Martinez Vs Leno- Who’s Your Number 1? By Dan Smith
Arteta didn’t need to hear an interview Martinez gave in Argentina to know that he’s in danger of losing his keeper. As a former player himself, our manager will understand the desire to play and hunger to maximise your career.
There’s a saying that when a team has a poor result at a weekend, it means no-one can knock on their bosses door the following Monday asking for an opportunity. Well, Emiliano’s situation is the opposite.
It’s not Leno’s fault he got injured, and let me clarify Leno has done nothing wrong to suggest he should be dropped. Yet in Sport (sometimes in life) It’s not how you get the baton, it’s what you do when you get it.
Is the baton just too hot for you to handle? Can you carry it a few yards before dropping it? Or do you do what the Argentine did, and shock everyone by how well you do at taking that baton and run with it.
The opportunity never would have existed if his teammate hadn’t got injured at Brighton. He knew that this was it, his one chance, maybe his only chance, to prove to anyone he could compete at the highest level. At the very least, this was a chance to advertise his ability to other outfits, showing them that he was better than someone constantly loaned out to random parts of the world.
It’s been suggested that Leno’s injury might be slightly more serious than first thought, meaning that at least for the start of the season, Martinez will get his wish and have even more game time at the Emirates. Yet eventually everyone will be fit, and a choice will have to be made.
In my opinion you can’t drop Martinez on current form, what message would that send to the rest of the dressing room? No different to if your third-choice striker suddenly went on a goal scoring run, you would see how long it continues; Martinez should be between the posts till he does something wrong.
Is that harsh on Leno? Ruthless even? Yeah …. but I like that and for too long the Gunners haven’t been ruthless enough. Arteta should not do what’s best for either man, but what’s best for Arsenal. Give us the best possibility of winning the next fixture. At the moment that’s taking advantage of a player’s momentum.
Leno is a professional and will understand how sport works. It’s easier to explain to Leno why he needs to bide his time, rather than telling someone playing so well why he’s back on the bench.
I’m not suggesting long term that we change who our number 1 is, I’m maybe suggesting you make it clear to both that one doesn’t exist?
Create competition, a healthy rivalry because again the team will be the one that benefits.
They say form is temporary, class is permanent. That’s the next thing for Martinez to prove. For the first time he’s got some spotlight, some buzz, the media suddenly wants interviews with him. How does he now cope with that expectation?
The hope is he will become even better if he has Leno breathing down his neck. Then when Leno plays, he will want to be better than before to earn back his spot. There are enough games where you could go back and forth between the two for the whole campaign. One starts in the League, the other the cups and then alternate.
Without sounding arrogant, we should qualify out of the Europa League group stages, so that’s at least a minimum of 8 games in Europe. Combine that with our history of a run in the domestic cups and you can promise both goalies plenty of minutes.
Long term, there will always be the pressure of cashing in on one. Especially when you don’t know when you’re getting match day revenue and when you’re sacking 55 staff. From a business point of view, those above Arteta will always look at an asset that is not being utilised, while rivals will know we have a very good keeper as a sub.
In the short term though, Arteta can say the right thing to keep both keepers happy and use competition to help the team.
Who Would Be Your Number 1. Martinez or Leno?
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