Martin Keown thinks Unai Emery is hesitant to start Bernd Leno because the goalkeeper’s shot-stopping isn’t up to scratch.
In Arsenal’s first four games of the new Premier League season, head coach Emery has opted for Petr Cech in goal. Some supporters have questioned the decision, considering Arsenal spent a club record fee for a goalkeeper on Leno over the summer.
Keown thinks he knows why Emery hasn’t given the new signing a chance so far though.
“If you look at the statistics for goalkeepers in Europe, Leno excels in his distribution but is not the best when it comes to the shots he is expected to stop,” Keown told the Daily Mail. “The German was not in their World Cup squad and hasn’t been called up for this international break.
“How good is he? We’re not too sure yet.”
It’s a fair point that Leno’s shot-stopping statistics haven’t been as good as Cech’s in the last couple of seasons.
After an impressive start to his career, the goalkeeper stalled a bit, which is probably why Arsenal didn’t have to pay even more for him. At one point he was considered Germany’s biggest goalkeeping talent, but he’ll have to work hard to live up to that reputation now.
There’s only one way for him to change his statistics for the better though, and that’s by playing matches.
Perhaps Arsenal wouldn’t have so many shots to save if they had a goalkeeper who didn’t lose them possession quite so often. We saw against Cardiff City the dangers of Cech’s distribution, with a couple of chances coming directly from his passing errors.
It’s a tough call for Emery, but hopefully he’ll bring Leno in at the right time and get the best out of him.