So, tomorrow will see the return of Emi Martinez to the Emirates and I am sure he will be warmly received by the Arsenal players and fans alike, considering the great contribution he made to the Gunners winning the FA Cup and the Community Shield before being sold to Aston Villa.
During the many articles about the Argentinean stopper on JustArsenal, I seriously wish that I had a pound for every comment that said that Martinez could come back to bite Arsenal in the future, well tomorrow will be our first chance to see if this is true or not.
Of course during the build up to the game on Arsenal.com, it was certain that Arteta would be asked to comment on Martinez, and the boss said: “Obviously, it wasn’t in my plans to sell him,” Arteta said. “But we gave him the chance because he deserved it.
“He performed really, really well but we have to balance the books. We have to make the right choices in the market and obviously, I couldn’t guarantee him to be the number one.
“He’s a very ambitious person, he has been working really hard and he can see now that the opportunity is there. He’s got the opportunity to play with Argentina and when a player asks you to do that, I think you have to be open enough and tell him what you think about him.
“If he makes the decision to leave, you should try to support him because he deserves it for the way he has served the club over the years.”
As we know, Emi’s Premier League career at Villa got off to a flying start, with 3 clean sheets from the first 4 games, and the other was the incredible 7-2 hammering that Villa gave the Champions Liverpool, but since then he has now conceded 7 himself, 3 against Leeds and 4 against Southampton.
But Bernd Leno has hardly been in top form himself since his return to the side, with the inevitable comparisons with Martinez, and has looked less than happy playing out from the back again. The German will be keen to make a big impression tomorrow to show Arteta that he was right to let his rival leave, but is there the danger that he will be more under pressure than he would be normally.
I know if Martinez plays like he did for us in his few months as Number One, our stuttering strikers could have trouble getting past him.
It should be an intriguing battle tomorrow. Could both keepers play so well that it ends up 0-0?