Can we please forget Martinez and start supporting Leno?

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.


Tags leno Martinez


  1. We’ll support Leno and we all want him to pull his finger out of his mouth and improve. BUT in all the hoopla about his saves and how he was in the running for POTY last season, he was also making a number of bad mistakes in pressure situations. And we must not all allow ourselves to forget how bad he was against Liverpool in the League by reminiscing about his performance against them in the EFL Cup. That’s the problem with some fans who are so seduced by the quality of his saves, they forget that being a good goalkeeper demands much more than that. Solidity, calmness, the ability to read a game situation, and so forth. David Seaman had it in spades, Lehmann was good for the most part, and Martinez during that period showed signs that he had developed it. WHY couldn’t have Arteta guaranteed that he would start the season? That is ALL that Martinez wanted, not to be the undisputed starter. That’s a false narrative. Had he started and flopped he would have accepted that and continued to work, but if he had shone we wouldn’t have looked back. Martinez has left a beautiful impact with us, so there is no way we can’t not speak about him.
    For what it’s worth though Arteta has made it clear by signing Runarsson at a dirt-cheap price that Leno will be his undisputed number one, so it IS Leno’s responsibility to stand up and be counted. We will support him, we all want him to do well, and I for one won’t bring up Martinez. Besides, the season has barely started and I do believe that Leno will grow into it and get better. But that’s the price you pay when you’re at a club like Arsenal.

    1. Comparisons will inevitably be drawn in the short term but harping on in what is a now done and dusted situation won’t help Leno if he is having a crisis of confidence right now

      There was a lot to like in your post

      1. Thanks Sue. Appreciate that. 🙂
        And I don’t necessarily think it’s a crisis of confidence with Leno, in fact one thing for which I will compliment him is that he does bounce back well. BUT he just needs to concentrate more and have some more consistency. That’s the crux of it.

  2. Most Arsenal fans will bite your head off if your voice a different opinion. I used to say Arsenal sold Sczesney and Fabianski so that they can buy Leno. But those two guys are better than Leno. Most of the fans insulted me for saying that. Logical criticism is accepted, but we can’t say that all is well at Arsenal whilst Leno is making terrible mistakes

    1. I understand the point of your article but there are facts that will always have EMI in our hearts. First reason EMI was with us since he was 16. He left his family behind at that tender age to be a gooner. He worked hard for 10 long years without ever courting any controversy. Second reason EMI was patient and always a team guy even when he was not getting chances. When he got chance under Arteta he played like a guy possessed (in a good way). Leno is a great shot stopper no doubt and if we love EMI doesn’t mean we dislike Leno. Third reason EMI was more commanding in the box than Leno ever was, his dealing with crosses, calmness with ball at his feet and his distribution was much better without having to sacrifice quality in shot stopping. Fourth and the.most important reason even when EMI left he did that in a very dignified way having his interview for the fans expressing his love for the club. If we want our players to show commitment to the club then we need to show commitment to our players as well. I understand that we needed to raise funds to improve our team in other areas and that’s understood. However EMI will always have my respect and a special place. What a decent well behaved guy. Personally I will miss not seeing EMI in Arsenal shirt. I hope if we need he can come back and help us become more assured between the sticks.

      1. I don’t think peeps critique Leno because we miss martinez , I think simply Leno’s not playing well
        Some gooners say he’s one of the best keepers in the Premiership(which is laughable) so therefore he’s going to be judged by high standards
        I would say was poor for both goals at City , Liverpool, looked dodgy in air against West Ham and last night was shocking
        Last season off top of my head made mistake for olympiakos and Everton goals
        It’s funny within our fan base how some players it’s okay to criticise but others we can’t ?

    2. But when Leno signed our goalkeepers were Cech and Ospina .
      So not sure where you got that we sold fabianski and sczesney from to find Leno ,I thought they were both long gone before Leno arrived unless I’m wrong

  3. Exactly people have short memories, they forget the times Leno kept us in games with w.c saves, every keeper makes mistakes and that’s the way its always going to be, if a striker miss 3 certain goals but scores the 4th chance nobody mention the misses, but if a goal keeper pulls off 3 World class saves but makes a mistake after which leads to a goal he will be classed as a bad goalkeeper….

    1. Missing the point again..Goal keeping is not just about saves. If it was about saves then why did we get rid of Almunia, Scezney, Fabianski and more. All of these guy could “save goals”. There is more to goalkeeping than reflexes. What about command of the air inside the box? What about being vocal and organizing the defense? what about ability to play from the back if that is the coaches preferred method? We have to be honest with ourselves at some point. We keep making reference to Martinez by this isn’t about Martinez. This is about Lenos lack of ability when it comes to some aspects of goalkeeping. Martinez in his short spell just made it more visible..

      1. well said and will get worse once Marri in on the pitch. Leno’s decisions are uncalled for. Last year he had a howler against Chelsea, just see his last 3 outings. With Vardy around the corner expect more howlers. Hope he can compose himself better on match days

  4. Mani, perhaps you could explain why you know that all Martinez wanted was to start the season as the recognised number one.Do you know him or Arteta personally.No? So you are speculating ?Personally I preferred Martinez, but he is gone and I will continue to support Leno who is a very good keepers who is going through a difficult period.Name me one keeper who has not made mistakes not suffered from a drop in standards ?

    1. Simple. David Seaman. Made a few mistakes, all few and far between, and never suffered a drop in standards while at Arsenal or with England.
      And I’m responding to these claims that Martinez got greedy after that season. Having served a long apprenticeship for 10 years and waited for his chance and grabbed it, he was smart enough to know that nothing in this life is guaranteed. I’m sick of this narrative that he suddenly felt over-entitled and got greedy. He deserves more credit. That’s all.

  5. After 5 EPL matches played, only Villa has conceded less goals than Arsenal. That is a respectable performance from our defense.

    The reason we are still 5th on the table despite our solid defensive performance is our attack. Our frontline needs to start scoring more goals and the MF needs to control games better to reduce the pressure on the defense. Out of the top 10 teams, we have managed to outscore only one team (Wolves).

    Leno should surely improve and cut out the unnecessary errors. But so should every other player in the team. Leno is not the only one performing below par. Almost every member of the team is having a bad game of late.

    But, of course, since Villa is doing better than us defensively atm, the paranoia is always going to be there, especially with the Emi debacle.

    Hopefully, we are not about to have another scapegoat player on JA, now that MO is going.

    1. Unfortunately it seems part of our DNA to have at least one scapegoat at all times. It’s really sad to see where this false dichotomy (Emi good so Leno must be bad) is going. It’s as useful as complaining about Saka because he’s not as good as Gnabry.

    2. OT with an explosive comment from Aubameyang !!!

      it seems that he has also got involved in politics as well!!!
      Here are his reported words:

      “Africa you are my inspiration, my family, my home!!!
      That’s why I carry you on my back!
      I am devastated and heartbroken to see what’s going on in Nigeria, Congo,Ivory Coast so many places.
      This continent deserves better – deserves justice!!

      You are not alone my brothers and sisters, the world is witness!
      I’m sending strength and love to everyone protesting and standing for peace – you do not stand alone.”

      This follows support from the likes of Ian Wright, Alex Iwobi, Ahmed Musa and Marcus Rashford and who could not be moved by the plight in these countries?
      Wonderful words from Pierre i suggest.

      I wonder how THe Arsenal will react though, as they made it very clear they were not happy when another player got involved in politics – the same player who is now saying:

      “Horrible to hear what is going on in Nigeria. Let’s make this a trending topic everywhere.
      My thoughts go out to everyone who has been affected.
      End Police Brutality.”

      Further wonderful words from Mesut, even as he has to deal with his own problems at our club, he thinks of others.

      How I wish more players and clubs took the bull by the horns and stood up for decency – football is nothing compared to this and I hope, this time, our club leads the way and supports the words of it’s players.

      1. Martinez was my choice, but MA felt differently – support the manager and the club – can’t wait for Leno to show his class on Sunday.

  6. This isn’t important now, all that needed is to support all our players than focusing on gone players. Mistakes are part of life, all needed is to learn from them.

  7. “Leno hasn’t been his original self, with errors creeping into his game.”

    He’s been error prone back in Germany and then with us ever since he came. Christ, he was OFFICIALLY league’s worst player in mistakes leading to opponent’s goal in his first season with us. Do you have amnesia? And cups – like how he got us out of Europa last season?
    Also, recognising that he’s a liability and will remain so does not mean that we don’t support him when he plays… Almost every one of you here criticises at least 2 or 3 players. Does that mean you don’t support them when they play?

  8. Thank you, Akinnubi! 👍
    Yes, he had a bad night, but it happens, it happens to the best of them!
    MA wants us playing out from the back. End of. MA and the board stuck with Leno. End of…
    All the times he’s saved us.. and look at his heroics at Anfield not so long ago!!
    The fickleness of football fans….

    1. That’s what makes us fans and most importantly humans, Sue. We are all fickle. It wasn’t too long ago we were all singing praises of kolasinac, we nicknamed him “the tank”. Even you seemed to have a crush on him. Lol. But today, no arsenal fan wants to touch him with a 10ft long pole. Even you have disowned your first love. We are fans, we are fickle. If you play really well today, we will sing your praises, fall tomorrow, it’s bye bye. If Martinez was still here and he starts to flop, the same fans that support him now will still criticise him. I don’t see anything bad in that Sue. That’s what being a fan is. Constructive criticisms though, not personal abuses etc. But it’s unfair to say people can’t criticise a player that had a bad game.
      What I do, if it’s a player I like, like Auba, I avoid conversations that slate him when he performs poorly. I don’t tell people, hey, don’t criticise him. They have every right to. And yes that’s being fickle. Even Jesus had followers that were fickle so who is Leno? 😂😂

      1. Kstix, I haven’t got a problem with constructive criticism, not at all, but it goes beyond that on here all too often. Some of the things said on here make me cringe and do my bleedin’ swede in!! That is what irks me. Some have nothing good to say and still whinge even when we win! So what’s the point?! I find it all draining…
        Come Sunday, if anyone has an off day – god help them!

        1. Yes Sue, no doubt some get extra negative in their criticisms sometimes. I see it too and just ignore the comments. We’ll win on Sunday. The worst is gonna be a draw but I see us winning

    2. Not so long ago he was at anfield pushing ball into play for Liverpool to score
      Did same at Ethiad
      So with last night as well that’s 4 poor games ( poor against West ham)
      Before lockdown cost us against olympiakos , a week before that terrible mistake against Everton
      Near the top last season for mistakes leading to goals

  9. I think we all need to acknowledge that Goalkeepers are far more involved in the game than hitherto, and who knows how the likes of David Seaman, who I admired greatly as a stopper, would cope with the constant demands to play out from the back like another outfield player.Keepers are under more pressure now than they were in the past, and that is a fact.

  10. Playing out from the back does not suit Leno, he’s good at long ball passes but we saw last night how bad he is at the short ball passing out game.

    1. We also saw that playing out from the back is a team sport. I can’t see Arteta being happy with the two hospital passes Luiz gave him. Not saying that to excuse Leno, he was very poor last night with the ball at his feet but he wasn’t helped by poor decisions elsewhere

  11. Oh no.. Why did we allow Henry to retire.. why did we sell VP.. come off it.. our first choice was not to sell Emi.. but the man had demands that the club will not meet and we were left with no choice but to let him go for being a loyal servant and a fan.. he is now a Villa player.. Arsenal could have forced him to stay I guess that is what some people want, to have a player who doesn’t want to be in the team.. Leno is my first choice goodbye!!!

  12. I love Leno and appreciate greatly the times he has been great for us and stood out as MOTM several times. But to put things into perspective. It is not wrong when fans Reminisce on the heroics of Martinez and he being much assuring as our goalkeeper than Leno was despite the fact that he plays for villa now. It is wrong to shut people for opinions they might have. A couple of weeks ago, Phil, Ken and others were reminiscing on how poor iwobi was for us despite he being at Everton now(and playing well too by the looks of it). Nobody came and told them, iwobi is gone, move on.

    When Ozil was frozen out of the team, some fans were on here saying there’s no body better than ozil in our midfield and they don’t understand Arteta’s decisions to freeze him out. Yet when we say there’s no goalkeeper as good as martinez currently in the arsenal team, we get the, “Oh let’s move on, respect the coach’s decision to sell him” even from some of the same people that question why ozil is not being picked? If that’s not double standards. I wonder what is.? If we can criticise kolasinac for a bad game, why can’t we criticise Leno?.

    Imagine for some twisted reason we had sold Tierney and decided we wanted to stick with kolasinac. Won’t this same article author be moaning about how he doesn’t understand why we’d sell Tierney?. Forgetting how great kolasinac was for us when he first joined. Should I talk about mustafi, bellerin, etc and other players that were once great for us and are good now but still error prone? We shouldn’t just shut up when they make mistakes that cost the team points. If that’s what we want to start now. Then I think it’s best we stop criticising any player anymore. Not pepe, Willian, kolasinac etc. Let’s show them the same amount of support we show Leno. I will leave you with a question. Name one time in the 3 months martinez was number 1 that he made a mistake leading to goal or Heck that he made errors that fans came to criticise him for? I’ll wait. Leno made 3 in one game and we should cut him some slack?. I’ll agree to that when we all agree not to ever criticise any Arsenal player or ex player anymore. That said. I still support Leno 100%. I’ll criticise if he makes mistakes like he did last night and will praise him through the roof he makes saves like he did in the efl cup against Liverpool.

    1. This shows that there are still very reasonable people commenting on here. Keep it up..

      ” It is wrong to shut people for opinions they might have”
      I will be as respectfull as possible here but no one will shup me up..No player is above criticism..funny how the same group of people that were the hardest of Iwobi,Giroud and co..and preassign blame to players like Xhaka and Bellerin before the match begins are the same set defending Ozil at every turn and believe that Leno is beyond criticism

      1. Spot on Mark. The double standards is mind blowing. When they criticise those players, you won’t see anyone going to tell them, “come on, move on and support your player”. On match days when we’re playing badly. You’d read the comment section and virtually everyone criticises bad players. I don’t understand why some players are untouchable. Unless we all agree not to ever criticise any player again. Keep airing your opinion mark.

    2. Kstix
      We respond to articles or the headlines at least and then throw in our 2 pence worth.
      A bad team display or questionable tactics brings posts from all ends of the spectrum – being constructive, letting off steam to nastiness too. The sheer number of articles, some of which are very repetitive only exacerbate the problem.

      1. The repetitiveness of articles SueP. Yes we agree very much on that. Do you think anyone would have come out today to start slating Leno again after we’ve moved on from the awful performance yesterday if the author of this article didn’t come out to defend Leno. I didn’t get the point of the article when it says we shouldn’t criticise him when he plays bad. If someone had written an article criticising Leno today, I most likely wouldn’t have commented or responded to it. I just do not like the idea of people trying to suppress other people’s opinions especially when it doesn’t suit them. And the worst part is the double standards on here which I very much dislike.

        I know we all have our favourite players. Aubameyang and now Partey are mine(Gabriel too), but when Auba doesn’t play well and people criticise him, I might not be able to criticise because of my soft spot for him but one thing you won’t ever see me do is tell people not to criticise him because I know they’re right sometimes. I just can’t bring myself to criticise the player myself.

    3. Now THIS is a top post. KStix, well written and well said!
      Every player must be subject to the same extent of praise for doing well and criticism if they deserve it. Let’s not forget the time-honoured adage, you’re only as good as your last game! 👍

      1. Thanks and Spot on. The double standards is bewildering. We are being dictated to, which player to criticise and which players are untouchable

  13. Haha, Arsenal fans can never be satisfied with what we have…… Nobody said you guys should not criticise any player(s) but your mode of criticism is funny because majority of you guys were comparing Leno and Martinez base on their performance and I will call that bias criticism…. Everybody has his own weakness and strength. Leno has been making error since the day he joined us but we criticised him in a fair manner because we haven’t see Martinez played. But after seeing Martinez played, we became blind in seeing what Leno has done for us interms of error and great performance and we became obsessed with him because majority of us believed that as Leno was injured, Martinez would not be able to meet up with Leno performance… But to the surprise of majority, he performed even far more than our expectations to the extent that majority of us believed he was our messiah and he was the one that won the two trophies for us. Sincerely I love Martinez a lot to the extend that I always tell my self anytime Leno make some silly errors, I would say , had it been Martinez is here, he would have safed that ball, but that’s life the guy is no more arsenal player and we should be able to move on and let us criticise Leno on a neutral ground and not comparing him again with Martinez…. The match we lost against Brighton (second) last season, I felt that Leno would have safes that match too…. So both keepers have their strengts and weaknesses, the most important now is to support our current keeper (Leno) and encourage him to work and improve on his weakness. We need to let go of Martinez now and move on, also don’t be surprise, if Aston villa score against us Martinez will jubilate with his team mate because they are the one paying him now and they are the one he is supporting now… Please gunners, let’s forget about Martinez and move on with our keeper, and if he error gets to the stage that we can’t cope again, we can ask for new goalkeeper… Thanks and let’s be united for once….

  14. There are only few goalies with perfect stat leno and emi aren’t part of. Reflex-wise leno is better, one on one emi is better, aerial ball emi is better though there are other qualities l don’t know. But l bliv our goalie trainers made the decision and l bliv it is the best decision. Support Leno he is going to be our number one for long

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