Emi Martinez kept a clean sheet for Reading against fourth-place West Bromwich Albion on Monday to all but guarantee the club safety from relegation this season.
Martinez made four saves, two high claims and completed 70% of his passes on Monday to keep playoff hopefuls West Brom from finding the net and to secure a 0-0 draw.
With Rotherham losing their match, Reading are now six points clear of the drop with a 13-goal advantage on their relegation rivals. There are just two games to go, so that’s likely enough to stay up.
It’s the cherry on top of an excellent loan spell for Martinez. He’s maintained a fantastic 76% save percentage throughout his time at Reading, the third best percentage in the league, making more saves and more high claims per 90 minutes than anybody else in the division (minimum 10 appearances).
There’s no doubt the Reading fans love him as well, as the replies to his tweets are always full of supporters begging him to sign on permanently, and chants of “Emi Martinez, we want you to stay” have gone up in the stands on multiple occasions.
— Emi Martínez (@emimartinezz1) April 22, 2019
We’ll have to wait and see what the Arsenal staff have made of Martinez’s loan spell, but from the looks of things, he certainly deserves the chance to compete with Bernd Leno for starts next season.
Petr Cech is retiring, so Arsenal need a second goalkeeper anyway, and there aren’t many alternatives presenting themselves from the academy. Deyan Iliev and Matt Macey have had mixed campaigns, and the talented Arthur Okonkwo is still only 17 years old.
Either the club spend a load of money on a backup, or they give the goalkeeper they already own a chance. They’ll likely still have to bring in a veteran third-choice option anyway, but that’ll be easier than finding a new second or third choice for a reasonable price. It’s up to Unai Emery and his team now.