HomeArsenal: Walcott criticises Raya for Porto's goal

Arsenal: Walcott criticises Raya for Porto’s goal

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Theo Walcott has questioned David Raya’s positioning for Porto’s late goal against Arsenal last night, comparing his goalkeeping to the standards you might see at grassroots level.

Raya was beaten by a curling strike from Galeno in stoppage time as Arsenal lost 1-0 in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie.

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At first glance, it appears a wonderful strike from the Brazilian winger but former Gunners winger Walcott felt the goalkeeper could have done better.

He told the BBC’s Football Daily podcast: “I train my little one for grassroots – and that goal was like a lot of goals you see at grassroots level from certain distances and the keepers get lobbed, it was sort of like that – the goalkeeper is too small for the goal.

“Raya has done really well but I have to question that [positioning] – especially at the highest level, the Champions League, that’s the difference. 

“If Arsenal want to be the best, I would be disappointed with that [goal].”

Despite the late setback, ex-Arsenal right-back Lee Dixon is confident Mikel Arteta’s men can turn it round at the Emirates and progress to the quarter-finals.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live: “All the stats back up what everybody’s saying about how dominant Arsenal were, but the scoreline is the scoreline, they will be disappointed.

“As always, you put it into perspective and say it’s not glass half empty or half full – it’s half-time. There’s still a lot of work to do, but I’d be gobsmacked if they didn’t beat Porto in the next game at home 3-0.”

Arsenal’s starting XI had made just 16 appearances in the knockout stages of Europe’s elite club competition and Dixon believes a lack of experience showed on the night.

He added: “European Champions League football is different to the Premier League and sometimes it sneaks up on you.

“I don’t think it’s self-belief, the team is in such brilliant form, you’ve got loads of confidence.

“The experience thing is a big thing in Europe. Every team you play in the Premier League you know how they play…but when you go into Europe, until you actually play in the game, you feel the tempo in the game, in the body, it takes a little bit of time.

“They should’ve won the game last night, they were a little bit blunt at the top end of the pitch, but the overall performance, that’s what Mikel Arteta will be talking about. That goal [for Porto] has really livened the tie up.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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