Would Leno have played better if Martinez was still at Arsenal?

Leno Poor Post Martinez by Dan Smith

There’s a cruel irony that in Arsenal’s first fixture since selling Martinez, Bernd Leno had at best a ropey display against West Ham. Every time he flapped at a cross and a defender had to dive in the way to block a shot, I couldn’t help but think how the man we just sold for 17 million was composed at claiming everything in the air and seemed to have a presence which calmed those in front of him.

To be fair to our keeper this was only his second start since June but now that we cashed in on his competition gooners will be less forgiving to his mistakes.

I like Leno as a shot stopper (that’s his job), but feel a section of our fan base call him world class because they want to believe that.

I read a statistic last season at one point where he was top of a list based on errors leading to goals. While supporters defended him due to Unai Emery’s tactics meaning he had to face 20 plus shots a game, he now has a spotlight on him given that the man who did so well while he was injured is now at Aston Villa. That will only increase if he continues his excellent form at Villa Park.

From a business point of view it made sense for Arsenal to take the money. At a time when we don’t know when we are getting match day revenue, when our manager is asked to raise his own funds, cashing in on one of your goalies makes sense.

While Arteta’s preference was to keep the Argentine, he’s a logical asset where you can make cash without harming the first 11 because you are still left with a great player between the posts.

Any other time but a Pandemic the Spaniard could have fought to have two top keepers but when you’re making 55 staff redundant it’s not a hill to die on.

Judged purely on what was best on the pitch, then of course competition brings out the best in everyone. Leno might have been more focused had he known his position was under threat. Based on that display, if we had the option, I would now be picking Martinez to start at Anfield.

Martinez quickly became a fan favourite at the Emirates, he gave us his heart when he broke down in tears after winning the FA Cup.
He promised his parents one day he return to Argentina with a winners medal. That’s his legacy in North London. Nobody can take that away from him.

Based on being a nice guy many Gunners were sad the transfer went ahead but understood. After all, it’s still a fact that after a decade at the club he was mostly loaned out to the Championship and only in the last 12 months promoted to the bench consistently.

As fun as his Wembley experiences were, that wasn’t enough to prove he was better then what we had.
What some wanted was for him to be given a chance where we could judge him long term at the highest level. We won’t get that due to the trust Leno has earnt.

More displays like yesterday you have to wonder was it just a coincidence Leno played liked that in first game post Martinez or was it a sign that we made a mistake?



  1. You are beating a dead horse ……our number goalies is Leno…… Martinez is gone…..let’s build Leno up….we need him

    1. sold the wrong goalkeeper Martinez was far better than leno far superior in the box and I would say the Arsenal back 4 had more confidence in Martinez than leno.

      1. After all Leno did for us last season. Without Leno and Pierre it’s highly likely we would be enjoying the view in the championship now.

          1. so true, Martinez is the better keeper, how Chelsea didn’t come in for him is strange, Villa and Brighton the only two who came in for me

          1. We we’re lucky we had unknown germ. What if he gets injured this season does that give us same confidence?

  2. Leno is a very good shot stopper, very good. He is prone to massive brain farts when the ball is tossed in and throws in ropey games. Martinez brought calm to the team, especially defence, that was plainly obvious. I think we sold the wrong keeper as far as consistency is concerned. Ilike Leno he is a very good keeper, i was happy with him before Martinez but when Martinez was in goal, i thought he looked far more composed and assured. I thought we defended more calmly also. I wish Martinez the absolute best and i hope Leno works his socks of to sort his composure under pressure out because we need him too.

  3. Beautiful article Dan Smith. The truth is Leno has always been a good shots stopper even when he was at Bayern, but he is very poor with crosses, and he doesn’t seem to give his defense much confidence. I can count at least 4 poor passes that Leno made against west ham, what I like most about Martinez is that some balls you will normally expect a keeper to just punch he will hold on to it, and he knows when to play it short and when to play it long. I just pray we buy a replacement that can keep Leno on his toes at all time. Leno is our keeper so we all have to support him but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t criticize him when he fumble.

  4. I agree with John above but in answer to your question I had confidence in Martinez and wished he could have stayed. He commanded his area and it seems obvious to me that it rubbed off on the defence

    1. Acemane Allison cost Liverpool 68.8million and he has been a very good keeper, so if you want to talk about expensive buys you can as well talk about the Liverpool keeper. That Kepa has been a flop doesn’t mean all expensive keeper will be bad.

      1. 👍 and Arsenal didn’t realize previously what they had in Martinez, with Aston Villa getting a great value keeper for £20 million and £65k per week.

  5. I think we do need to let it go now and support Leno. I was all for Martinez having his shot because he deserved it but now hes gone and that is that. Leno will just need to step up and improve his game.

    However, I just hope that the club don’t regret selling Martinez any time soon because this season will be scrutinised based on the incoming and outgoing players. Let’s get behind the team. All eleven of them!!

    1. Nice one, GunneRay! Imagine what it’ll be like on here tomorrow if Emi has a blinder for Villa later 🤣
      Players come, players go.. MA has opted for Leno.. if Emi’s money pays for Partey, will we all harp on about Emi then?!

      (No disrespect, btw Dan, as it was an excellent article (again!!)

  6. People are talking up about Martinez – in 10 years of being given opportunities in cup games and between loans, this is the most consistent he has been. After 10 years. We all take our hat off to him, he played very well and was a big part of winning the FA Cup and Community Shield. But it has taken 10 years.
    People are forgetting everything that Leno has done in the prior seasons, that he is just coming back from fitness and handling the pressure of all eyes being on him with Martinez being sold. I’m sure he’s reading the fan opinion pages of the wrong keeper being picked as number 1 and he must be scratching his head.
    No keeper is perfect and yes he need to improve the command of his box in the air but I 100% believe he is significantly the better keeper. At the end of the season I don’t think we will miss Martinez but agree that he does need to have competition behind the scenes. Hopefully the new chap coming in along with Macey and keep him on his toes.

  7. Yeah well we could’ve kept a GK who rejected the new offer the club gave him and demanded to be the guaranteed starter. A GK who already made his decision after the FA cup final he was gon leave if his terms weren’t met.
    You guys seemed to forget the fact that Martinez can out twice to the press and insisted he’d leave, suddenly now the club has made a huge mistake in selling a backup GK none of you gave flying f##k about 6 months ago.
    Also when you consider the fact that what happens was actually the best for all parties involved, you tend to wonder why all the fuming and all the questions about keeping Leno and selling Martinez.
    I love both GK but there’s no way we could’ve kept both happy.
    Now we made 3x the money Martinez was worth 6months ago, Martinez goes on to be first choice at Aston Villa, Leno stays the same, not complaining, not fussing, just focusing on his football. All parties happy and everyday we get fans throwing the Leno vs Martinez debate.
    Simple question? What should’ve Arteta done? Give in to the demands of Martinez?
    I can recall the CS final, Leno was fit but Arteta went with Martinez as usual, after that he decided he wanted to leave. We should’ve played a GK who wanted to leave in our first game?
    The same GK that begged that the club accept half of the club valuation just so he can go?
    What should’ve Arteta done?
    As fans we keep looking at this from our own point, it’s normal to think of our own satisfaction, but what about Martinez’s satisfaction?
    Stay and fight is what the coach said, you make each other better goalkeepers, but Martinez obviously can’t be rotating weekly can he? What about his own satisfaction?
    Drop this Martinez Vs Leno discussions, both are top GKeepers and I’m still supporting both whenever I watch them play and I’ll always support both.
    They’re part of the Arsenal family

    1. My understanding, Eddie was that Martinez himself wanted assurances after the FA Cup final that he would be the starter? Arsenal could not give him that and so he decided to leave?

      If I am wrong then I take it back but that is how I read the situation?

      On another note, Eddie. Is the rumours about Torriera and Partey true?

      1. Yea it was a secret be wanted assurances after the FA cup final, it was all over the Atgly and was all over the media.
        That’s exactly my question though should we keep questioning the coach and club for refusing to give in to his demands and letting him leave?

        Yes the Torreira Partey rumors are true, but Atley wants Torreira on loan with an option to buy.. So it’ll still be hard to convince them to reduce Party’s RC.
        Taking Partey won’t be easy but they want Torreira, it’s also on the Athletic.
        Arsenal are trying to negotiate a fee with Torreira for Partey so Torreira stays there permanent, It all depends on Atletico though. Nobody knows what next now though

    2. Eddie am not sure if you notice this or not, but I am a big fan of your articles and your contributions on this site. But something I don’t understand is why you always use the “F” word when something doesn’t agree with you. I love Leno that’s why I used the name Lenohappy, but I noticed anytime theirs an article about Leno you always take it as if we shouldn’t criticize him when he make mistakes. And out of respect to you and believe me I say this with a very big respect, I don’t think you are in any position to tell anyone what to write or tell anyone to drop this ‘Leno vs Martinez debate’ yes we all know Martinez is no longer our player but so also is Iwobi but we still had an article on him some days ago, so also is Jack Wilshere but we also had an article about him last week, and besides what Dan smith asked is a simple question that you can either say yes or no or I don’t know to.

      1. Lol… I don’t know if you’ve noticed, I’m used to using the “F” word a lot, especially when I feel like I have a point yo prove. It’s definitely not cool, and I need to stop it I know.
        Back to your words, I’ve never said Leno can’t be criticised, like I said, I’d have loved to keep Martinez, because honestly I know the competition is actually behind the form. Now imagine what we could’ve witnessed if both GK chose to stay and fight? You’d have a much better Leno and Martinez forever getting better and better so he doesn’t lose his spot.
        Losing Martinez never made me happy, but I just refused to pay t my emotions get the best of me, Martinez sorta have this pity and love attachment from fans because of his background and how emotional his story is, so surely people would get mad we sold him, but then it’s the slander against Leno that suddenly rose up I’m actually surprised and up against.
        Not just here alone, I’ve seen fans call Leno poor GK and say Martinez is the better GK. Perhaps they’re being too emotional and disrespectful to what Leno was doing before he got injured?

        Also if you’ve noticed, which I doubt you’ve done. I don’t like talking about our past staffs. From Iwobi, Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, all the legends, to my favorites Santi Cazorla and Toma’s Rosicky. I don’t like like doing it and I rather keep quiet when those articles pop out.
        You’ve not seen me talking about Iwobi or how bad people say he was or different stuff bout him have you though? The same thing with Arsene Wenger, I don’t talk about what he has done just so I won’t be able to talk about his poor years either.
        I stopped talking about Emery too.
        It’s a thing with me that’s become part of me, I don’t do it consciously, so most of the time I get tired reading most of these articles I swear bro, these articles that’ll bring up the bad side of past players and stuff, bring up controversial discussions about them as if they were never part of us.
        I mean if you’d keep doing that, then once a while give us videos and throwbacks of these same players you’re constantly debating about and being controversial about, No? I mean once in a while give us something about these players that we can all just laugh and reminisce about, No?
        Why does if have to be a debate or be an article talking about how poor a player was or a discussion where us fans need to argue and tear and build up players ?
        I’m sorry if anyone felt attacked when I said “drop the Leno vs Martinez”
        Personally I’m just tired of this discussion and what does it change if we keep on discussing it everyday dissecting the performance of our GK and past GK? Might as well every two days write an article about keeping Walcott back then and selling Gnabry.
        Yous still don’t get it?
        I think I’d just rather avoid discussions and articles like these

      2. “But something I don’t understand is why you always use the “F” word when something doesn’t agree with you.”

        Yep. This guy thinks he literally knows everything..

      1. 👍Understanding is very key Dan, understanding. People just like to rant about things without having an understanding first. Great job on the article BTW and only time will tell is the best answer to your question.

  8. Leno has always flapped at crosses and elects to punch rather than catch the ball. Martinez is a giant in the box whereas Leno acts like a midget. But, it is what it is and I see no point in keep on bringing up this stuff but I will say we are replacing Martinez with a keeper who had the worst record last season in the French league.

  9. We need to cut him some slack, he has hardly played any competitive match after his injury. Sometimes you loose your confidence and are a bit nervous when you are injured n the guy who is suppose to cover for you does one hack of a job. He is still one of the best keeper in England I feel and with time will prove him self once again. Not worried at all, thing to worry about is if he gets injured then what??

  10. Best bit of business Arsenal have done in years ,20 million for a second choice keeper .
    Hopefully that goes back into the transfer kitty for Arteta .

    1. Dan kit, when we sold iwobi you said best bit of business in years also, make up your mind Dan which is the best bit, Iwobi or Martinez 🤣🤣

      1. Super weird ?
        Because I thought Leno was better than Martinez ?does that mean Arteta is super weird because obviously he thought the same as me .

        1. Totally missed it AGAIN.. was that what you said? Go back and read what you wrote again and read my reply and give it a befitting reply.

          1. I have no idea what your going on about ‘mate ,you said my opinions are super weird I countered that and I’m lost ,maybe I’m super thick to go with super weird ,please enlighten me.
            I said that it was the best bit of business we have done in years ,if that’s super weird then I’m lost

  11. Eddie
    Lenoi was demanding to be fursdt choice when Pete Chec was our No. 1
    It’s called ambition, nothing wrong with that.
    It’s unfortunate we couldn’t convince EMI to stay.

    Mark my word, Chelsea will go for him next season

    1. Leno wasn’t demanding to be guaranteed starter when Cech was here bruv.
      Leno publicly said he’d like to play more, play more than just the Europa league and would love playing the EPL too.
      He wasn’t demanding Emery makes him number 1 or he’d leave.
      See the difference?

    1. We’re not signing him… Edu likes him and could try getting him on loan with an obligation to buy.
      Personally don’t see it happening.
      Crystal Palace won’t let him go on loan.
      It’s not a win situation for them except the loan fee is high.
      Best scenario would be to let him come on loan, use the money and add to it go get Benrahma, that’s the only way it could be a win for Crystal Palace but I don’t see it happening.
      Getting Zaha would be all Edu, all Arteta wants are his midfielders. So don’t get your hopes high on Zaha happening.
      It’ll be hard because it’s a loan offer Arsenal wants to make

  12. I had a feeling we may see a somewhat “shakier” Leno for a while, and saw it in the West Ham game.

    I am a Leno man, he is (now more than ever ) our No. 1.

    But I feel he is now fully aware , more so than previously, performances are under the microscope big time for very different reasons.

    He knows has the “We should Never Have Sold Emi” brigade on his case for any and every mistake.

    Look at the bigger picture.

    I expect Auoar to arrive , with the Partey move still in the picture (please God).

    Sometimes unpalatable, and very difficult , decisions have to be taken in order to move forward – especially with our “self sustaining” model in place.

    Emi is a fantastic goalkeeper no doubt, and I wish him every future success – he deserves it.

    But who in all honesty who has been calling for him to be Arsenals No 1 over the past 10 years ?

    We were lucky enough to call on him during a very important period for the team, and indeed club.

    This was also in a set of high profile games, which tend to stick in the mind.

    But we have to move on.

    We are now equally lucky to have the future German international keeper between the sticks for us, a brilliant player, who has complained to date ?

    For me Leno was a contender for last seasons player of the year.

    The real issue is a solid back-up keeper being in place – and this is a concern.

    I really liked Emi, and the way he has conducted himself.

    However, it became increasingly apparent we were not going to hold onto both – for more than one reason.

    If the “Emi Money” is put to good use, and given the Keeper we are left with – we did the right thing.

    After all – we could be stuck with that Kepa fella at Chelski 🙁

  13. Summary of article and most posts – I hope Leno works out but if he doesn’t I”ll be here to say I told you so.

  14. @Lenohappy what are you insinuating? Shud we carry all of our next three seasons budget to go all out and buy oblak? Or we shud sell our most prize asset(auba, kt, saka, gabi, saliba) so we could buy world class gk like oblak?
    many of our rivals jealous us bcos we have leno man.. Emi’s sales might be the best deal arsenal make this summer.

  15. @dan kit i might agree with you on this one. Emi might not have fetch us 5m some few months ago, now hes leaving for 20m… Best summer deal sofar alongside gabrial6

  16. To be honest, Selling Emi was a BIG MISTAKE. Period. We should have sold Leno instead. I mean after game two, i genuinely sat up and said wait a minute, this guy could actually be a better goalie! After the Liverpool game, i was more than convinced…I know and appreciate the excellent work that our manager is doing so much that iam willing to forgive him for anything-but he made a mistake with this one. The question is do you weaken one area of the team in a bid to strenthen another? And may he please stop freezing out players using the vendata method of Pep Gadiola? Teamwork is about all inclusion, forgiveness and forget. I think what is been done to Ozil and Guendouzi is naivity of management. Its also possible that Arteta decided to sell Emi because of the way he came out in the media!!

    1. My question for you is who sold Martinez. When you answer that correctly you can go reread your comment and figure out the flaw in it.

  17. Runarsson deal expected to be confirmed later – he spent the weekend training and could be in the squad on Wednesday night

  18. Yeah if we would have, could have, should have….then we really must have done it. But due to the financial situation amidst the pandemic, I think it was a good deal. I agree with the gist of your article. Lets hope the incoming GK provides competition to Leno to bring out his best. And also if Martinez, after 10 years of being considered no more a backup GK, can be considered a sure starter, in the same way, I think, Leno, after his initial shortcomings, can iron out errors and emerge a very good GK. Who knows, he might have worked on his catching and organising defences better? Lets just support our players when they play on the pitch, criticise their performance if they do badly, and get behind our coach because he has really shown that he is a ‘ special one’, or at least someone who doesn’t constantly speak of a conspiracy theory against him.

  19. Martinez is gone and writing so many article about how good he was with the team will not change anything. It is high time we accept the reality and move on.

  20. Hmm….fans can be forgetful, imagine someone saying he watched emi once and knew he was better..after ten years. If you were Leno,what would you be thinking? When Leno came he sat down patiently behind cech..no complaint,,If not cos of love for arsenal, I’d have said you lot deserve to have kepa or karius..

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