Bernd Leno has made serious progress towards becoming the first-choice goalkeeper at Arsenal after being forced to prove himself earlier in the season.
The £19.2 million summer signing from Bayer Leverkusen has got the nod for every Premier League fixture since Petr Cech’s last top-flight outing against Watford in late September.
Unai Emery appears to be rotating Leno and his veteran teammate depending on the competition at hand, but it’s clear the former is now his pick for the biggest stage.
That said, the German has conceded 17 goals in 15 appearances across all competitions, while Cech has picked the ball out his net nine times in ten matches.
It’s no wonder there’s still some debate around the Emirates over which goalkeeper should be between the sticks each week.
Leno certainly didn’t help his case when the Gunners’ 22-game unbeaten streak was ended in a 3-2 defeat to Southampton on Sunday.
With scores level five minutes before stoppage time, the Germany international rushed off his line to claim a Shane Long cross, only to flap at the ball and allow Charlie Austin to head into an empty net.
For a player trying to stake his claim as the go-to option for his manager, it wasn’t a good look.
However, when reflecting on his costly decision, Leno’s choice of words was rather intriguing.
“The last goal was a little bit unlucky for me because I wanted to get the cross because Austin was completely free and it was so close,” he told the London Evening Standard.
“I touched the ball a little bit but I missed it so it was a little bit unlucky. No risk, no fun.
“Maybe next time I will get the ball or I will stay on the line look at the ball and nobody says, ‘you came out and didn’t get the ball’. That’s the life of a goalkeeper but I would do it again.
“After 22 games, you can lose a game so it is disappointing but now nobody talks anymore about the unbeaten run and we can look forward. We have on Wednesday another big game and maybe now we can start another unbeaten run.”
Leno’s comments have caused quite the stir among Arsenal supporters; some have leapt to his defence, while others are concerned about his reliability.
While some goalkeepers are more flamboyant than others, surely most fans want their custodian to provide a safe pair of hands first and foremost.
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