Unai Emery insists that Bernd Leno will have to be patient at his new club, despite Arsenal fans desperately calling for the goalkeeper to get a chance immediately.
Some supporters were left confused after the Manchester City match, because Emery’s selection of Čech didn’t seem to fit with what the team were trying to do. The Gunners regularly tried to build from the back, but that’s something Leno is more suited for, as Bayer Leverkusen were so keen to point out afterwards.
Nonetheless, Emery insisted it’s important to maintain healthy competition for places, and that Leno will have to wait for his chance for the time being.
“We want the competition between the goalkeepers and also every player in the squad,” Emery said. “Despite the position, it is the same opportunity and the same chances for all the goalkeepers. We spoke also and Petr Cech, he is doing very well.
“Today as well, I think he played well also. He has this experience for continuing to defend our goal. Also, Leno is starting with us. He is working very well, he played well in pre-season too but he has to wait for his chance to arrive.”
Leno perhaps isn’t used to having to wait for chances in his career so far. Joining Leverkusen in 2011, he never made fewer than 32 appearances in the 34 game Bundesliga season.
In fact, last season’s 38 appearances in all competitions was Leno’s lowest tally for a campaign, and that was only because Leverkusen didn’t play in Europe. He was their cup goalkeeper, their league goalkeeper and their European goalkeeper for seven years.
That’s not how Arsenal do things though, and Petr Čech is a goalkeeper of massive experience and Premier League pedigree.
At 36 years old, the former Chelsea man will presumably concede his place to Leno eventually. It just might not happen immediately, so the German just has to be patient.