- Mikel Arteta was booked for his touchline celebrations after the late win at Luton
- Aston Villa are on a 14-game winning streak at home ahead of Saturday’s clash
- It will do Arsenal no harm at all to have Arteta out of sight at Villa Park – It’s All Kicking Off
Mikel Arteta continued to back David Raya as the Arsenal goalkeeper faces criticism for his most recent error between the sticks, with the Gunners boss fielding questions ahead of his side’s trip to Aston Villa on Saturday.
Arsenal take on an Aston Villa side on a 14-game winning run at home, breaking their own record from over a century before, having beaten Manchester City 1-0 on Wednesday night.
The Gunners came back from 3-2 down to beat Luton 4-3 in the 97th minute of the game, after Raya had twice let in soft goals for the hosts to take the lead from 2-1 down.
Coming to claim the ball from a corner after the break, Raya was left flapping under the cross allowing Elijah Adebayo to head home into an empty net.
The Spanish goalkeeper was then at fault for the hosts’ third as they took the lead for the first time, with Ross Barkley’s shot aiming straight for Raya, only to find a way beneath his body and into the back of the net.
Mikel Arteta voiced his support for David Raya at his pre-Aston Villa press conference on Friday
Raya flapped at a corner, allowing Elijah Adebayo to head home from close range
The on-loan stopper then allowed Ross Barkley’s effort to squirm beneath his body for the third
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After facing questions on his under-fire goalkeeper, Arteta however remained steadfast in his support for the Spaniard, and instead claimed that he faces no questions about those left out in other positions.
‘If you look at his form and what he has achieved since he’s been with us it’s impressive. I have three great goalkeepers and I’m really happy,’ he said.
‘I have great wingers. Some of them are on the bench but there’s no questions related to them.’
Raya’s arrival at the north London club sparked questions on the future of English goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, who had starred for the Gunners in his two previous campaigns in between the sticks.
However, since being dropped early in the season Ramsdale has been called upon only once – and then only when Raya was ineligible to face parent club Brentford.
Arteta will not be on the touchline for Saturday’s clash with Villa, which could see the hosts cut the gap to the Gunners to just two points at the top with a win.
Arsenal were the last side to beat Villa at home, all the way back in March, needing a bizarre 93rd-minute own goal to make it 3-2 as they chased the Premier League title.
The Spanish boss was handed a yellow card for his touchline celebrations on Tuesday night, and seemed to suggest that he was not the only Premier League boss to be overly expressive in the dugout.
‘We are but I think we have a boundary,’ he replied when asked if he was allowed to celebrate goals. ‘Or maybe we need a very strong rope to keep us near the bench. When I say we I mean all of us!’
Arteta will not be on the touchline for Saturday’s game after picking up a yellow card at Luton