Leno playing last night proves Arsenal are serious about the Europa League

Many Arsenal fans fully expected Mikel Arteta to rotate his players for last night’s Europa League game at Olympiacos, but he surprised us all by picking a very strong side, including dropping Emiliano Martinez, who played in all of our Group Matches in favour of our Number One stopper Bernd Leno.

It certainly proved to be the right decision as the German made many vital saves in a game we couldn’t afford to lose, and it is now very clear that Arteta is taking the Europa League very seriously indeed. Leno was certainly happy with his boss’s decision, and he told Arsenal.com after the game: “Of course because I want to play all the games, because we take this tournament seriously because it is another trophy and a chance to qualify for the Champions league so I want to play all these games and I am happy that the manager made the decision that I play the Premier League and the Europa League games as well.”

The German also made it clear how much the team wants to go all the way to the trophy this season, after our disappointment of losing to Chelsea in Baku last season. “We want to go all the way to the final again, to Poland,” Leno said. “And we want to win this trophy because last season we got to the final and it was very disappointing to lose. So this year we have another chance but I think we have to take it step by step and today we took the first step to go to the last-16 and next week we have another big game at home and hopefully we will go through to the next round.”

Last night was a very big step in our quest for the Europa title, and if we continue to show the resilience on display last night, I have great belief that this could finally be our year, especially if Arteta keeps picking his very best team available in every game…

11 Comments

  1. SAGooner says:

    And they should be very serious indeed about this competition. There are some tough hurdles to overcome, but the way to the ECL next season via a 4th or 5th place in the EPL is also no walk in the park, so both competitions need serious attention.

  2. Allanball08 says:

    I am liking and feeling more and more confident when Leno is between our sticks.
    Only thing that worries me with him is his distribution..when replay out from the back,when too kick it long, cat hi g it rather thenounching it out but saying that not many keepers catch now day and rather punch.
    There are times when he invites pressure on to us by his discision making but overall he has defiently cemented his no.1 spot

  3. Phenom says:

    Leno is one of the best in Europe now.
    The English media are not talking about him bcos he plays for arsenal. He has been better most of the overrated epl GK.

  4. jon fox says:

    GOOD ARTICLE, WITH FINE PERSPECTIVE AND MERCIFULLY, THIS TIME, NO SILLY MENTION OF BEING “LUCKY”. Most Gooners well know the quality that Leno brings and his rare howler against Chelsea apart, he makes very few costly errors and certainly fewer than the last days of Cech! I much agree that Arteta playing him shows how seriously he thinks the Europa is as our best and only realistic chance of making CL qual for next season. It beats my comprehension how so many managers fail to play their strongest team even in key matches. A decisive manager, as we NOW have , decides who their best keeper is and plays him when it really matters. Hurray for Arteta; I am over the moon we have him and only wish he had been here 18 months ago, instead of the “foreigner”!

    1. Counsel says:

      The team performance has improved and I won’t be surprised if we finish within top5 and also clinch the Europa league. Spuds have lost their main strikers through injuries,Chelsea losing momentum and man utd of late will always be man utd.A win against Toffees and we should be climbing the table very fast of course depending with other top5 contenders results

    2. Siamois says:

      Oh Jon fox for a change you were doing so well until “the foreigner” unless you were being sarcastic and I didn’t get it in that case sorry!

      1. jon fox says:

        Siamois, No you clearly did NOT get it. Why do you think I PUT IT IN QUOTE MARKS ! He is a compatriot of Arteta who is NOT a “foreigner”. Hope even you get it now. DUH!

      2. Benjamin says:

        He has already explained “foreigner”, he does not mean their nationality. I somewhat agree jon on this.

  5. Counsel says:

    I wouldn’t like first to take off my hat for Arteta in the way he has organised our back line and made Arsenal tougher to beat,the cleansheets we’re getting are unheard of in a long time.The defenders lacked proper coaching you never see the central defenders at half of the and fullbacks all over the place anymore,everyone players should enjoy defending according to arteta.Draws keeps the shape steady if it we lost the game we drew the we would be in relegation

  6. Pharaoh says:

    Was really glad to finally see some sense regarding that issue. I mean, don’t get me wrong I like Emiliano Martinez but we are kidding if we don’t field our #1 when our priority has been to qualify for the UCL. Cech playing against Chelsea last year really felt like a waste…

    About time someone took it seriously and I have to say, MA has proven to be a breath of fresh air so far. Our defense is turning into a fortress, something I never thought I’d say. We’re tougher to beat, break down and that say a lot to his management style and how much he has been able to convince the players to buy into his ideas and philosophy. Can’t wait to see what he does with someone like Saliba at his disposal next year and who knows who else might join. Exciting stuff!

  7. Reggie says:

    Yes, we are taking this comp seriously and it is a massive thing for us. Leno should be played as number 1 because its so important for us.

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