How Arsenal's win over Porto put final nail in the coffin for £30m Gunners signing

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Arsenal are in celebratory mood after progressing to the Champions League quarter-finals, but it could signal the end of the road for one Gunners player

You could argue that it was a perfect illustration of Aaron Ramsdale's time in an Arsenal shirt; the moments of shot-stopping sublimity, the inexplicable and entirely needless howler, the cupped ears at the the final whistle giving it large to an away end of doubters.

On Saturday evening, the England international was parachuted into Mikel Arteta's starting XI as David Raya watched from the stands, ineligible to face his parent club, Brentford. By the interval, the justifications behind the Spaniard's summer arrival at the Emirates had been wholly vindicated. With his side a goal to the good, Ramsdale hesitated for too long on a back pass, stuttering for a split second that allowed Yoane Wissa to close him down and deflect the goalkeeper's attempted clearance into a waiting net. Kai Havertz would eventually pop up late on to snatch a deciding strike, but Ramsdale's blushes were only partially spared.

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From the moment that Raya was brought in all those months ago, it was achingly apparent that for all of the conjecture and the suggestions to the contrary, he was Arteta's de facto number one. Indeed, so far this season, Ramsdale has been restricted to just 11 appearances across all competitions, and just half a dozen in the Premier League.

What that means is that when he is handed a chance to prove himself, the pressure and scrutiny surrounding his performance becomes immense. Saturday's error was a bad one, but given the context within which it was made, nobody can claim to be overly shocked by it.

Equally, it served to validate Arteta's distrust of a player who cost Arsenal £30 million less than three years ago. The Spaniard wants his side to play a certain way, to build with patience and certainty from the back. Ramsdale does not look to be the goalkeeper for that system.

By contrast, Raya came back into the side for the Gunners' midweek Champions League nerve-jangler against FC Porto, and looked every inch the returning hero. Solid and reliable throughout, a brace of saves in a subsequent penalty shootout sealed a damningly good showing with a folkloric flourish. A penny for Ramsdale's thoughts.

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To look at Arsenal's remaining fixtures this season is to wonder whether the 25-year-old might have played his final game for the club. After all, with the Gunners now solely focused on their Premier and Champions League campaigns, and with Arteta evidently preferring Raya in those weightier moments, it is quite easy to envisage both Ramsdale's watching brief and his probable summer exit.

But if there was any lingering confusion over the state of Arsenal's goalkeeping situation, these past few days have gone a long way towards dispelling it entirely. Raya is Arteta's man, and his display against Porto illustrated exactly why that is the case. Soon enough, his loan move from Brentford will be made permanent, and with it, so too will Ramsdale's deputy status.

Tuesday night, in many respects, was likely the final nail in the coffin for his time at the Emirates. Barring some kind of minor miracle, there is no obvious way that Ramsdale reclaims his crown from Raya between the sticks. It might be a shame, but it's just the way it is.

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