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?