Raya on Golden Glove: "It’s a collective thing"

As far as debut seasons go, David Raya’s is right up there. A title challenge, a first taste of Champions League nights, penalty shootout heroics and clean sheets galore.

As he poses for photographs with his Premier League Golden Glove trophy, the silverware is secure in the safest hands in the division, as is David’s place in history. His name now sits alongside goalkeeping greats such as Petr Cech, Edwin van der Sar, Ederson and Allison, who also recorded the most shutouts in a campaign.

However, David’s achievement is made all the more impressive given he sat out the first four games as his switch from Brentford was agreed, plus our two fixtures with the Bees. Despite this, his 16 clean sheets from just 31 outings saw him crowned the campaign’s top goalkeeper with weeks to spare.

Where David's achievements rank in club and Premier League history

Upon receiving the trophy, David is struck with a mixture of huge pride and a little bit of awkwardness. He believes his defence also deserve some silverware for helping him record so many shutouts, and he is quick to give them their dues for being so watertight.

“Clean sheets are a weird one because obviously goalkeepers get the praise but it’s a collective thing,” he said. “I’ve always said we start defending from the striker and end up with me, the goalie, but I think everybody has their targets and that’s the biggest thing that could happen to a keeper.

“For me, it’s a collective thing, but the trophy is for the goalie so one of the nicest things you can have. It’s just incredible to leave your name there for the rest of the history of the Premier League. It’s something special that I’ll never forget.

“I didn’t aim for it, I just wanted to leave my mark here. I wanted to start playing as soon as possible, compete and be part of this great football club. Down the line, we just started keeping clean sheets and going higher up the table. I didn’t think about the trophy until someone said I was top of the standings.”

David Raya high fives William Saliba

To highlight his point, David isn’t even the player with the most clean sheets in the division this season - that is actually his teammate William Saliba, who has played in all 18 games where we stopped the opposition from scoring in 2023/24.

It shows how superb our whole team have been at keeping the goals out, especially given David’s late arrival in the summer transfer window, leaving him little time to gel with his new teammates. But a clean sheet on his debut at Everton in September was a sign of things to come, and the Spanish international is proud of how swiftly he and his backline have dovetailed.

But how did they manage that? “Conversations behind the scenes and relationships that you get on and off the pitch and in training," he suggested. "The relationship with the back four is one of the most important things in the team, and especially for a keeper to have that trust in the back four and vice-versa. I think the relationship with the back four is exceptional.

“The character is incredible, it’s unbelievable. We have had sticky patches and every club and every team has them during the season but we bounce back every time and try to be better every day and try to improve from our mistakes.”

David Raya catches the ball against Liverpool

As we fight for the biggest prizes in the game, it always seems like our biggest match of the season is on the horizon, allowing David no time to contemplate his achievements.

The same goes this weekend as we tackle Everton hoping to get the win that could cap David’s season with the ultimate prize. But when the dust settles, he admits he’ll finally allow himself a moment to look back on a highly impressive first year as a Gunner.
“During the season you don’t reflect that much because you have two or three games every week and you have to focus on the next day, the next training session, the next game,” he added. “Our time to reflect is when we break up for the summer.

“You start thinking about everything that has gone and what you can learn and improve, what you’ve done right and wrong, and what you achieved. I think that’ll be the time to decide if it was a good or bad season.”

With a shiny new trophy on his mantlepiece and a place among the pantheon of Premier League shot-stoppers, David’s choice seems simple.

Press play on the video above to see David chat more about his first season at the club, his favourite save and what it’s like to have Gooners behind his goal.

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