An unneeded call for Leno’s support by Akinnubi Oluwamuyiwa
On 20 June 2020, Arsenal’s season looks to have taken a huge hit when Bernd Leno went down after being challenged by Maupay, and it was confirmed later that he’ll miss the rest of the season. The unfortunate incident brought about an enforced change in the No. 1 spot with Emi Martinez, who had been the understudy, moving up to fill in for Leno in the starting XI.
Martinez, before Leno’s injury, had played some games in cup competitions but didn’t really stand out, and most fans were rightly skeptical about how he’ll perform now that he’s the last hope to rescue our season.
What followed was spectacular performances which changed the mind of many fans, who thought he should be no. 1 instead of Leno (who had been a shoo-in for POTY alongside Auba prior to going down vs Brighton).
Martinez, sensing that it wouldn’t be easy to get the no. 1 from a proven performer, agitated for a move in the summer and eventually moved to Aston Villa with Arsenal getting much needed money to further strengthen the club.
Things have looked good for Martinez since then, with Villa enjoying a perfect start to their PL campaign, but unfortunately for Arsenal Leno hasn’t been his original self, with errors creeping into his game.
While criticism of his performance could be justified, I don’t think the newfound tendency of using Martinez as a means of criticizing Leno is just the best way to go about it, with the “I told you so” already in full flow.
Like it or NOT, Martinez is gone and won’t be coming back anytime soon (might NEVER be back), so the best thing is to support the player on our books and leave Villa fans to support their players. Leno is ours and what he needs during this period is our support, so that he can get back to his best quickly. Wishing to be justified in this case won’t help Arsenal if Leno continues like this, then we would be looking behind us instead of looking ahead, and if there’s anything that makes a player regain his form quickly it is the support, beliefs and positive energy he gets from the fans of his club.
We supported Leno before his injury and subsequent emergence of Martinez, surely we can support him again? Martinez form can no longer benefit or affect us, but Leno’s form will define our season, so it’s a no-brainer to support him. Let’s stop trying to look for justification and “I told you so”, support your player and leave Villa to support theirs, our allegiance should be to Arsenal and the players.
PS: A shout-out to Pepe and Luiz who both reached 50 appearances for the Arsenal, the two also combined for our opening goal last night. Pepe has also been directly involved in 20 goals in his first 50 matches (not the best of course, but NOT the worst either considering the irregularities of his starts and uncertainties of last season).
Onward and upwards hopefully.