Mikel Arteta says his decision to stop the rigid rotation of Arsenal’s goalkeepers is based on a desire to bring better balance to the situation.
In recent years, Arsene Wenger and Unai Emery opted to award game time to the club’s second choice keepers in domestic cup competitions and the Europa League.
Last week, taking charge of his first European game, the Spaniard opted to field Bernd Leno instead of Emi Martinez. It’s a policy he says he’ll stick with while the German continues to impress.
“I have been really pleased with his (Leno’s) performances and I have been really pleased with the person that I am getting to know, how professional he is as well,” Arteta told media ahead of Thursday’s Europa League second-leg tie with Olympiacos.
“The club was playing four competitions, one of the goalkeepers was playing three and Bernd was playing one. I wanted a little bit more balance at the moment and that’s it.”
Given the Europa League represents a viable route back into the Champions League it definitely makes sense that we’re putting our best foot forward in such an important position on the pitch.
Obviously, you have to feel a bit for Martinez, but he’s a big boy and appears to have a decent relationship with Arteta. It wouldn’t be surprising for him to still get game time in the FA Cup when we travel to Portsmouth on Monday.
“Bernd at the moment is number one,” clarified Arteta. “If Emi oversteps him then he will be number one. Whoever I think is better to play, he will play.
“I think that position is evolving as the rest of the game is evolving and other positions are evolving too.
“Before it was just one and he used to play 50 games and every [other] one used to never play. At the moment managers are more flexible, the competition is better, there’s not that big a difference between No1 and No2, which is great for competition and for them to improve and challenge themselves. That I think is the reason why.” “