Spanish goalkeeper Raya is making his debut on Merseyside as the Gunners look to end a torrid winless streak at Goodison Park that now stretches back some six years.
The 28-year-old joined on a £3million season-long loan from London rivals Brentford last month that includes a £27m option to buy next summer, with Raya having penned a new contract at the Gtech Community Stadium before departing.
So far he’s been firmly behind regular No1 Ramsdale as Arsenal’s back-up option between the posts, with the England man starting all four top-flight matches this term as well as the Community Shield victory over Manchester City at Wembley in August.
Eyebrows were raised when Arsenal initially signed Raya with Ramsdale firmly entrenched as their top ‘keeping option, but Arteta stressed at the time that he wanted two quality options in each position heading into a season where they are looking to repeat their surprise domestic title push and also compete for glory in Europe on their return to the Champions League after a six-year absence.
It was thought that Ramsdale and Raya would rotate the starting berth for different competitions eventually, though that process seems to be starting a little earlier than expected with the latter in from the start at Everton.
Asked by Sky Sports if he had changed his No1 ahead of kick-off at Goodison or if this was the “new normal” for Arsenal, Arteta said: “I think I mentioned it that we wanted to build a squad with two quality players in each position, with different characteristics, and we have got that now. And to maximise that they have to play games, and we have a lot of games coming up now.
“And we have the same with other players that we have rotated and there will be a lot of game-time in the next few games.”
Arsenal’s other notable change to face Everton from the side that beat Manchester United in dramatic fashion before the international break comes in midfield, with summer signing Kai Havertz replaced by Fabio Vieira.
Quizzed on that selection, Arteta added: “We always try to put the best possible team to start the game.... we believe that today was better to start that way and we have a nice balance in the team.”