Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta looks to have been proven right in his decision to replace Aaron Ramsdale with David Raya between the sticks.

Raya joined the Gunners on loan from Brentford last summer and was preferred to Ramsdale almost immediately, with the Spaniard now very much the undisputed first choice.

Raya was the hero for Arsenal as they edged past Porto on penalties in the Champions League round of 16, with the Spaniard making two crucial saves in the decisive shoot-out. It marked an impressive turnaround from the scepticism that came earlier in the season, when he was struggling to perform at his best and came under fire from pundits and fans alike.

Former Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno was among those to question Arteta’s thinking in chopping and changing his goalkeepers, telling The Times: “You don’t build a relationship, which takes time.

“As a manager I would never change my goalkeeper, to say: ‘Oh, today I need a goalkeeper good with his feet, or one good at crosses’. Or: ‘Today I need a good shot-stopper because we play against Man City and they will have ten shots or something’. I would never do that.”

Raya has certainly answered his critics over the last few months, with the Brentford loanee having excelled in goal since the turn of the year. It is mainly his influence on the ball when Arsenal are building from the back which has made him such an important asset, while his ability to consistently gather crosses is also a massive benefit for the Gunners.

The 28-year-old has long been regarded as one of the Premier League’s best goalkeepers with the ball at his feet, developing his skills while playing futsal in his hometown of Barcelona growing up. Raya boasts a pass completion rate of 72 per cent this season, which is nine per cent higher than Ramsdale managed in the entirety of the previous campaign.

Raya is also more than capable when it comes to saving shots and has shown that he can perform under pressure by excelling in the shoot-out against Porto. He went on to show his ruthless side after the full-time whistle by insisting in his post-match interview that he was not entirely happy with his performance.

Speaking on TNT Sports, Raya said: “I should have saved three! I should have saved the other one, but obviously over the moon to save two penalties in the Champions League to get to the quarter-finals.

“We played a really, really good game from the start, we dominated and created chances but it went down to penalties. We’ve been working a lot on penalties this year, because on nights like this we need to be really, really good. All the hard work with the goalkeeping coach and with the team has paid off, obviously it’s a great moment personally and collectively.”