Leno needs to improve – but Arsenal fans need to support him

WELL, IT WAS JUST ONE SHAKY PERFORMANCE, BUT OMG LENO! by Funsho

Most of the Gunners’ players on the pitch on Saturday were off colour, but when Leno came to collect that 2nd half header, there were so many players in his box, so it was probably not as easy a catch as it looked to those of us watching on T.V. He initially got his hands on the ball, but then dropped it and lost control as West Ham continued their attack.

Talk of a heart-in-mouth Kepa Arrizabalaga moment, eh? If not for blocks here and there, ‘the Arsenal’ would have conceded from that passage of play. The Hammers will lead 2-1, and we’ll have to chase the game… Well, it was just one shaky performance, right? Wonder what your blood pressure reads, every time a cross went into Arsenal’s box and you sensed the keeper could be in two minds (as he always tends to be) on whether to catch or punch it. Sighs! And for that performance, 5/10 as assigned in Admin Martin’s rating for our numero uno goalkeeper seems fair, doesn’t it? Well, it’s just one shaky performance!

To be candid, this is not a time for blame-shifting. So, no need to say ‘I told you so’ here cos we need to support our number 1 goalkeeper now that Emiliano Martinez has been sold (hope that money will be re-invested in new signings soon), but Bernd has to fix up big time. He may not get away with such a mistake (as described above) against a better side like Liverpool next week. And by the way, selling Emi made sense, not only business-wise, but you don’t want to have a disillusioned player in your dressing room after he’s made his expectations about getting more playing time crystal clear.

Add to that, you can infer from the manager’s pre-match press briefing that MA didn’t want to give Martinez a blank cheque that says: ‘you’ll get more playing time in the league/the cups’, as he wants all players to compete for a starting spot without him having an obligation to play someone who’s undeserving of playing, or who may not suit his winning formula for a match. Senor Mikel– what a highly cerebral football animal! Arsenal’s need for money in the transfer window is another reason why selling Emiliano was a no-brainer. And now that all our eggs are in the Bernd Leno basket (well, it’s just one shaky performance!), the onus is on him to improve as we say: FAREWELL & ALL THE BEST FOR THE FUTURE EMI-a true gooner indeed.

Well, it’s just one shaky performance; some might say, “come off it! your logic is not logical cos you’re trying to crucify Leno for one mistake that didn’t prove fatal in the end”. Really? Isn’t it better to guard against another Loris Karius 2018 champions league final moment in the future by operating on Leno’s achilles heel (i.e. claiming crosses, decision making and calmness under pressure) ASAP? Look, if you think this writer is just taking a cheap shot at Arsenal’s 2nd best player of the 19/20 season cos of one average performance, please read these excerpts from a previous article on JA posted a week or so ago:

“As a side note, MA, Inaki Cana and others will do well to coach the errors out of Leno and calmness into him cos ‘dude is like a keg of gunpowder.’ Excellent shot stopper, but like Mustafi, a mistake waiting to happen. You can tell Emi is a talker and a calming influence behind the defenders.” So, my opinion on Leno’s shortcomings is steady.

In addition, the time may also be right for gooners to pipe down on the “best goalkeeper in the EPL” sticker they’ve pasted on Bernd Leno. He is an EXCELLENT SHOT STOPPER (will likely save 7/8 of 10 shots he faces), but only good/very good in other aspects except for area and/or aerial command, where he’s average at best. He will need support and not social media abuse, and in order to prevent the likelihood of him suffering the same online fate as Mustafi and Xhaka, expectations on how good he really is must be toned down. He saved this team a lot under Emery (cos he was facing 31 shots versus Watford, and that’s his area of strength) but he’ll likely make more mistakes in the nearest future, and if your expectation of him is realistic, you’ll have no need to tweet abuse at him online. For instance, thinking Leno is in the same bracket as Ter Stegen, Neuer, Buffon, Oblak, Allison, Kahn, Dida, etc., is just self-deceit of the highest order. Even “mad Jens Lehmann” only had few moments when he went really ballistic cos mistakes were not common place with him. Leno, on the other hand, is not as steady, but appears to have a lot of self-doubt and indecision about some aspects of his game, where he may be lacking a little something–not ability, just the know-how and consistency of execution. Well, it’s just one shaky performance, isn’t it?

Ultimately, get to work Mikel! Get to work Inaki! And what’s the name of that set piece specialist from Brentford again…ehm Georgson! Fellas, please get to work. Earn your money before this bomb explodes in our faces at the worst possible time like the Europa League quarter final (second leg) in G, EPL season run-in or any other such time when the pain will be unbearable. And to you Bernd: Keep working; a massive collection of gooners’ supporting voices will be cheering you on-hopefully. You can improve on your weaknesses, and show your true class in the Barclays Premier League knowing fully well that world class goalkeepers are made of much more than shot stopping material. You can do it bud!

Really appreciate you reading along,

Funsho.

71 Comments

  1. ThirdManJW says:

    Really harsh being negative about Leno. I think it was only his second game back after a long layoff, and lets not forget, he’s easily been our second best player since signing for us, some would argue, our best player. I have lost count how many times this guy has won us points, and kept the scoreline down when we were getting battered.

  2. Labass says:

    Thanks bro for this article. Let’s support Leno guys

  3. Shortboygooner says:

    This is utter ubbish. Sorry leno was the best player bar auba last season. He has just come back from injury. Lets be realistic if you haven’t played in months and used your body after a severe injury you would be a bit shake too. Its a pointless article IMO and its this kind of semi negative stuff srsenal does not need. BOOO!!

  4. Eddie says:

    Good one Funsho, people really think I’m against criticizing Leno, which isn’t true.
    The point is you can actually criticise someone without having to build up another person while beating who you’re criticizing.

    “Leno needs to be more commanding in his box”

    “Leno isn’t even half as good as Martinez is when commanding his box”

    Do you see the difference??
    What I’ve seen the most is the second statement.
    Nobody would say they never wanted both GK, it was a touch choice that was taken.
    We have a very good GK, let’s appreciate that and push for him to become more better.
    I don’t think he’s in the same class with Neuer and Oblak yet, but he can only grow.
    Happy for Martinez, happy for Leno

    1. kev says:

      The thing is if people judged players at their actual ability they wouldnt bash them as much as they do. Is Leno good enough?? Obviously he is as long as he doesnt make many errors. However, why do people act like he was expected to be world class or something?? Leno has always been a great shot stopper but never world class. He’s still the same he was at Bayer Leverkusen but in a better team. He’s never been commanding in the box and can make poor decisions at times. I wanted Arsenal to keep Martinez so that we will know if it was form or class because if it was class then he is clearly the better keeper. Now that he is gone everyone has no choice than to support Leno. There arr criticisms but there are also petty attacks just to satisfy agendas. Now we will probably have to deal with it all season. A shame really

      1. Eddie says:

        Martinez would have to prove himself over there at Villa, while Leno will have to keep proving himself here.
        I love Martinez, but logic and fact says Leno was the safer choice.
        There are lots of what its in the situation, that I don’t wanna go into.
        But Goodluck to both GK

        1. kev says:

          I do agree when you say logic says Leno was the safer choice because we couldn’t tell if Martinez was form or class. However, imo I never wanted any to be sold. Martinez’s form was so good that it was worth keeping him and making him first choice. It has been ages since I saw a keeper of ours so assured. Not even Cech or Sczcesny when he first came in looked so assured and calm. There’s always been something shaky with our keepers over the decade. Now that he is gone there is no choice than to support Leno.

    2. zamind says:

      The article says Leno is very good at shot stopping but weak in the air, decision making(playing from behind), not commanding(the defenders)
      in the box. He is a poor communicator.
      I dont see anything wrong with the article. Leno
      needs to be couched to improve on his weakness, before costing the team.
      The defence was always under pressure last season when he was in goal, the mid may have been poor, defender poor, but a good gollie will improve the defence by being audible and warning them of dangers.

      All said he can be a jewel of a gollie if he improves on his weakness to add on his strength.

  5. Grandad says:

    The flak aimed at Leno after his shaky performance against West Ham was predictable, and the salt was rubbed into the wound following upon the impressive debut of EM for the Villa.The dust will take time to settle and I have no doubt that Martinez will drop a few clangers during the season.Every GK makes mistakes and always will.The trick is to limit them to the odd blunder rather than to make errors on a regular basis which is happening at Man Utd and Chelsea where the present incumbents cost a fortune and are on huge wages.Of the three, I know which GK I would have and he is the one in the Arsenal shirt. Leno is a very fine keeper who had a bad day at the office.Time to forget Martinez who it should be remembered failed to impress previous Managers sufficiently to make him their number one.Leno is our GK and I am de!fighted he is.

    1. Sue says:

      Nice one, Grandad

    2. Siamois says:

      I cannot wait for the return of fans in stadium and see how Martinez performs with a full stadium!

      1. ACE says:

        Sadly it wont be for a few years

    3. Atid says:

      I think certain players involvement changes the way other players perform, it certainly has an effect on confidence and assurances.

      I have yet to see kolasinac have a decent match in the back 3. His selection there immediately changes the whole focus of the keeper and fellow defenders, it makes the the wing back on that side Les cavalier and means the central midfielders also fail to express themselves. I don’t want to point the finger at kolasinac, but arteta should pick up on this and only select kolasinac in the wing back role. For me he is 4th choice left wing back just ahead of tolaji Bola but would be be behind McGuiness and Ballard for a place in the back 3

      1. Siamois says:

        Who did you want MA to play instead of Tierney as LCB? certainly not AMN surely?

    4. RicSAAlao says:

      @ Grandad
      I would not understand what contexts this ”who failed to impress previous managers” you are referring. But that may not really, really, really be true. Him going on loan was to accommodate those who were ahead of him. Petr Czech and David Ospina were already experienced internationals and Emiliano was being loaned to keep him competive and developing, that is, to get him ready, and that was why other keepers were sold, Vito Mannone, and Fabianski. THEN, came Emery who was to bring ”his own men in and sell those he met” that was the argument in support of Emery.

    5. Tom says:

      Spot on Grandad
      he is ours and the earlier the fans realizes this the better it will be for the team morale.

  6. FoSulli says:

    Martinez saves penalty on his debut, can’t help but think we will regret selling him

  7. Goonerbeall says:

    I am disappointed to read this article. Leno is a good ga
    goal keeper and usually failed by unstable defenders. Goals he concedes are mainly defending errors or those he could’nt do anything. Let’s not go on about him. He is a stable lad who can be marvelous with a better defence as that we are installing.

  8. Simon says:

    Leno needs to buck up, he needs to stop all these mistakes… Martinez excudes calm, especially for aerial balls…. I hope he doesn’t hunt us

  9. Adajim says:

    Now that Xhaka game has improved, Ozil not in the team regularly, seems Leno is the next target of mock and abuse,.

    Don’t you guys get tired?
    As long as you feel Leno has fault and weak sides, so are everyone. Stop being a perfectionist, we all have fault, this guy saved our season last year and he is our gk

    1. Eddie says:

      “Now that Xhaka game has improved, Ozil not in the team regularly, seems Leno is the next target of mock and abuse,.”

      😂😂😂😂😂

    2. SueP says:

      I sincerely hope that Leno is not at the wrong end of abuse
      The difficulty arises when comparisons are made between him and Emi
      If I said that I really rated Emi, would that be classed as Leno bashing? He stepped in and proved he was good so as much as I rate Leno I have a lot of respect for Martinez deciding he wanted to be the no1 somewhere if not at Arsenal. He impressed me

  10. Seroti says:

    2 games in, we already have our player with bull target on his head.
    Arsenal fans are funny we always have eagle eye for faults in every game, win 200-0 we will still have a player to blame for not making it 201-0.

    1. zamind says:

      We are not funny.
      We are just trying to do self criticism.
      Leno is what we have, we support him but his weakness have to be pointed out and the goallie coach have to account for his pay by improving Leno

  11. kev says:

    Personal terms and a fee of £45m plus £10m add-ons has been agreed for Houssem Aouar. He was on £25K a week but will earn around £100k

    1. Eddie says:

      Yet to agree the structure of payment though.. They’ve only agreed with Lyon and Aouar, but still a lot to do.
      Also we’re getting Partey too.

      1. kev says:

        Yeah thats right. Partey deal was verbally agreed even before the window opened. Arsenal are just trying to get him using cheaper means but if all else fails the release clause will be triggered. Arsenal verbally agreed to do that. Then a late move will be made for Zaha which might mean Laca movement or Niles or Nelson could leave on loan to Palace

      2. Kstix says:

        This will make me the happiest man on earth Eddie if true

        1. Eddie says:

          Get ready to Partey all night

  12. Sue says:

    I saw on twitter last night that some Arsenal ‘fans’ want Leno to have a bad season/Emi good, so they can say boast about being right!
    How pathetic is that??!! If you’re a gooner, get behind the bleedin’ team – all of them!!! Sheesh!!
    Leno is our gk! End of! Match day tomorrow…. COYG

    1. kev says:

      Its laughable as it is pathetic. Do they not understand that wishing failure on Leno ultimately means wishing failure on Arsenal?? Even if he starts having a bad season we don’t even know if our second choice is good enough. We had better hope that our defending improves so that we can relieve pressure of Leno a bit. If we can do that his flaws won’t be exposed and his shot stopping is world class too so he adds something. I dont like it when the keeper is feeling some kind of negative energy from fans or is lacking confidence. We all saw Almunia. That could result in a terrible season.

      1. Sue says:

        Exactly, Kev 👍
        I can’t see him having a bad season.. he’ll be alright!

    2. Kstix says:

      That’s going to be very stupid of said fans then Sue, why would you not want what’s best for your team? Leno had a bad day but I hope he can turn it around and perform really well for us this season, nothing will make me happier than to see our players succeed. Heck I’ll even want kolasinac to wake up today and discover his inner Marcelo. Wishing for nothing but the best from every player that wears the shirt even if I criticise them when they put in a horrid display.

      1. Sue says:

        It is, Kstix! Crazy!! I think the whole team did on Saturday, but hey it’s gone, put it behind them and move on! He was fantastic last season, so don’t see any reason why he can’t be again this time.
        🤣🤣 about Kolasinac… you never know, stranger things have happened 😜
        Exactly and that’s how it should be. Of course they’ll be criticised for a brain fart or whatever, but to actually hope they have a bad season is just wrong on so many levels!!

        1. Kstix says:

          So so wrong Sue and well said. OT, the Auoar and Partey rumours are heating up pretty nicely. I’m liking what I’m seeing as regards the rumours.

          1. Sue says:

            My only wish, Kstix, is that we’d signed TP in time for our trip to Anfield -remember his last time there?! 😉 Oi Oi!! 😂 Just out of interest, how do you feel about Monday? Thiago looked good against Chelsea. I read even though they bought Jota, they’re still going for Watford’s Sarr! I will be stoked if we come away from there with something and Auba adds to his tally (& Klopp nods his head again 😉)
            Looking forward to tomorrow…

          2. Kstix says:

            I’m honestly Optimistic about Monday Sue, can’t wait for that headline again, “Klopp yet to get a win against Arteta’s Arsenal” but if we’re being honest, Liverpool have stepped up their squad from the last time we faced them, I’m hoping we can get a win or draw at Anfield, but if it doesn’t happen, I won’t be losing sleep over it as they’re a better side on paper at least. But I have complete faith in Arteta and if he’s got results against them before , he can definitely do it again. Like you Sue, I wish we had gotten all our targets especially TP before our trip to Anfield but fingers crossed Sue, I’m optimistic and solidly behind the team, whatever happens.

          3. Sue says:

            I think for the first time in what seems like an eternity, I’m optimistic too, Kstix.
            🤣🤣 would love to see those headlines, as well as the look on Klopp’s face!!
            They’re the ones with all the pressure on them, as defending champions (🤮)… they’re expected to win, just like before, so come on MA pull it out of the bag!! But of it’s not meant to be, there’s always next time!!
            Loved your last line 🤩

          4. Kstix says:

            Spot on Sue, we’re always considered underdogs, a win would put others on notice for sure and oh what I’d give to see klopp’s face as usual.

    3. Trudeau says:

      Who wants to start thread for Saka versus Gnabry? Everytime Gnabry scored we blast Saka for not having good finishing qualities. Think of how smug we will get to feel.

      Before some clever clog points out the obvious difference, I know. But the broader point remains true. This kind of debate is toxic.

    4. Lenohappy says:

      Sue the same way some fans on justarsenal wanted Emery to fail so ozil can have the last laugh.

    5. Goonster says:

      Reminds me of how Ozil fans always pray for the team to lose so that they can start their “But we need Özil’s creativity. Play Ozil. He is our only world class player blah blah 😊😊”.
      Since 2018-19 during Emery’s era to today.
      😀

  13. Mohlanka Molapo says:

    We sold a bigger, more agile, better ball-handling goal keeper in Martinez. In my frank opinion that was a big blunder because he has attributes we can’t teach to Leno, period.

    1. Looney says:

      This is the gospel truth. In as much as I’ll definitely continue supporting Leno and hope he does well all the time, it doesn’t change the fact that I think Martinez was better in some areas. His calmness and command of the box is an intangible that is difficult to measure but that your eyes can’t lie about. I don’t think Arsenal was wrong and I don’t think Martinez was wrong either. It is just what it is.

  14. Siamois says:

    How sad Sue!so called fans wishing for one of our players to underperform just to prove a point,is this the level things have reached??I don’t get it,is this a generational thing or what??

    1. Eddie says:

      Is this the level things have reached?
      Bruh it’s the level things have always been at for Arsenal fans.
      Wait for certain players to fail just to prove a point.
      I tell you till today people still wait for Xhaka to have a disaster so they’d say *I told you so ”.
      Funny thing is, With Aouar and Partey, Xhaka would still be in the team.

      1. Atid says:

        I would much rather be proved wrong about everything, as long as Arsenal win.

        Fact is Arteta will not guarantee any player (may be the club captain aside) he is first choice. The whole point of being in a team sport is exactly that, all teams have a squad system, either buy into that or take up something else like surfing or snooker.

      2. Siamois says:

        You’re actually right Eddie and it is very disheartening,I admire you constant positivity and common sense but truth being told I’m finding it exhausting trying to fight off all this negativity!

        1. Eddie says:

          Lol on fighting the negativity, nobody’s more tired than I am.
          Negativity about the squad, negativity about the players and everything. Thing is people don’t know there’s a thin line between being negative and being realistic alongside being a pessimist.. I’m trying to avoid lots of topic man.
          We all know the truth about our club already but singing it everyday? Nah

          1. Sue says:

            Nice one, Eddie 👍

        2. Sue says:

          You’re right, Siamois, it is exhausting!!

      3. Lenohappy says:

        Eddie last season on just arsenal some fans are praying that arsenal lose so as to get ozil back in the team, I don’t want to start mentioning names. When we played Chelsea last season I remember one fan here who said, he’s sad to see us doing so well without ozil, so it’s a normal thing.

        1. Goonster says:

          My exact take. People could wait for Arsenal to lose under Emery so that they could tell us how it’s because Ozil was not in the team.
          There is this guy on here called “Lcw” or something like that. He keeps hoping we lose so that he can assure us about how cult idol Ozil is the solution.
          Lol

          1. Lenohappy says:

            Icw that’s his name 🤐

  15. Quantic Dream says:

    Someone on Twitter said we should use the Emi Martinez money to buy back Emi Martinez! 😂😂

  16. Akonteh Andrew says:

    Leno is very poor in intersection of cut backs, corner kicks and through passes into the box from midfielders of opponents.
    Leno does not anticipate well in order for timely intersections. Antonio should not have scored the equalizer for West Harm. It was really sad for us.
    Leno should develope an interest in “Clean Sheets”. He assumes that Central backs can do intersections in.his place. No Mr. Goalkeepers Leno.
    Train harder against our attackers during training Sessions.

    1. JJ Pawn says:

      We are done for… the top six teams: ‘pool, city, chelski, manure, spuds, everton… then Arsenal, and wolves, foxes.

      There is no way Leno is a #1 keeper. We should have pretended and sold him off and kept Martinez, who was brilliant in the pressure games.

  17. A J says:

    I am at a total loss regarding the sudden wave of anti Leno sentiment (from a minority excepted).

    Look, we know why this has suddenly come to the fore and I have aired my views on recent events re’ our keepers (past & present) but again for me Bernd Leno is one of our best and most consistent performers.

    The man is a quality goalkeeper.

    “Leno Has to Improve” – ONE BLOODY GAME, WHERE WE WERE AT BEST AVERAGE THROUGHOUT THE SIDE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    There’s opinion, and there’s B S !!

    Elements of our current “fan” base really *iss me off !

  18. Adetunji says:

    Emi Martinez and Matty Macey are the best we have so far, but bcoz they grow with red and white gunner blood in their vain make us not realize that.. we should pray not to regret what we’re doing now

  19. Wayne says:

    So-called fans wanting player(s) to fail ,so that their point is proven.Arsenal beware of the traitors on board. Now that our defense has improved, we will see better performances from Leno too. Every player will have bad days, but, it is the consistency of their good days that counts. Arsenal has come a long way, since Arteta arrived. The team is heading in the right direction. When Aouar and Partey are signed this week, the challenge for top honors begins. So-called fans stop spreading negative vibes and support Arsenal heartically.

  20. A J says:

    Time for real talk.

    For anyone bothering to read this who actually wants any given Arsenal player to fail ( a player of high quality by the way, who has done absolutely nothing wrong) take your sorry arse up the road and “support” that mob.

    Your lousy rotten misplaced negativity would be of much better use to us over there !!!!

    I urge Bernd Leno to take absolutely no notice of these prats.

  21. JAY says:

    I wont be dragged into Leno vs Emi convo ’cause theres nothing but emotions there. Emi is gone. The author is very objective, Leno needs to work on his well documented weaknesses fast! Westham figured him out in the last 30 mins, we saw every Westham player try to put in a high ball. Im sure Sean Dyche and co will want to try that from the first minute. Second, MA’s triangles rely heavily on playing from the back, the GK, defenders and mid should be quick to exploit spaces created by opposition. If one piece of the puzzle fails due to procrastination then the entire set up will fail. There’s work to be done. Again these are valid facts, you cant just wish them away. Leno has my full support but he has to work on these weaknesses ’cause our success depends on it.

  22. Goonster says:

    Can people stop over criticising Leno?
    I preferred Martinez but we decided to go with Leno.
    Lets just get on with it.
    We don’t want to make him lose confidence for no apparent reason.
    Lets not make him a scapegoat for Martinez leaving.

    1. A J says:

      Although we may disagree- you make your point excellently Goonster.

    2. SueP says:

      Goonster
      You hit the nail on the head. Negative comments can bring negative reactions and the last thing we need is poor Leno getting the yips

  23. Herbz says:

    Some people call others moaners blah blah but we criticize because the Arsenal we know is a team that’s meant to be at the top. It can never return there when we have certain people who accept mediocrity.

    Am Leno’s number 1 critique but he’s our No. 1 keeper now and I sadly accept that.

    However there are certain basic things (within his means) that he has to change IMMEDIATELY.

    1. Sharpness: Ederson, Allison often initiate attacks with quick throws, balls over the top etc. Need I remind you that our keeper needs to do that????

    2. Passing: if he’s not sure or under pressure, he should hit the ball forward, because him and everyone associated with the club knows that we don’t have ANY defender comfortable with the ball except Mari who is injured. For us we do the useless “passing at the back” instead of “passing from the back”.

    For timing of crosses, he should leave that to God because he’s never gonna improve in that aspect.

  24. Nifty says:

    So many emotions over logic and reasoning.

  25. Wenger91 says:

    Maybe his ball passing is not as good as Martinez, but he still one of the best goalkeepers in the PL, he saved us many time and we will keep doing.

    Surely, we will support him!

  26. JJ Pawn says:

    Which keeper would have fetched more money? We sold to get more money. It was a desperate move, and a sad one. Seeing an Arsenal lad sold like that while wearing his heart on his sleeve is hard to see.

  27. JW says:

    Why do Arsenal Fans need to support Leno.

    Arsenal Fans did not buy him.
    Arsenal Fans did not choose him over Martinez.

    Arsenal Fans did not higher the former Brentford goalkeeping coach (who obviously wanted his familiars around him, not some South American)

    These were all done by the Arsenal (Lack of) Brains Trust!

    So please tell me why Arsenal Fans must support him!!

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