Bernd Leno will start in goal tonight for Arsenal against FC Vorskla and Unai Emery explained to the press why he’s been picking Petr Cech in goal for the club so far this season.
When Leno was purchased for £22.5m from Bayer Leverkusen, most expected that he would become the club’s new number one while Petr Cech would serve as his backup, despite being handed the actual number one shirt.
But that isn’t what we’ve seen so far. Instead, we’ve watched an old dog attempt to learn new tricks with his feet to what we will call ‘mixed’ results because we are feeling in a good mood today.
“First, the position for work and for knowing every player – usually only the players who come from the national team come in late and it is more difficult to see them,” Emery said at his pre-match press conference.
“But the same chances is for the goalkeeper and I think Petr’s performances have been good, he also thinks he should play because he is doing very well and with Leno, we signed him for now, and to improve with us, and to compete with another goalkeeper.
“I am very happy with his work every day and I am looking forward to seeing him play tomorrow.”
It was telling that in his next comment, Emery mentioned Emi Martinez whom the club seem to see as the future number two when Cech retires and Leno moves to one.
“The first decision for me in every match is the performance,” Emery continued. “Tomorrow [Thursday] we are going to play Leno, but in each match, we are going to look at each performance and each preparation for continuing playing, but not for giving Leno, Petr or Emi one competition to play in. We are going to start tomorrow by giving [Leno] the chance and the minutes, but we are going to continue looking and testing every match.”
Could we see Martinez start against Brentford in the League Cup? It wouldn’t be the most ridiculous thing in the world.
“He’s here because he’s shown us his quality,” Emery added about Leno. “The quality for the goalkeeper for me is complex, but he has it. Tomorrow he is going to start, and he can go a long way here at Arsenal. He’s young. Each goalkeeper has different qualities, Petr, Bernd, and Emi, but we cannot change our style and maybe one quality of Leno’s is better than Petr, and maybe one quality of Petr’s is better than Leno’s, and with Emi!
“But we need the same style and to work and improve each goalkeeper in our style. They are working each training every day with Javi Garcia and us to do that.”
Arsenal (4-2-3-1) Leno; Lichtsteiner, Holding, Mustafi, Monreal; Elneny, Guendouzi; Mkhitaryan, Smith Rowe, Iwobi; Welbeck.
Vorskla (4-4-1-1) Shust; Perduta, Dalku, Chesnakov, Artur; Kobakhidze, Sharpar, Skylar, Rebenok; Kulach; Careca.
Referee Bart Vertenten (Belgium).