Mikel Arteta denies he’s already made a decision on his starting goalkeeper against Spurs, insisting he hasn’t even decided on the Burnley game yet.
Earlier this week, reports from Germany suggested Bernd Leno had been informed that whilst he wasn’t going to feature in the starting lineup to face Burnley, he’d be back in the team against Tottenham Hotspur the following week.
But speaking in his press conference on Thursday, Mikel Arteta denied he’d picked his starting goalkeeper for the Spurs clash, and insisted he hadn’t even made a call on who would make the team this Saturday.
“I don’t know where they are coming from but they are ahead of me,” Arteta joked about the reports of Leno starting in the derby game (via Charles Watts and Chris Wheatley). “Some days I read things that I haven’t decided yet.
“I haven’t made a decision for Saturday, so imagine for the north London derby!”
As mentioned in our previous coverage, it would have been strange if Arteta had already made a decision. It’s hard to think of any other big club where the starting position is decided in advance on a game-to-game basis.
There are obviously some teams where the two goalkeepers are so close in ability that you essentially just pick the one in form on matchday. It appears Arteta believes that’s the situation at Arsenal at the moment.
But it’s a different matter to be telling a goalkeeper they’ll be starting a game weeks before it happens, and that they won’t start any matches in the meantime.
Arteta also denied reports of any falling out between Leno and himself or the rest of the squad, saying: “No, that’s not true. He was top with his teammates in training and everything. That’s not true.”