Unai Emery was quick to praise Bernd Leno’s performance in the win over Watford as Arsenal finally recorded an away day clean sheet in the Premier League.
The German made fine stops to deny Craig Cathcart and Etienne Capoue in the first half as the home side sought an equaliser despite being reduced to ten men. After the break, our keeper was similarly impressive, commanding his box as the backline underwent some tactical tinkering from his boss.
Leno’s reward for another polished display will be 90 minutes on the bench in Naples with Emery happy to have two trustworthy keepers in his squad.
“Yes, Leno is really playing with confidence and is helping us a lot,” the Spaniard told his post-game press conference.
“I think Bernd is competitive with Cech and also now we are giving them two competitions, the Premier League for Leno and the Europa League for Petr Cech. They are both giving us a lot in goal.”
Having failed to keep a clean sheet in our previous 16 Premier League away games, the boss was pleased with the defensive solidity shown at Vicarage Road. It was very much needed given how much possession we ceded to a team who probably should have been killed off with a second goal.
“The three points is, I think, the most important thing today,” he explained. “Also, I think we worked well being consistent in our structure, defending their long balls and set-pieces. Here they are a very strong team at doing that.
“After, with the ball I wanted to do better, I wanted to control better with the possession of the ball and with one player more on the pitch.
“We didn’t do that, but in some attacking moments for us, we took chances to score the second goal and didn’t score.
“We needed to defend in the last minutes, very close with everybody to their good action in the long balls, and the second action to be good in defensive moments.”