Arsenal’s last-gasp goal puts them five points ahead in the Premier League title race, but the goalie scandal persists.

Right now, things at Arsenal appear to be nearly ideal.

The youthful, gifted players seem eager to win the team its first Premier League championship since 2004. The soft underbelly that has dogged the team in recent years appears to have been addressed by manager Mikel Arteta, and the majority of the supporters are now persuaded to believe in the process.

With their thrilling 4-3 victory over Luton Town on Tuesday, Arsenal showed off their new look to everyone and extended their lead in the standings to five points.

With a headed victory in the 97th minute, Declan Rice sealed the three points and set off wild celebrations among the players, staff, and spectators.

Actually, the old Arsenal might have very easily lost the game. Although the stands are tiny, the fans are close to the ground and generate a cauldron-like environment that Luton’s players normally respond to, making Kenilworth Road a daunting venue for players to visit.

However, even in tough situations, most of Arsenal’s players held their own and showed a potential mindset that a contender has to have.

However, the dramatic victory does conceal a clear problem for Arsenal—one that is mostly self-inflicted.


A conundrum in the objective


When the season began, the team acquired goalkeeper David Raya from Brentford, where the Spaniard had shown promise.

Given that Arsenal already had Aaron Ramsdale as its number one player, the signing caused a stir among soccer fans worldwide.

The England international was a popular among the supporters and appeared to be a key figure in this exciting new chapter at the club, at least on the outside.

Even though Ramsdale didn’t do anything wrong, Arteta replaced him early in the season as the league’s first-choice goalkeeper with Raya. It’s a choice that hasn’t proven beneficial yet.

At best, Raya’s form has been dubious. He has already committed a great deal of errors, and on Tuesday against Luton, he was responsible for two goals.

He was unable to grab a corner before Elijah Adebayo could head the ball into the open net, proving to be too feeble for Luton’s second goal of the evening. The host seized the lead in the second half when the Spaniard allowed Ross Barkley’s attempt to wriggle beneath his body.

Luckily for Raya, Kai Havertz quickly equalized, and Rice’s victory lifted him out of a precarious situation that would have put more strain on both Arteta and him.

Raya’s qualities are without question. Before moving to the Emirates, he was highly sought after by other elite teams due to his exceptional performance at Brentford. He belongs to a new breed of goalkeepers who are often quite at ease with the ball at their feet—a skill that is more valued in today’s game.

However, Arteta’s management of the goalie position and his snide remarks in response to press inquiries about it have put Raya and his backup under a lot of strain.

Ramsdale may have been taken aback by the decision, but he has remained upbeat—at least in public—since being left out of the starting lineup and appears to get along well with Raya, prioritizing the manager’s goals over his own.

However, when called to replace the ineligible Raya at Brentford last month, the Englishman himself appeared unconfident, committing errors that could have easily resulted in a goal.

Both goalkeepers are obviously out of form and finding it difficult to handle the pressure, which presents Arteta with a clear dilemma in a department that, at least on paper, appears to be quite strong.

When questioned about Raya’s performance following the match against Luton, the manager declined to give a thoughtful comment, which may indicate how much he’s suffering with his choice.

When Amazon Prime questioned Arterta about Raya, she said clumsily, “I am so happy with the team.”

“I’ve talked to them all, and they are all hopping about, they’re so excited. Today, I’m a really content manager.

Is this the year at last?


Disregarding the goalie controversy, Arteta has good reason to be a very pleased manager.

Rice, his second summer acquisition, has improved Arsenal’s midfield greatly. The Englishman gave the club steeliness, even if he had a quieter game against Luton. The team has been waiting years for a player like him.

His late goal and the celebrations that followed demonstrated how cohesive this Arsenal squad is and how committed the Gunners are to taking the league title away from teams like Manchester City and Liverpool.

To be honest, a lot of people are still skeptical about Arsenal’s ability to maintain this form for the full season, although this is largely due to a string of disappointing results in recent memory. For instance, Arsenal led Manchester City by eight points in the previous campaign but ultimately came in second place, five points behind.

When questioned about his team’s title credentials, Rice told Amazon Prime, “I feel like we’ve learned a lot as a group.”

This year’s league is filled with excellent clubs, so anything may happen. We should just care about ourselves and not worry about others.

The next three Premier League games for Arsenal will provide formidable obstacles. On Saturday, it will visit the formidable Aston Villa, followed by home matches against Brighton and a trip to Liverpool.

This Arsenal squad will have persuaded more people that this may be the year that it finally silences its skeptics if it survives those games.


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