes of Gabriel, Kai Havertz, Leandro Trossard and match-winner Declan Rice all made a beeline for the Spaniard.

Raya made two errors that might have cost Arsenal crucial points had Rice not headed in a 97th-minute winner. In a thrilling encounter, he was out-jumped by Elijah Adebayo before letting Ross Barkley’s driven effort through his grasp.

Much has been made of Raya’s presence in the Arsenal team given that he has replaced former first-choice goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale. The 28-year-old was signed in an initial loan deal from Brentford in the summer, demoting the fans’ favourite Ramsdale to No 2.

But Raya’s start to life at Arsenal has not been entirely perfect. Errors against Luton were not the first time the former Blackburn ace has conceded avoidable goals.

Arsenal had to fight back twice against Luton, with Kai Havertz making it 3-3 after Barkley squeezed a shot under Raya. Rice then scored a dramatic late winner to keep the Gunners top of the Premier League.

In a display of camaraderie, some Arsenal players ran straight to Raya to celebrate after the final whistle at Luton. Clips on social media show Gabriel, Havertz, Trossard and Rice celebrating with the shot-stopper in the immediate aftermath of the big win.

Mikel Arteta dodged questions about Raya’s performance after the game. Quizzed on whether he was happy with his goalkeeper’s display, the Arsenal manager bluntly responded: “I am so happy with the team.”

Pressed on whether he had spoken to Raya in the dressing room, Arteta hit back: “I have spoken to all of them, they are all jumping. They are so happy, so I’m a really happy manager today.”

Rice insisted that Arsenal will not get ahead of themselves in their battle for the Premier League title. The north Londoners took advantage of playing before their title rivals and now sit five points clear of Liverpool and six ahead of Manchester City.

“I think you’ve got to take it every game as it comes,” Rice told Amazon in an interview alongside Bukayo Saka. “Obviously, he (Saka) was here last year when they were eight points clear. I feel like we’ve learned a lot as a group, especially with me coming in and understanding the team.

“There are so many good teams in this league this year and anything can happen. It’s just about us, not worrying about anyone else and just keep doing what the manager wants and that’s ticking the games off and keep getting three points each week.”

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