Congratulations to Arsenal-reject Emiliano Martinez on reaching the World Cup Final

A lot can happen in two years ….

In June 2020, many Gooners were worried when Bernd Leno was injured at Brighton, many questioning if our second-choice keeper had the mentality to handle the pressure of playing for Arsenal at a time we needed to win the FA Cup just to qualify for Europe?

That understudy was named Emiliano Martinez, a player who at that point had been an employee of the Gunners for a decade, being loaned out on 6 occasions.

One of his few first team appearances for his parent club was a League Cup tie at Reading where he conceded three in the opening half hour, the second a shot he horribly palmed into his own net.

If he didn’t have the strength of character for the Carabao Cup, how would he now handle an extended run of Premier League football?

The rest as they say is history.

Two years later, the Argentine is preparing for the World Cup Final, a tournament that Leno didn’t even get called up for.

Ex-players tend to say once a ‘Gooner always a Gooner ‘.

Therefore, if I’m saying well done to Giroud this week, it’s only right I highlight the rise of Martinez.

Many foreigners will say they love the badge, yet when the 30-year-old says it, I tend to believe him.

He moved to North London as a teenager and essentially grew up at Arsenal.

Perhaps the most famous aspect of our last FA Cup victory was Martinez’s tears at the final whistle, showing how much the moment meant to him.

In that Final and the Semi Final before it, he had produced (at that point) the two best performances of his career. One against Man City, the other Chelsea

What became obvious was he had a presence about him, he brought calm to the defence in front of him, something Leno never did.

Leno was one of those players some Gooners wanted to believe was better than he was, and would never admit otherwise out of feeling that a supporter can’t say anything negative about the club they love.

The German made too many errors to play at our level, hence why he’s moved to Fulham.

Very soon, fans stopped checking when he would be fit because he wasn’t being missed.

That summer though, it left our manager with a conundrum.

The consensus is Martinez wanted to sign the new contract offered to him, he just wanted assurances that he was now our number 1.

You can understand why having been on the bench (sometimes not in the squad) for over 10 years, now having got the baton and ran with it, Martinez didn’t want to go back to being 2nd choice.

Arteta always maintained he wanted competition between his two keepers to bring out the best in each other. Simply put though, the Spaniard didn’t believe in giving out guarantees.

In hindsight both parties must have regrets.

Could Martinez have believed in himself more where he didn’t need that kind of assurance?

His ex-boss must also see the irony that 12 months later he would spend close to the same amount we got from Aston Villa to bring in Ramsdale?

Ramsdale’s been brilliant for us, but Martinez must wonder ‘what if?’

Leno made so many mistakes in Arteta’s first full campaign, Martinez easily would been picked ahead of him.

As Leno struggled and Arsenal finished in their worst position in quarter of a century, our ex-goalie was sensational at Villa Park.

He deserves credit for walking away from his comfort zone and proving he belongs on this stage

He’s made a reputation for being a spot kick expert, famously making 3 saves in the semi-final of the 2021 Copa America.

Some don’t like the antics he uses to put off the taker or his gestures to the crowd when they fail to convert.

It might be one of the reasons he believes neutrals don’t like Argentina and will be routing for France this weekend?

It’s not true ….

Martinez is the perfect example of what happens when you never stop believing in yourself.

He’s sat on benches in League One probably thinking he would never make the Arsenal first team.

He didn’t make excuses or blame anyone.

He kept his head down and battled.

Yet when he got his opportunity he took it, he was so good, people had to take notice.

We have won 14 FA Cups in our history.

He hugely contributed to one of them.

No one can take that away from him.

He told Arsenal he was better than the bench and went and proved it elsewhere.

I remember his emotional interview he gave after the 2020 FA Cup Final.

He told a story of leaving South America a boy.

He looked his parents in the eye and promised them that one day he would return with a medal to put in their hands.

That story became real life.

Next week he could return home with the ultimate medal …. he could be a World Champion!

Good luck Martinez

Dan

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43 Comments

    1. Could say the same about certain Gooners ?
      I have read In last two weeks alone , Mbappe wouldnt get in this team , we are practically unbeatable , Arteta is a great manager and should we thank the Koronke’s lol

      1. Well, I was never worried when Leno was unfortunately injured. Emi was never given a chance because someone (Not Mr. W) hired Leno for a very decent fee not matching his capabilities or abilities, as was the trend then, just like we did for Ozil, Laca, Xhaka, (until Mikel redeemed him)Mustafi, etc. etc. and before that someone hired another CFC reject for some 10M quid to stand between the posts and he turned out to be the perfect agent for them in our squad. Then came the financial hit and we had to “honor” someone’s contract of 18M wages for doing nothing worthwhile on the pitch, so Emi had to make way to balance the books. Leno had no intention to move, neither would he fetch us 18M, so Mikel was left with no choice to let him go. Good luck to Emi, I was his fan when he donned our colors, may he lift the cup, I still feel for him and want the best for him.
        And regarding the senseless debate of Mbappe, Dan who would you kick out Marts or Saka? Both stars made great by Mikel, they are our lads, our DNA, both shinned for their countries for the WC, both are our shinning stars. Would you disrupt the chemistry of the team? Why did Mr Wenger fail in his latter years? Because he destroyed his legacy of hiring guys on big wages, big egos, big big baggage and not forgetting the big big transfer fees. Mr. Wenger was exciting to watch when he groomed young lads to be household names. Rest that debate of Mbappe, we currently do not need him IMO, as the team is flying without him.

        1. Spot on mate, twas a sad thing, good thing things are looking up for him now. I always wondered why such a good keeper wasn’t playing. The little moments I’ve seen him in an arsenal shirt, he’s been brilliant.

    2. he will win the world cup….

      signs are there…..from game 1 to current, helping Argentina to win

      Messi winning the world cup would achieve legendary status

      last chance to milk him

    3. He knows his worth, he just wants to be noticed now.
      A lot of top players have sort attention in one way or the other. Don’t be mad about it.

  1. In retrospect, it was a mistake to prefer Leno over Martinez, but I don’t blame Arteta for making that call. He had to show support to the senior player. Anyway, it’s worked out grandly for Emi and he’s justifiably at a world cup final, which I’m afraid to say that I hope he’ll lose at. Nothing personal, he seems a nice enough bloke, but this is Europe v South America and I really love French football, and they have the player of the tournament in Griezmann.

    1. I don’t think he really favoured Leno, he just wasn’t ready to say martinez was clear number 1 at the time.
      I fully agree with the article that both arteta and martinez could have some regrets as I think martinez would have pulled clear of Leno over the following season, but i think it’s worked out well enough for everyone in the end (except Leno)

    2. Your dreaming as usual worlds best player since pele is going to beat this french team good team and like the French but uts messi final .

  2. Never bought into t “no guarantees to start” from Arteta or any manager.

    Xhaka in previous years walked into the team. Ramsdale is not looking over his shoulder at Turner. Odd he always starts but Emi couldn’t?

    White plays if healthy, let’s see if Tomi gets to challenge anyone.

    It’s not an attack on Arteta, just this false narrative managers throw around as if it actually happens.

    They are hired and fired based on results, so of course certain players walk into the lineup regardless.

  3. Basically with his performances Emi has proven just how clueless Arteta is at spotting talent.
    And Emi was right to leave. Given the quality of his performances that season and the aura he exuded, he had every right to expect 100% confidence rather than the pithy 95% he was promised. Arteta was basically taking the Mikel!
    I am so proud of Martinez for how he’s driven himself to be at the top of his field, and I DO hope he wins, not least because of Lionel Messi too. And IF he wins, he will prove that he is without any doubt the BEST goalkeeper in world football today.
    And to those salty fans who say, “I hope he fails,” or, “He’s become a big-time Charlie,” He’s EARNT that right to be a little smug but he will ALWAYS have a place in our hearts, and rightly so. HE could have been our new David Seaman, and all we can do is continue to think about what might have been.
    Buena Suerte, Emi!

      1. He s been awful the last 12 months ,yes he’s got to a poor WC final but his Club performances have been terrible.

    1. THAT “CLUELESS” MANAGER HAS US FIVE POINTS CLEAR AT THE TOP!!
      IMAGINE WHAT HE COULD ACHIEVE IF HE WERE NOT SO “CLUELESS”.
      And just imagine how well you could write IF ONLY you had an intellect.

      1. He also took us to our worst finish in quarter of a century that season
        So yes it was a mistake to trust Leno

  4. Enough with this bs acting like Martinez is the best goal keeper.dude makes alot of mistakes as we’ve been seeing in the league. World cup ain’t a measuring stick to me.

    1. The article simply said he was better than Leno…….
      World Cup kind of a big deal
      If we are a fanbase who call 5th progress , we can’t then look down on the…..World Cup lol

  5. The injury to Leno gave Emi a kick start to a run in the team and he passed the test with flying colours. I was at the time disappointed that he left, feeling that he had proven himself the chance to start over a recovered Leno.
    That didn’t happen so off he went – under priced – but then he’d had limited first team chances.
    I think both Ramsdale and Martinez are similar in quality and neither IMO are the world’s best

    1. I concur SueP. For me Leno had far to many mistakes in him. Even in club football in Germany and when he first played for the Vaterland he was error proned.

  6. I always like him at Arsenal and he should have been made number one over Leno which I felt was the wrong decision, but that is in the past, good luck to him I prefer if France win as all this hype about it being Messi’s WC is an insult to all the teams who have played in the world cup, it is a team effort not an individual, Wenger was right about the Balon D’or, football is a team game

  7. I’ve never been a fan of Damian Martinez the person.every time I see him,his picture,it always screams ‘fake’ to me,then again I could be mistaken.

    1. Certainly “reject” is an emotive and incorrect description for a player who faithfully and loyally served the Club, until he transferred to Aston Villa for the first choice goalkeeper position.

  8. Shame about the headline . Martinez was never rejected by Arsenal, he just didn’t want to stick around and fight for the number one spot (which he probably would have won). It’s worked out for him though so power to him.

    Not sure Arsenal has any regrets either. I certainly don’t lose any sleep over it I’ll take Ramsdale over Martinez any day of the week.

  9. Would we have been in a better spot today, if Martinez had been kept on and as our no. 1 keeper?
    Not very likely.
    Would he be a good fit for our young team?
    NO!
    So it has worked out very well for both him and Arsenal, that he was let go.
    Good decision.

    1. I don’t understand why you say no with such emphasis – he’s a good keeper who had a noticeable, positive effect on the team when he was here. He’s now won the world cup, being one of the players of the tournament, so he’s clearly a high class goalkeeper.
      I think it’s worked out well enough for us without him, but it doesn’t mean we wouldn’t be just as good, or better, with him.

      1. The NO, is because his profile doesn’t fit into our current project with building a young team for the future.
        He is a good keeper, but just not a fit for our team in the future.

        1. Still don’t see it AndersS – not every player has to be young, and he’s a good ball playing gk who fit in well with our playing style

    1. All I see is a guy that loves playing game, doing well and wining, every moment he is enjoying playing.

      Not really very nice to call someone a knob when you don’t know them.

      By you logic every time Arsenal players celebrate a goal then they are a bunch on knobs.

      Really did not expect this from you Dan.

      1. Actually my misses called him a knob ,I called him a prat .
        You think holding a trophy by your nether regions and thrusting like a 5year old was a good look ?
        Throwing the ball away and also doing some weird looking shoulder dance was a good look ?
        And yea if an Arsenal player celebrated like that I would also call them a Prat .

  10. Firstly…..congratulations Emi…you are some goalkeeper. Miles better than Leno was. Not just a shot stopper like Leno. Now you have proved to the world you are a TOP goalkeeper. Brilliant.

  11. My guess is Arteta knew Martinez was better than Leno but wasn’t brave enough to make the bold decision of selling Leno and keeping him.. He was playing it safe especially given the mood of the fans back then..

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