Arsenal opinion – Please don’t call Leno world-class after Olympiacos fiasco

A while ago I was questioned on Just Arsenal for not agreeing that Leno was World class, and last week I said that I wouldn’t place in him in the top three keepers in the Premiership.

The arrogance of some gooners shock me. I wasn’t and am not saying the German isn’t good, I simply don’t overuse the term ‘world class’ as you need a body of work behind you to support your claims.

So, you know how social media goes?
Every time our goalie makes a save I’m reminded on social media that Leno is world class, even though that’s his job which he gets paid thousands of pounds a week to do.

This is not to point out every error (if it was could of written an article about him after home games with Chelsea, Everton, away at Southampton, etc) yet we can’t have it both ways, if you’re calling him World class, that’s the standard I will now base him on.

If he had let an Olympiakos shot slip through his fingers, then I wouldn’t be concerned. That would be a standard mistake and we all as human beings make mistakes. What worries me on Thursday was the 2nd goal we conceded was all about his mentality. I believe you need talent to make it to high level sport but what separates the good to the great is your mentality.

I can name you some of the biggest names who went missing at a major final. I truly believe that if that was a Premiership game Leno deals with a back pass no problem.

Any average weekend he kicks the ball out for a throw in or smashes it up the pitch and we all go home happy. Yet knockout competition takes a different mindset, the line between qualification and failure can be so small. The very best handle that and don’t let it affect their decisions. They back their own ability.

Leno got crippled by anxiety, he feared failure and it crippled him.

It’s not a criticism of him, it’s more aimed at those so reactionary, so quick to tell our players how fantastic they are when they haven’t achieved anything. This wasn’t a World Cup final; this was the Europa League and he bottled it. This was the first time we saw how Leno would deal with the pressure of knock out football.

So next time Leno makes a save say well done but please don’t say he’s world class. Let’s wait until he actually succeeds at something in the sport…

Dan Smith

50 Comments

  1. A J says:

    My personal take on this ……

    Extremely harsh.

    1. GunneRay says:

      It might be a tad harsh but it is also true to a degree. Leno’s inexperience was his downfall. He failed to do the basics and ultimately it was the final piece in the whole puzzle of errors that the whole team made, collectively!

      I also agree that to call him “world class” is undeserved. Most of the team are a million miles away from “world class” status, bar a few.

      1. Diogenes says:

        I have said this before:
        Being excellent at stopping shots is not enough to be a world class keeper.
        Not when other aspects are mediocre – mainly those to do with leaving the goal line and clearing long balls.

        But those are things that can still be improved with good coaching, so let’s wait and see.

    2. Dan says:

      Harsh not to call him World class ?

      1. GunneRay says:

        No Dan, just harsh to insinuate that Leno was responsible for the loss..

      2. A J says:

        No, as per GunneRay.

        Shall we debate wether Auba is world class or not on the strength of a last kick of the game miss … of course not
        ( that was of course split second).

        Life of a striker against that of a keeper.

        Just wish we had seen the game out playing around their corner flags, not playing a sloppy half hit back pass to Leno in the first place (where yes he (Leno ) made a very poor decision).

        Xhaka played it backwards (poorly), where does it stop we could go on regarding a very poor performance.

        For me, we are not equipped to play out from the back constantly… mix it up.

  2. arie82 says:

    Y know
    As far i can remember, all goalkeeper who had/have worldclass status, is never immune to mistake or lower performace sometime.
    As long he dont regulary do what massimo taibi (if y remember him), fulop, almunia, caroll, karius etc.
    Than it fine
    Leno is 3rd best NT germany behind nuer and stegen

  3. Goonerboy says:

    That’s Karma for you, Europa League should be Martinez
    I still cannot get over that Aubameyang miss.

    The whole thing is still so fresh in my mind.

    1. GunneRay says:

      We all know that can happen to the best of strikers. It happened to Henry. Leno had time to whack the ball down field but failed with the basic stuff. Auba had to work quickly. His first goal was “world class”!

    2. Ade says:

      Leno error is so pronounced, he actually caused us the Europa, that critical stage should be when experienced goal keeper come up with many ideas to waste time, we were leading, all we need is to create delay but our own keeper created goal scoring oppotunity for our opponent, I agree with admin, he is no a world class

      1. Reggie says:

        Lenos “error” was to give a corner away. Stop making things up people.

  4. Shakir says:

    Leno is a top goalkeeper and his saves and reflexes are second to none.He has the potential to be world class.

    He is still not very comforatble with the ball thats understandable but i dont think he has a mentality problem.He saved us so many times when the whole team let him down.He may have not achieved many things but he certainly makes top 3 in the premier league.

    He just have to improve on some areas and he will be world class real soon.Mainly being commanding in the box and distribution.But he has improved on those areas and with time he will master those.

    COYG

    1. Dan says:

      This season , probably rank him.8th best in prem

      1. Reggie says:

        No you rank him 8th and while you are entitled to your opinion, it isn’t anything to do with reality.

        1. Dan says:

          Never said it was reality
          Yes this article is my opinion.?
          That’s why it’s called arsenal.- Opinion.

    2. Sean M says:

      Agree with top 3. He’s won far more points than he’s lost.

      Bit of a reactionary article.

  5. GunneRay says:

    I remember Alisson’s debut games for Liverpool. He made some bad mistakes which cost Liverpool some points. However, he has settled in well to become one of the best proven keepers in the world. He learnt by his mistakes and hes now solid and reliable. Leno needs to do the same. Only then will be regarded as “wold class”. And yes, I know he has a great defence in front of him but, the mistakes he makes are not always dependant on any one else!

    1. AY75 says:

      I bet if Allison was our goalkeeper, especially playing behind this defence, we would all be calling him names…. he was second choice to Szczesny while at Roma, remember.

      1. GunneRay says:

        I agree that any keeper needs a good defence too. But Stupid individual unforced errors are not acceptable!

        1. AY75 says:

          The “error” was forced, Aubameyang’s miss, is an example of unforced error…. and like we’ve already mentioned…. any player can make them….. it’s when it becomes too frequent, that’s when we should be concerned… and most would agree that, Leno has saved us a lot more times, than he has cost us this season, and he’s our second best player, after Aubameyang

    2. John Nnagozie says:

      Alison’s mistake has never cost Liv points. Leno has always been error prone since his debut he is top for errors leading to goals in the league.

  6. SY4 says:

    He’s a decent keeper & a fantastic shot stopper. Being a shot stopper rather than a great keeper is not a top team keeper. He makes poor decisions, doesn’t command his box, poor in crosses & doesn’t boss his defence. He has some potential but weren’t these the reasons why his Germany career was short lived. Nothing against the guy but if we sort our defending out – he’s the wrong keeper for us. Until then his stats will make him look world class as he’s super busy behind our porous defence.

  7. AY75 says:

    Okay….. a horrible miss can happen to the best of strikers, agreed, but when it comes to Leno, “he failed with the basic stuff”. It’s not like the “mistake” he made is what directly led to the goal, we had a corner to defend after that, and Luiz chose to switch off again, for the second time in that game, yet you guys feel Leno was the cause of our loss….. Leno literally rescued 3 points for us against Everton, and all you guys can do is bear down on him, whenever he makes a mistake. How many times has De Gea had a howler….. especially last season, but that doesn’t take anything away from the fact that he’s one of the best GKs there are. In my opinion, what really led to us conceding that corner in the first place, was the pass out the back mentality the players still carry. And after the pass was sent to Leno, none of players got into space to receive the ball, before two Olympiakos players came rushing at Leno, and the best option for him there was to put it out of play. If he had attempted to kick it upfield at that moment, it was odds on to bound off the player he was facing, and might end up in the net…. too many players screwed up in that game for you to turn on Leno as the scape goat, and the coach too (I still wonder why Torreira and Martinelli didn’t start or even come on sooner, and Niles too, he was playing well before Bellerin returned). Anyways, we won’t be talking about all of this had we won, and I just hope they’ve all learnt from their mistakes, especially Arteta.

    1. AY75 says:

      I just hope, Lacazette, Xhaka, and Bellerin don’t get to start our important games from now on, unless they show serious improvement coming from the bench….. our frontline should be Auba in the middle, flanked by Martinelli and Pepe….. Torreira has always been the best DM we have since his arrival, he should be the one paired with Ceballos…. and Bellerin, isn’t the player he used to be, perhaps he still needs some time out….. and Niles was playing fine, before Bellerin returned from injury, so….. for now, I think he is still our best option at RB

      1. tony says:

        Why on earth Lacca is getting game time at the moment is beyond me. Falls over claiming a foul, gives away too many free-kicks, gives the ball away too often and seems to have a crap attitude. Xhaka has been a lot better since Arteta started but had one of his games where he forgets he can actually play the game. Niles switches off during a game and thinks he can get by with pace to get him out of trouble. I don’t know why our defence switches off at critical moments during a game – it is something that hasn’t been fixed since the last couple of years of the Wenger era

    2. Dan says:

      Leno made a horrible mistake in Everton game as well
      And yes it’s called game management
      You read the evening
      You sense okay , Only way they can score is by set piece
      Crowd is edgy
      Minute to go
      I’ll put my foot through this
      If we had won 1-0 and he pullef off world class save , you bring it up so why not other way round ?

    3. Gunner P says:

      Arteta bringing on willock, was that a good change? Had he opted for Matinelie, I believe the game would have been sealed b4 extra time. I didn’t notice willock offering anything after coming off the bench. He should be playing in games only when we have a comfortable score line.
      Giving youngstars game time at the expense of the progress of the team, is not a great idea. Tomorrow he will ask for champions league football to extend his contract when other teams come calling.

      1. tony says:

        Totally agree, the only two youngsters that deserve game time at the moment are Saka and Martinelli. Both Willock and Nelson flatter to decieve. Just a shame that Saka is having to play out of position

  8. Dan says:

    All were responsible

  9. ThirdManJW says:

    One cannot define a player based on one split second decision, even if it was a bad one.

    However, I would agree he isn’t world class, but he’s very close though. He’s definitely our second best player behind Auba.

  10. Grandad says:

    Leno is not a “world class” keeper and never will be, but he is a very good stopper and to single him out as being responsible for our defeat is wide of the mark.Individually and collectively we lack quality defenders and defensive midfielders with pace and energy to attack theball.Until these weaknesses are resolved we will never improve regardless of who is between the sticks.

    1. SY4 says:

      Excellent point & agree with your summary of Leno

  11. Innit says:

    Even Buffon, Schmiechel, Almunia and Edwin Van de Sar made mistakes

  12. kondwani tyson says:

    you’ll never understand arsenal fans cause some are in denial, others have manic disorders, others have schizophrenia, others have alcoholic related problems, others have puerperal psychosis etc.., maybe its time for them to undergo occupational therapy and rehabilitation, counseling and anxiety management

  13. A J says:

    Wonder what Chelski think of their fella ? Leno all day long !!

  14. Reggie says:

    Everybody makes mistakes, those who dont are liars and cheats. Lenos mistake led to a corner, the next mistake by whoever led to the goal. LENO is in the top three goalkeeper in the league. Xhaka made numerous mistakes, Bellerin made numerous mistakes, Ozil made numerous mistakes, Luiz made……and i can go on. Mistakes are part of life, everbody makes them, it wether you are lucky or not and how you hide or manage them. What a misguided article.

    1. A. J says:

      Well said Reggie.

      Leno remains a very good keeper, with his best to come.

      (Wonder why Bayern are sniffing ! ).

      It was a “mistake ridden” performance at all levels.

    2. AY75 says:

      My point exactly…… Leno’s “mistake” led to a corner…… the defenders could have done better to keep out the cross. I said it after the game that I wish Mustafi had stayed on…. he’s been our best defender for a while now….. anyways, onwards and upwards….. COYG!

      1. Reggie says:

        The mistake is having Ozil marking a 7 foot central defender and letting him run off him for the first, the mistake is signing players that are 5’10”, the mistake is relying on players that are letting us down week after. Auba missing the chance at the end was a mistake, lettng kronk into our club was a mistake. This club is littered with mistakes and so is this article.

        1. Dan says:

          Reggie , your own words , it’s an opinion.
          An opinion.can’t be misguided ?
          So why need to 3 times attack the article ?

  15. RicSAAlao says:

    I have not watched many games this season, but few I watched, I saw that Leno is not NOW the goalkeeper to depend on. I noticed that he was not settled or alert first few minutes, and conceded. Leading to the team chasing the game, then he started saving crucial shots . By then it either a draw or a loss. That is my observation of his weakness

  16. Jo-Gunz says:

    No one is world class then.
    Khan, Chilavert, Iker, De Gea, Buffon, Becker, Ronaldo, Messi, VVD, D. Silva, Kevin DB, Pep, Zidane, Klopp ……and the rest. Cos they all make mistakes.

    1. Reggie says:

      Yes, ive seen de gea buffon and casillas make some right stinkers, so they are not world class, in this argument.

    2. Dan says:

      Can you list their body of work please
      As in what they have won ….that makes them world class
      I’ll now write Leno . … 0
      So whys it out of order to.say he’s not world class ?

      1. Reggie says:

        Personally i have never said he is world class, ive bee more conservative not rediculous like saying he is 8th in the league because he fluffs controlling a back pass that goes out for a corner.

        1. Dan says:

          Watching Everton game
          List.just came up for keeper errors since last season
          Leno near top with 7 errors
          Since he only joined last season , think that shows there could be 7 better

      2. Jo-Gunz says:

        I am sure no top goalkeeper ever born would win anything meaningful with this crop of Arsenal team. Any goalkeeper put to unnecessary pressure constantly cannot do much.
        Leno to me is a top top goalkeeper. As to world class, well, it will depend on which indicators you look at.
        but if there is anything like world class, then Leno would not be far from that.

  17. Aussie Jack says:

    If this were a pub side he`d get a pat on the back a friendly word of encouragement and a pint stuck in front of him but it`s not a pub side, he`s a professional on a damned good wage and it`s not the first error of this kind he`s made. A teams confidence and performance is not so much based on the glory boys up front as the guy who wears the number one shirt between the sticks.

  18. jon fox says:

    Leno is a fine though not world class keeper and about the best we are likely to get , unless we get an owner who actually CARES, to replace Kroenke, which won’t be happening in any forseeable time soon. For those who have not noticed, we do not and cannot shop at”Harrods”!

  19. RSH says:

    He’s a great keeper, not world class obviously, but has saved us a ton of times this season. But it’s hard to win titles with keepers that cannot hold their nerves. That said, there are SO MANY other areas Arsenal need to correct before we even think about GK position. I’m satisfied with Leno for the next few years if that means we step up our recruitment in midfield and defense.

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