Is Leno good enough to take Arsenal back to the top?

Last season I felt obliged to point out Leno’s mistakes as some gooners were getting carried away. They had read his reputation as Germany’s future number one and quickly labelled the Arsenal Number One as one of the best keepers in the Premier League.

Don’t get me wrong there were games where he came to our rescue, but claims he was one of our players of the season should be put in perspective when you consider it was our worst League finish in 25 years.

This year though, I’m no longer making the argument that he’s not one of the best goalies in England, I’m making a case that he’s not good enough if we want to return to our previous levels.

At the very high end of competition (that’s where we should be targeting) you rarely win major honours without a very good GK, and for me Leno makes too many mistakes to be considered that.

Understandably he took time to recover from a lengthy injury and maybe even lost some confidence due to the constant comparisons with Martinez, who a section of our fan base didn’t like being sold.

I felt over Christmas, the German refound his mojo but recently the errors have crept back in.

The nature of our comeback on Sunday overshadowed that he was responsible for West Ham’s second, with keepers taught it’s a sin to be beaten at your near post.

The previous week his kicking (meant to be his strength) put Ceballos under pressure which gifted Olympiakos a goal, something he had done earlier in the Europa League to hand Rapid Vienna a lead.

Ridiculous talk of conspiracies and agendas meant he escaped any backlash for deciding against Wolves to charge out of his penalty area and blatantly punch the ball away. To panic that way, with the team already down to 10 men shows a lack of composure. It reminds me of 12 months ago in Europe he needlessly kicked the ball out for a corner which led to our exit.

Those are the biggest mistakes to worry about as they highlight, he doesn’t have the mentality when the stakes are high.

At Anfield and the Etihad he pushed the ball back into the middle when he would have been taught to palm the ball to your side.

He was out of position for Vardy’s header at the Emirates.

Last season I recall mistakes that led to goals for Chelsea, Everton and Spurs.

Simply these are too many for Leno to be considered world class.

If we want to be in the Champions League next season, we have to win the Europa League. That’s a lot of pressure to deal with in the knockout rounds so you need everyone with a strong mindset, especially in a crucial position like who is in goal.

My worry is Leno is becoming unreliable. He could be having a quiet game where we are in control and suddenly, he’s passing the ball to the opponent, charging out of goal or missing a cross.

This isn’t saying he’s not a good keeper, but I am asking is he good enough to take us back to the level we belong at?

To me he makes too many mistakes…

Let me know your opinions?


Be Kind In The Comments



Tags Bernd Leno


  1. No and he is not alone in not being good enough and single handedly a keeper will not take you back to the top.
    Is he good enough to get us in the top 4? With the right, defence, tactics a strong midfield and strikers on form then YES.

  2. For me Martinez should have been our number 1 keeper. Proved himself to be a better all round goalkeeper than Leno. Defenders always looked more confident and assured with Martinez in goal and the results were better as Martinez made the whole team better. This is what a great goalkeeper brings to a football team.!

  3. I was a big fan of EM but would he be classed as good enough to take Arsenal to the next level? Even some of the very best make howlers. Allison had a torrid time recently and the invincible de Gea lost his form and Chelsea spent a fortune and promptly regretted it.

    I understand Dan’s thinking because Leno has not been as reliable lately as he should be. The sending off for handling outside the box was mind bogglingly gormless and costly. Historically Arsenal had some damned good keepers so errors like that make me cast my mind back wistfully

    The club isn’t exactly in a money bags situation either and other positions need attention I’d have thought

    He isn’t a bad keeper

    1. Suep I love your last sentence, he isn’t a bad keeper but he isn’t a great one either, Leno is a good keeper that’s it. I can name at least 5 keeper in the premier league who is better than Leno. He’s decision making is too too poor for a top keeper, this season alone he has made more than 6 errors leading to goal.

        1. I like Pope. But even he was beaten by an Aubameyang pearoller at near post, so atm really conflicted, lol.

    2. Completely agree, even more considering a lot of his mistakes come from trying to play from the back as you would expect from any big team. I will keep saying there was no reason to pick Martinez over Leno as Martinez only had 1 good season at the top level and oyu could not be sure he was going to keep his form. Yes he is much more confident than Leno and that is an important quality for a keeper, but still, Leno has been good and he makes more or less the same type of mistakes than the other big 6 keepers.

  4. Leno is a fantastic shot-stopper like Szczesny, but he’s made too many mistakes in this season. Had Leno been more focused in West Ham, the opposition’s second and third goals shouldn’t have happened in my opinion

    Leno’s erratic performance would likely be caused by the lack of competition at Arsenal, because he was much better when Martinez played for us in EL last season. I think he’d train harder if another GK plays in the cup competitions next season

    1. I think it’s suicidal for any team to try to play back at all costs. We have to learn to play long as well.

    2. Leno, Xhaka and Luis are all the same. Their similarity lies in that they can play a blinder of a game today but tomorrow they betray the team with their performance. either red card offence, and or penalty offence. Not reliable players to have trust in them

    1. True, in errors leading to goals, he is way above the other top 6.
      Play Ryan or bring back Emi.
      Runar had one bad game and all want him out. Leno has 6 errors leading to goals, yet he is the Peter Schmiechel of Arsenal for some. Double standards.

  5. He is a very good shot stopper but his decision making and on the ball talent is absolutely bad. So if we are going to stick with playing from back then he needs to be sold n a better ball playing keeper needs to come in. But if we play to his strength, not forcing him to play from back then he is good enough for me but then the manager will have to change his tactics and philosophy. Knowing Arteta as understudy of Wenger and Pep I don’t think he will, he is loyal to his philosophy and I think he is right about it if you believe in something then you go all out on it. So Leno to be sold it is then

  6. Huge mistake to let Martinez go! Arterta should have been made no. 1 based on the form of last season’s ending, extend his contract and let Leno compete. That way, both keepers would still be with the team. Truth is Leno now doesn’t face any stiff competition for the position. Making crazy mistakes now and then, but then again who else is there to seriously challenge him.

    1. ⁰Leno has great agility making many outstanding
      Saves, however his distribution overall is still very
      Poor .I believe there has been some improvement
      Taking crossess, but his biggest problem is taking
      Complete control of the box . Great keepers let
      Everybody know who the boss in the box is .
      This in turn should be clear even in the stands ,
      And on my bloody big 4k TV.

  7. I think Arteta needs to be brave in selecting his goalkeeper, Ryan should play in the europa cup that will show Leno that he has a serious competition. Even man city play there second keeper in the cup competition. One thing I don’t like about Arteta is sometimes he acts as if he’s scared to make some tough decisions, Leno should have been dropped for Ryan in the europa cup, Last season we were poor in the league under Emery but played well in the europa cup with Martinez, we qualified for the second round when Emery was sacked, immediately Arteta came in, he stopped playing Smith Rowe and Martinez, all Leno needed to do in that match against Olypiacos was to kick the ball forward and we could have won but instead he waited and waited and we all know what happened next, if we had qualified against Olypiacos, we could have gotten to the final. I don’t have anything against Leno but I don’t think we will win any major trophy with him as our first choice.

    1. Good observations, Leno is bringing back painful memories of Almunia, Fabiansky, Mannone, Schnezy, Ospina, Chek eras. Legendary GKs and Leno is etching his name with those.

  8. He keeps making the same mistakes every game, he has cost us goals, he doesn’t release the ball quick enough, his kicking is no good, his span of attention is so low, it’s laughable, and he is third maybe fourth choice with the German national team, only two caps. We have no decent number two to challenge him, so everytime he makes an error, he will still get picked regardless. There is no trust from the defenders towards him and vice versa.

    1. He does not release the ball quick enough for counters, true.
      He cant play the “from behind model.”

  9. Excellent shot stopper but does not command his area at corners and free kicks and stays rooted on his line. On the other hand he scares the life out of me when he’s 30 yards from his goal if we are attacking the oppositions final third.
    As SueP said, he’s not a bad keeper but like and player, has his faults.

  10. Well, most of Leno’s mistakes came from playing out of the back. There are very few goalkeepers out there that are good shot stoppers and apt at playing out of the back. If you look at EPL goalkeepers, only Elderson Of man City is very good with his feet but in terms of shot stopping, he’s not better than Leno. Other EPL goalkeepers have less errors because they don’t play out of the back as much as Arsenal does. It’s not easy to get the complete package like Manuel Nure of Bayern.

    1. Now that comment is a joke ,even if you don’t rate him calling him a disgrace makes you look like a d1ckhead

  11. Leno is our Mignolet.

    To get us to the champions league and beyond, we’ll need us an Alisson.

  12. Leno is a great shot stopper but yhat is where it ends. He cant distribute the ball well enough, he doesnt command his area, he doesnt sort out his defence and he flaps. The decision to keep him and replace EM with runarson was a real step backwards and someones head should roll for it. What idiot decided that was a good move.

  13. I think leno is cool anyone can lose form look at auba…….but we must stand with them let them play oftenly to regain form …look at degea in the past he coinceded as far shots miles away from the post but of recently he has regained form.
    EM is of no comparison to leno….for the fact that him personally wanted to leave then he is a bygone and i think while at aston villa he is successful unlike leno is still regaining form after the injury and the frustration to accomodate us in all games since runnarson did not prove our coach despite being trusted……

  14. My take is that Leno is a VERY good keeper when at his best But he DOES have a distinct weakness with the ball at his feet, when he is too slow, too indecisive and too afraid to kick it long. UIntil th fashion for playing out from th back became so common many keper shas the dame weakness – Cech did – but the change of style has separeted the very rare Edersons from almost ALL the rest.

    As a realist and therefore someone who knows that Kroenke will not saction money on a better keeper, even if we could find an available one, we must make thebest of what is still in most games a very good keeper, who has had an unusually recent poor run.

    I also dislike that he punches rather than catching but which other keeper does not , THESE DAYS!

  15. Considering our defensive woes over the past decade or so, a commanding presence in the box is a far more important factor than being a slightly better shot-stopper…when you’re a club who has been desperately seeking just such a presence between the posts you don’t let them get away, let alone actually sell them to another club in the same League…think about it, we were so thirsty to shore up our Keeper position that we actually overpaid a semi-retired Cech to man the position for several years…it’s indicative of how this organization has bungled things for far too long…when will we ever learn

  16. Despite all the criticisms leveled at our keeper, he ranks as one of the best acquisitions undertaken by the club over the last 5 years. When we compare the cost of Leno to the goal-keeping cost of Chelsea and Man United, the difference is massive. For a long period of time, Leno has been carrying the team on his back and will continue to do so for years to come if we don’t change our style of play and coaching staff.
    How many shots do we concede per game?
    Leno is the least of our worries. Trust me.

    1. What a series of ridiculous statements…talk about lower your expectations…first you claim he’s one of our best pick-ups in the last 5 years…what an achievement for a team that has been piss-poor in that department since Sanchez’s arrival…can you provide me with a list of those other amazing acquisitions, besides Auba

      then you compare our situation to the worst two examples in all of Europe when it comes to poor financial decisions regarding the Keeper position…talk about lowering the bar

      then you have the audacity to say he’s been carrying us on his back…another shocking statement, considering the number of bang average performances he’s put in since arriving and the fact that when he was injured he was replaced by someone who performed considerably better…besides that, would it really be an accomplishment if he was carrying a middling team on his back anyways.

      finally your comment regarding shots conceded on a per game basis…WTF does that have to do with him or frankly anything in the grand scheme of things…your statements are almost as underwhelming as he is with the ball at his feet…thank goodness you’re not in making decisions for the club, or are you?!?

  17. I dont think Leno is a bad keeper. You can count his mistakes but how many of them were forced, or how many of them were due to incompetence of others? The keepers in PL are mostly close, and unless we get a generational talent like Neuer I dont think we can do better than Leno. He has improved his handling, he plays long nowadays, he plays the ball out slow cause maybe the instructions are to draw in the opposition? Also the mistakes that led to the goals are not solely his, like Xhaka and Ceballos share equal, if not more blame in the recent ones, then the defenders should have defended the box well in the Olympiacos game. I agree with the wolves one, pure madness, and the Westham goals, but then again the whole team was sleeping for the 2nd and KT made an error for the 3rd. But even Jens Lehmann made a mad mistake in the CL final, but he was the invincibles keeper and was unbeaten throughout the road to final in 2006. Not making a direct comparision, just saying that even those we consider best have a little bit of madness in them, so I disagree with your comment that Leno cant be trusted in big games or high pressure situations.

    1. How do you mean forced ?
      I would say most have been his fault
      E.g. Her runs out against Wolves and handles the ball

      1. When he plays out normally, the reciever does play out the ball effectively. I have seen Elneny comfortably by pass opposition press and deliver the ball towards the wings or in the middle right at the positions where the errors with Xhaka and Ceballos happened. Offcourse Leno had a hand in both those, but maybe he was accustomed to see the ball go to others from that point. I completely agree on the Wolves one, like in my post too. That was on him, a mad mistake to make considering the situation.

  18. How do you mean forced ?
    I would say most have been his fault
    E.g. He runs out against Wolves and handles the ball

  19. Bernd Leno will be between our sticks next year, but with more competition.

    Leno for me is a top keeper, but yes, not quite as assured of late.

    Mat Ryan possibly signed will feature more, or someone like Freddie Woodman coming in from Newcastle (currently on loan at Swansea).

    The Leno / Emi debate is so tedious.

    Martinez is an excellent keeper, but no-one on here has mentioned his gifting of 2 goals to WHU recently and 1 to Spuds when guess what – CLEARING WITH HIS FEET – ring a bell ?

    Both keepers are top drawer, but mistakes are costly, and always highlighted.

    Life of a keeper eh.

  20. No he lost us too many games this season. Arsenal needs a better goalie. He never actively won any trophies Martinez did. Martinez is better in the air and with ground shots. Under pressure Martinez usually the better kicker

  21. Arsenal should put Leno on the market and see who comes in and at what price. He still is just a shot stopper that’s all. And shot stoppers don’t usually win u much. Check leon’s record

  22. Leno is a very good shot stopper but his decision making when playing from the back is horrendous. I know the tactics is to keep the ball long enough to draw the opponent in this eliminating several players with one pass BUT he is not good enough at that.
    His biggest weakness was handling and he has greatly improved at that but some of the best gk are just not suited for playing with their feet. Confidence is also a huge factor just look at de gea(remember God mode gea) or world class Allison this season.

  23. General point.

    How the game has changed.

    Sell your runner up player of the year, because as a goalkeeper he’s a great shot stopper – but no good with his feet !

    Leno’s game has obviously suffered since demands placed on him to play out from the back, but there are some very very short term memory comments on here right now.

    By the way.

    How’s Auba’s form ?

    How’s Saka’s form ?

    But when it’s your keeper – you know it.

    The player WILL be our keeper next year, and for one I’m pleased with that.

    However, more competition for the shirt is required.

    This guy will return to the top of his game.

  24. yes Leno’s game is riddled with so many mistakes to my dislike…i felt that Arteta had miscalculated in letting Martinez go instead of Leno. At best Arteta should have let Martinez go on loan as he monitors the performance of both goal keepers. you can’t let someone(Martinez) who has won you two of your first trophies a rookie manager go just like that without making adequate analysis….so for me it is Arteta who should be put on spot for being too emotionally blind while making such stupid decisions….

  25. May be we should sweet talk Manchester United to give us one of their top keepers…and as for me every time I see Leno in goal, am just not confident that we shall win that game….

  26. I don’t think he’s good enough for Arsenal. He’s not a keeper who instills you with confidence because he does not come out and command the penalty area. He does not attack incoming corner kicks and watches opposition players heading the ball. His shot stopping is not great either and often fumbles the ball and his worst fault is the way in which he plays the ball out from goal kicks. He often seems to misread the situation and allows the opposition players to pick off his passes out to our defenders. I would have sold him to Villa rather than Martinez who was brilliant for the last part of last season. A very poor decision by Arsenal, whoever was responsible for it!

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