Can Arsenal risk using Runarsson in our FA cup defence?

The Runarsson Dilemma! By Dan Smith

Arsenal are one of several clubs over the years who have adopted the policy of having a ‘cup keeper’. We of course could have had Martinez competing with Leno, which would have brought out the best in both. Leno hasn’t been the same without any competition.

The club yet again prioritised money over what was best for the team, selling Martinez to pay for Gabriel. We then used the 2 million saved by making 55 staff redundant to purchase a goalie that was not even first choice in the French second tier (again the best our Billionaire owner could do?)

You get what you pay for and the mistakes Runarsson made against Man City hinted that the 25-year-old is not ready for this level. If the pressure is too big now, imagine if 60,000 people were at the Emirates?

While us gooners can quickly write off the player, Mikel Arteta cannot. Despite clearly being a cheap option, I assume scouts would have been watching the Iceland International for a while, and therefore wouldn’t give up on a talent based on the short term view of one match?

Our manager doesn’t want to garner a reputation for simply giving up on individuals the moment he doesn’t like what he sees.

Part of his job criteria is teaching players on the training pitch, that’s meant to be his main asset from his days at Man City.

If you include Saliba, Ozil and Sokratis, that’s a lot of money you are just writing off. A top coach gets the best out of his resources.

Ideally when a player makes an error, he wants to play as soon as possible to get that mistake out of his system. The longer you leave it, the more fans talk about it. Runarsson has closed his social media accounts since the Carabao Cup game due to abuse by some ‘fans’. These were probably the same bunch of cowards who in the next breath preach loyalty to the likes of Ozil?


The nightmare scenario is that Leno gets injured and suddenly Runarsson is playing in the Premiership – with his last game being the Man City tie. In that sense Newcastle is not ideal. While I expect the Toon to mostly park the bus on Saturday, they will take every opportunity to load the ball into the box.

While Arteta needs to show man management, the risk is too high. We can’t gamble our FA Cup defence on if a 25-year-old is out of his depth or not. Forget our only realistic chance of silverware, there might be financial pressure to retain the trophy to ensure we qualify for Europe.

In the first lockdown the club stressed that zero revenue from Europe would impact our transfer plans. Nothing’s changed, if anything they have gone longer without match day income then they would have calculated.

The club have just took out a short-term loan so what’s the financial implications if we didn’t have, at minimum, Europa League Football?

Remember when some complained that Mr Wenger ‘only’ finished top 4?

Oh well, at least Mr Kroenke saved money on his manager’s salary.

In many ways the Runarsson saga sums up how our club is run. Our American owner would have loved the idea of getting nearly 20 million for one keeper and only spending 2 million to bring in a replacement.

That’s great business in the short term. Long term though, it will cost you when you fail to meet your targets due to having a lack of quality. And some wonder why I say our owner has no ambition?

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  1. We also have called u Arthur Okonwo (sorry if I mispelled his name wrong). Got a feeling that MA will not risk Leno though. So it is most likely Alex in goal.

  2. I’d prefer a GK from our academy instead. Arsenal should’ve paid more attention to the progress statistics of our youngsters, because they must’ve been monitored since they joined the academy ten years ago

  3. Can’t understand why Arsenal persevered with Macey so long when it was ibvious he was never hoing to make the grade.
    We now find ourselves in a position where we are relying on a second string keeper whose confidence is shot to pieces as being the only back up for Leno.
    Piss poor management i would say.

    1. Steven, I can’t understand Matt Macey not getting an opportunity, given his performances on loan at Plymouth Argyll and Luton Town. Unfortunately he has now signed with Hibernian.

  4. Noooooo! There are better keepers in the National league. He really isn’t up to this level.

  5. Absolutely not, we need a strong team in the only competition we are likely to gain entry into Europe. Why “rest” Leno, he hardly has to run around much.

  6. We need to sign a better back up keeper, not just for cup games, but also in case Leno gets injured

  7. Arsenal need a solid reserve keeper so Runnasson gets the start tomorrow imo. If he isn’t up to it then the U23 keeper will be between the sticks in PL if Leno goes down or, more likely, Edu dips into the transfer market this window for a veteran back-up.

  8. Has Arsenal’s project Runarsson failed as it looked like it could have, after his Man CIty Carabao Cup dismal showing for Arsenal?

    And should Arteta takes a gamble to start him for Arsenal in their Newcastle FA Cup match at the Ems tomorrow, or play it safe to start Leno instead?

    Well, honestly I wouldn’t know. For, it’s up to Arteta as the Gunners boss to decide whether to start Runarsson or not for Newcastle.

    But what ever he’ll decide on to do on this issue, he has to get it spot on that will see Arsenal qualify for the next round of the competition at the expense of Newcastle. Who I am expecting will field their first choice PL team players for the match to give Arsenal a good run for their money in the match.

    I will therefore advice Arteta to first consider playing it safe over taking a risk by taking a gamble. Which if he takes it and it didn’t pay off, he will regret taking the gamble that has cost Arsenal exiting the FA Cup at the 3rd round stage of the competition due the not very necessary gamble decision he has taken.

    But it is not guaranteed that Arsenal will beat Newcastle to reach the 4th round if he start Leno in the match. But nevertheless, Arteta will not be accused by us Gooners that Arsenal got beaten in the match because of his fielding a goalkeeper who isn’t at the high level of the game to start the match for Arsenal.

    To be on the very safer side of things in the match tomorrow, I will advice Arteta to consider starting his Arsenal starting XI team that started the Chelsea PL match at the Ems. But he could start Partey over Elneny or Cebbalos in the midfield. I am sorry Elneny because I want you to start. And Lacazette should start with Balogun preferably to cover for him over Nketiah. Will Arteta gives the nod to Martinelli over the Arsenal captain, Aubameyang to start? Well, I don’t know. But I think Willian should start the match from the bench. While Saka start from the right wing opposite to Aubameyang or Martinelli at left wing.

    That’s all I cam ramble.

  9. I would like to see the players that have a point to prove feature.


    Willian, Willock, Pepe,

    Elneny, Partey,

    Niles, Gabriel, Luiz, Cedric,


  10. Come on this is so naive DijonisinFrance premier league. Last february he was mom in a gamevs PSG in league game and player of that weekend in France. He lost hes spot to goalkeeper who was bought for 30 m.eur to Rennes when Chelsea bought their keeper. Icelandic intern.keeper and had 4 good games and one awful vs City. When hes confidence is ok this is more than good reserves goalie. Be fair and give this man break

    1. Fair point Jon. I shall reserve my judgement of Runarsson until he has at least a few games in the league

  11. If Arteta was willing to play him in a game that, if we had won, would have seen us in another semi final, then why would we be surprised if he selects him for the 3rd round of the fa cup?

    1. Ken, I totally agree with you. Let’,s not coming forget that was during our worst period in living memory when everything was going wrong for us.. Besides we were playing against Man City which is not the case today.

  12. Play Arthur Okonkwo, he is 6’4 and looks to be a real baller. I hope Runarsson never wears the shirt again

    1. Would you think Arthurs quality is enough to play and be voted mom in league game vs PSG in Paris in front of 80.000 spectators?

  13. Simple, Leno…when you look at our poor form, prior to our most recent run, you can’t afford to have a stinker because you put a bag of toys in net…we play Sat, Thurs., then Monday, should be fine for Leno after a week of rest…Runar made Karius look good…it would be different if he was a kid and the bright lights just got to him, but that’s not the case

  14. After all. Runar is getting headlines at the wrong time. To be a backup gk is not easy but at a price tag of his. I do not have high expectations of him but I did remember saying he’s moving here to challenge. If he got the determination not to give up n really use his talents maybe 1 day he can really live up to expectations. He’s still pretty young so that’s a good thing and international as well?

    Btw u editor should really do a topic on the rising transfer fees, salaries n bonuses fees paid to players. It’s always rising to ridiculous amounts while our salaries are always dropping.

  15. I reckon it’s worth a shout going for Matt Ryan from Brighton, PL keeper with experience who’s been exiled at Brighton for some reason. Reckon he’d be more than happy to play second fiddle, Just a thought

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