Leno Is Not Being Disrespected by Dan Smith
Some are building our game against Aston Villa as Leno vs Martinez, as it will be the first time our former keeper returns to the Emirates.
Some gooners felt it was a mistake to allow the Argentinean to leave, given how influential he was in us winning the FA Cup.
A section of our fan base take things too seriously, and now if you critique Leno in any way, it’s because you miss Martinez? It’s funny how it seems okay to highlight some players’ mistakes while others you’re not allowed to criticize?
My overall opinion was that Martinez should have started the season as our Number One, purely because he had earnt the right to lose the position. Yet when Aston Villa offered approx. 17 million, I understood why it made sense for most parties.
Arsenal had just made 55 staff redundant. At a time when they don’t know when they will be getting match day revenue, having two decent goalies gave us an asset to make money from without harming the squad.
The worst-case scenario is you don’t have a ‘cup keeper’, and apart from Dundalk it does seem that Arteta doesn’t yet fully trust Runarsson.
Martinez’s story is like a movie. When he left South America as a teenager, he looked at his parents and promised one day that he would return with a winners medal. He waited a decade to do that, winning our hearts in the process.
So with many holding sentiments to Emiliano, it was the worst time for Leno to start being complacent. I don’t write that because I have an agenda or because I wish Martinez was still here. I simply write it because in his two years in England, this is the worst Leno has looked. Not terrible, but certainly not ‘one of the best in the country’ which some try to claim.
It could be he’s not over his injury? It could be that the injury was straight after lockdown, meaning it’s been a long time for him not playing. It could be the emergence of someone else in his position unsettled him. Whatever it is, it is okay to point out if he’s not playing well. It doesn’t make you less of a fan.
If it’s acceptable to point out when Mustafi, Xhaka or Bellerin have been poor, why is Leno special?
I have heard and read some readers suggest that Leno deserves more respect. Yet is it disrespectful to question if he could have done better with the goal he conceded Thursday? Is it wrong to say his kicking was poor in Austria?
Is it not simply claiming a fact that against City and Liverpool he pushed the ball back into the middle for both teams to score?
Is It wrong to say I felt he was all over the place against West Ham and out of positions for Leicester’s winner?
Fans can’t have it both ways. Too many were quick to label the German one of the best keepers in the country, so if that’s what you believe you have to judge him to a high standard.
My opinion is Leno makes too many mistakes to be called one of the best in the Prem, and maybe would have benefitted from having Martinez around as competition would have brought out the best in both.
It doesn’t make you less of a fan if you question Leno. If you rate Martinez as being better, that is okay. Don’t let others judge you or tell you which players you can question, and which are immune from criticism.
I feel Martinez has a better presence when it comes to collecting crosses but that doesn’t mean for 90 minutes, I won’t back the man who plays for the Gunners. I’m just not going to ignore his mistakes just because some want to convince themselves we have a world class keeper when we don’t. Maybe one day but not yet.
The narrative is set on Sunday for one keeper to make a howler, while the other steals the show.
As long as Arsenal win, I don’t care.