Mikel Arteta denies Bernd Leno’s claim that he wasn’t given a reason to be dropped from the team for Aaron Ramsdale in recent matches.

Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno during the UEFA Europa League Round of Sixteen second-leg match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture date: Thursday March 18, 2021. Copyright: Adam Davy
Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno during the UEFA Europa League Round of Sixteen second-leg match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture date: Thursday, March 18, 2021. Copyright: Adam Davy

Bernd Leno has found himself on the bench for Arsenal in Premier League fixtures lately, with Aaron Ramsdale starting in three consecutive wins against Norwich City, Burnley, and Tottenham Hotspur.

Speaking to the German media, Leno suggested he didn’t have an obvious explanation for why that was.

“There was no clear reason why I was out, but it had nothing to do with my performance,” Leno said. “He (Arteta) is the trainer, he decides. Of course, it’s difficult for me.”

But Arteta responded to these quotes in his latest press conference by insisting he made the situation very clear.

“I had a very clear conversation with him 48 hours before I was going to make the decision,” Arteta said. “Obviously any conversation I have with him is completely private and I’m not going to speak with any media about it.”

You can understand why Leno would want to push the idea that there’s no obvious explanation for his exclusion from the starting lineup.

The German goalkeeper wants to keep getting in his national team, he doesn’t want his stock to drop ahead of a potential transfer next year, so it’s more favourable if it just seems like Arteta made the decision on a whim.

The reality is that it’s not hard to see why Ramsdale is playing, after his last few performances. The English goalkeeper has been confident on crosses and playing out from the back – almost to the point of overconfidence – in an area where Leno is often tentative.

Barring one goal from Heung-Min Son that Ramsdale was disappointed not to keep out, he’s also kept three clean sheets to display good shot-stopping ability.

Time will tell if he can surpass Leno in that regard, but his other qualities make him the right pick at the moment.

As for Leno, it’s not all bad news, as his recent absence from the Premier League starting lineup hasn’t stopped him from being called up by Germany for the October international break.

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.