Bernd Leno may not have covered himself in glory at Southampton, but it’s becoming apparent that he’s not the type of personality to wallow in defeat.
Beaten by two Danny Ings headers in the first half at Saint Mary’s, neither of which he could do anything about, the German had to fetch the ball out of the net a third time on 85 minutes when he was beaten by Charlie ‘generic Premier League striker’ Austin at the back post.
While his efforts to claim Shane Long’s cross didn’t look particularly pretty, Leno says that as a goalkeeper you’re often called-out for split-second decisions. Even though this one didn’t pay off, he’s unrepentant.
“The last goal was a little bit unlucky for me,” he told Arsenal.com. “I wanted to get the cross because Austin was completely free and it was so close.
“No risk, no fun. Maybe next time I will get the ball or I will stay on the line, look at the ball and then nobody says ‘you came out and didn’t get the ball’. That’s the life of a goalkeeper but I would do it again.”
The 3-2 defeat ended Arsenal’s 22-game game unbeaten run, but mitigating circumstances played their part.
Without four centre-backs before kick-off, the Gunners lost Stephan Lichtsteiner and Hector Bellerin to injury during the match and ended with a back four that included two players returning from injury, Nacho Monreal and Laurent Koscielny, and two midfielders, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Granit Xhaka.
Leno is hoping that the return of Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi from suspension will restore some order to his backline.
“It was not easy defensively because this line of defence didn’t play together before,” he reflected.
“We have a big squad so we have many players who can play in defence or at centre back, so hopefully it won’t be a problem. I hope there will be no more injuries.
“After 22 games you can lose a game, so it is disappointing but now nobody talks anymore about the unbeaten run and we can look forward. We have Spurs on Wednesday – another big game – and maybe now we can start another unbeaten run.”
We’re going to assume that “No risk. No fun” is not a soundbite that Emery has been circulating at the Emirates and that Bernd probably meant, “No risk. No rewards”.