Thursday, December 7, 2023

Arteta thankful to Leno, pleased to build momentum

After a nervous evening at the Emirates, Mikel Arteta was very pleased to see his Arsenal side beat Newcastle United 2-0 at the Emirates to secure a place in the FA Cup 4th round.

Substitute Emile Smith Rowe broke the visitors’ resistance in the second half of extra-time before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang added a gloss to proceedings with three minutes remaining.

The mood in N5 might have been very different had keeper Bernd Leno not come to the rescue at the end of regulation time. The German produced a fine stop to deny Andy Carroll from snatching an unexpected victory.

“We had to patient,” the boss told afterwards. “They are a team who are well-organised and make it hard for you.

“We had the chances I think, very big chances to score much earlier but when you don’t do that, the game is open.

“If you don’t do that in your box, you need your keeper in a key moment – like it happened after the corner kick on the counter – to save you.

“Bernd did it in a magnificent way and at the end we scored two and deserved to go through.”

The win, a fourth in a row for the Gunners, ensures our quest for a 15th FA Cup continues and builds further momentum ahead of two important league games this week.

“It’s great to keep the momentum going, to keep winning and keep the boys’ confidence high. Now we have Palace, five days to prepare, let’s go for it.”

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True, Leno pulled our iron out of the fire. All in all, it wasn’t an inspiring performance by any means but it does keep the winning streak going at least. And Auba scored – quite a rarity to be sure so perhaps that will open the goals floodgates for him.


Unfortunately we aren’t Man City, you can’t not play your best 11 against any PL team and expect to be able to put them away with ease. I understand rotation and why it’s needed but I hate it.


For me Arteta has fallen on something that works, tierney bombing down the wing, smith Rowe working in the pockets, saka being saka. These are the players he must pray stay fit, they click, work, up the the tempo, make everyone around them better. Oh and also Leno. The rest are icing on the cake

On the right path?

ESR a natural number 10 already with exceptional footballing intelligence. We are a better team with him on the pitch.

Hank Scorpio

It’s great to see ESR thriving but the problem is we’re relying on a young previously injury prone player and don’t have any other player capable of playing there. Willian was terrible there, Laca has been tried to limited success and Ceballos and Willock are not a natural fit, we can’t mention the O word and Saka is untried there and we also don’t want to burn him out. Will be interesting to see how & when this is addressed.


If we can get Willen back to some type of form; he would be the perfect backup to SR at the #10 at least until end of season.

SB Still

Don’t forget Martinelli. I know we have been winning without him. However against Chelsea, he was one of the 1st to play positive, fearless and taking the game to them.

Its terribly unfortunate that he is injured again.

The Far Post

The CBs have also be fairly steady, winning duels, cutting out crosses. The defensive side generally has had fewer panic moments, although I still get very nervous that our shorter players go 1-on-1 defending the opponent’s taller ones.



Kartik Iyer

To be honest I’m as frustrated as you are with Willian. But if we’re stuck with him, might as well get his confidence up by playing him. Hopefully if he can muster up some decent performances then we can have him as backup/squad filler. Coz at this point I don’t think anyone is going to take him off our hands. But it’s hard to believe how shit he’s playing right now.

Naked Cygan

I was hoping this game would raise his confidence too, but after watching the game I belive he should never play for us ever again. At some points of the game I felt he has just come to Arsenal to fk us over. How can he be soooooooooo sh*it?

On the right path?

I reckon he is still secretly getting paid by Chelsea. Instructions to break up play and slow the attack down

Hank Scorpio

He needs to stay on the right and hasn’t played any serious minutes along side a proper 10. He might provide a bit more. That’s probably just me being optimistic about the 3 year 220k a week shitshow Edu and Arteta have provided us with


Are we going to keep inflating his wages? First it was 100k, then talk of 200k, now it’s 220? I guess his wages don’t matter. Even if he were paying the club 1 million every time he played it’d still be a loss.


His shit is unbelievable. He’s now receiving pension at Arsenal. As it is he lacks confidence. Against Newcastle he was more negative than any positive.


Let’s keep this momentum going, we need to go on a little run now. Lets put 5 or 6 or 7 of these together and see where we are on the table by march. Looking forward to Partey, Gabriel, Martinelli getting back in the team.

Also I’m worried Long term we might need a LB cover for Tierney. I don’t think if AMN would like playing LB long term. Just a thought.

Public Elneny

We’ve recalled Tolaji Bola from a loan spell at Rochdale in League 1. He’s 22. Does anyone know if he has the potential to be back up at least til summer?

On the right path?

Tierney is world class. Doesn’t matter who we bring in, tierney will be missed when not playing. AMN… love him in that role but he ain’t Tierney. Dont forget Saka in that role… he was really good. Not so bad. Great bunch.


I think for what SAKA brings going forward, we don’t have in other players to replicate his output in attack. Like Pepe plays RW and he’s utterly useless but When Saka plays RW and Auba or Martinelli on the left we are more balanced and more of a threat going forward. If we have to move Saka to LB we will suffer going forward. Saka reminds me of Bale. When bale first started he was a LB but at some point coaches realized what he brought TOT he team going forward was too valuable to sacrifice by playing him at… Read more »

We haven’t recalled him – his loan was only for a half season. I fully expect he’ll go back out on loan, or released. But probably not to Rochdale as he seemed to lose his place in their team in December.



Mikels Arteta

We need to be on the lookout for good prospects at both LB & RB

AMN would make a quality RB if he choose to nail down that position

Johnny 4 Hats

To be honest, the minute I saw Carroll’s name on the teamsheet, I assumed he’d play a blinder and cause us plenty of trouble.

Good to see Leno intervening in fate and saving our blushes as well as Big Mad Andy’s hoofed shots.

Obama Young

At this point in his career, Carroll is a pretty good centre back.


To be fair to Leno too, he has been world class over the last month. His first two months of the season were a little shakey, but he has been really strong lately, particularly with commanding his area and even holding onto shots, which were both weaker areas of his.

Adrian Drum

Thanks to Leno else we would be out of FA cup. Great save and then that dive to save rebound.

Obama Young

Yes, swiping away the rebound, and then getting to the ball first to fall on it, were at least as impressive as the initial save.


Big save at the end of normal time by Leno, now let’s get a nice home draw in the 4th and 5th rounds.


That was one hell of a save, best keeper we’ve had since Seaman?


Mad Jens for me.

Public Elneny

Jens at his best was genuinely up there with some of the best goalkeeping I’ve ever seen But he also had some very poor patches. Lost his place to Almunia, which was a travesty of a decision, but still embarrassing for him Leno has been very consistent but probably doesn’t have it in him to be as dominant as Jens at his best. He’s a flawless shot stopper, and otherwise pretty solid in all other aspects. His claiming of crosses isn’t a real weakness per se, just a comparative one A couple more years like this and that won’t be… Read more »


You must have forgotten the circumstances that led to Lehmann losing his place to Almunia, or you wouldn’t have called it a travesty. Lehmann started the season with a massive howler in each of the first two games (Fulham and Blackburn – both resulting in goals, and the latter costing us two points), following some howlers at the back-end of the previous season. And the decision was vindicated, as Almunia had a great season (remember when he saved Robbie Keane’s penalty at 1-1, and then Bendtner came on as a sub and scored the winner with his first touch?) –… Read more »

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

I know most or all won’t agree, but Jens didn’t fill me with confidence. I always thought he was a bit dodgy


I agree, I was never 100% confident with Jens, not in his ability, that was never in question, it was just you never quite knew what he was going to do. I don’t get that feeling with Leno I does what you’d expect 9/10 times


Maybe but I’ll always be convinced we wd have won the CL if Jens was in goal not Almunia. Even with 10 men. Jens would have stopped both goals in the form he was in. The second in particular. Of course that’s hyperthetical. It’s a tragedy that he was sent off. Not that it was a bad decision.


You’re absolutely wrong – many would agree. I feel Lehmann was the weak link in the Invincibles. That team would have won the Champions’ League with any average, but steady, goalkeeper. Lehmann would get bored when he’d have nothing to do and get unnecessarily involved; often resulting in a long-range open goal for the opposition – great reward for the rest of the team for defending well.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

That sums him up perfectly.


Lehmann’s penalty save in the semis was the reason we made it to the final in the first place.


Nowhere near the class of Seaman. We’ve had Lehmann and Cech who were far superior and Martinez of course. Despite his great save I have very little confidence in him at all. His ball distribution is slow and when under pressure is error prone.


I just don’t understand where you are getting this from. Do you watch the same games I do?


I certainly do and have never been convinced of Leno from day one. Yes he is capable of making great saves But his lack of presence and constant errors fill me with trepidation.


Get some sleep Martin


I’m very wide awake and am pleased that there was an outcry by many fans who realised that Arteta sold the wrong keeper. I just hope that Keno will not cost us too many points this season as he has already. However as bad as he is I only hope he doesn’t get injured so as we have to bring in the worst keeper in our history.

Charles MMM

I believe you have a point there. He’s a very good shot stopper, but I rate Martinez over him in the areas of ball control & distributions, command of the penalty area, organization & communication skills during corner kicks/free kicks and ability to inspire general confidence. Leno is good, but could be better. He scares shit out of me when teams press high with the ball at his feet (makes the wrong pass 6/10 in such cases). Observe him closely during pressure, and see how he adds unnecessary pressure to the defence in such scenarios. But having said all that,… Read more »


To be fair playing in the Invincibles meant Lehman had to play sweeper keeper to support the high line, so he was always going to get caught with his trousers down at times. His personality and leadership was a big part of that team though. Cech I think doesn’t get the plaudits he deserved for his reliability and command of the box. He was admittedly slow to get down to low shots but he was more consistent than a lot of our recent keepers. Leno’s distribution is improving and he’s one of the best shot stoppers in the league. His… Read more »


Noticed how slow our build up play is with MARI and LUIZ they did well today had a decent game but they’re both VERY slow with their passing and build up play. Pepe I hope we can sell him in the summer. we need to be brave and just cut ties with players who are not performing in the summer. I feel arsenal are always too reluctant in selling players they wait wait wait maybe the player will get better and then he doesnt but then it’ll be too late because now the player is in his last yr of… Read more »


Definitely agree we were slow in build up but as poor as Mari and Luiz may have been. Elneny and Willock never took the bull by horns. Thought it would have been an ideal game for Cabellos. He would at least have added a bit of zip and looked like a player coming into form. Truth be told great to get the win and clean sheet but best part may just be it showed the absolute divide in class heart and application from ESR Saka Laca and Martinelli and Xhaka to be fair from that of Willian Mo Willock and… Read more »


Did you really think Mari had a bad game? Was arguably a candidate for man of the match and marshalled our defence brilliantly


Agree a bit a bout Luiz, but often he’s looking up to pick a pass. Hate that he takes an extra second at the back when we’re pinging it around trying to beat the press though. He dawdles!


Exactly I’ve noticed this too. And it’s not just the slow 2 3 touches on the ball it’s the weight of pass. The weight of pass is too soft and too slow it takes ages to get to the other player. I’ve noticed that with Mari as well. They don’t pass with conviction. Also Mari chi balls hang in the air too long and are too soft they rarely find its intended target. Gabriel whips it in with pace. Pings the ball with pace. Luis is capable of doing that as well but his huild up is just a tad… Read more »

Kartik Iyer

Hopefully this performance puts to bed all the “we sold the wrong keeper talk”. Leno is just as good as any other keeper in the league.




It will not for me. Martinez was vastly superior in every way. Leno is no more than average and just as bad as Ospina except he’s taller


Support Leno, he is the keeper for us, end of story. Or buy an Emi jersey and root for Villa but either way, railing on about a player who was borderline our best player last season and is one of our top players again this season is why our fan base continues to baffle me.

If Emi was so good, why couldn’t he beat out Ospina, an over the hill Cech or Leno nor convince 3 coaches he should be ahead of them?

Just call me bobby

Lot of context here to be taken into account. EMI has only just peaked in form. But agree we should support Leno he has been good this season and has adapted well to playing out at the back.

Mikels Arteta

Is that why Martinez had numerous loan spells? Couldn’t get a start in the championship for Wolves. If he was truly vastly superior why didn’t any clubs in European completion snap him up?

Both are quality keepers. Leno has shown his quality and consistency time and time again

As someone has suggested. Go buy a Villa shirt


You are completely free to have your own opinion Martin, but I must say your comment is the most extreme anti Leno I have seen, coming after a period where Leno is clearly outperforming Martinez @Villa. I liked Martinez, but Us getting good money and him getting a 1st choice guarantee was a win-win resolution.


As Villa have the 3rd least goals conceded and having watched some of their games I can assure you that Martinez is totally outperforming Leno. Villa must be very happy at signing such a great keeper so cheaply.

Scott P

Sorry, but if you’re comparing Leno to Ospina, you’re not going to gain much credibility here. Totally different characters and styles of keeper, and Leno was close to our player of the season last year with the number of times he bailed us out when we were playing even worse than we were this year.


I think it was Martinez who was so important to us winning the FA Cup las season. It was amazing how much more stable our defence looked with him in goal.


Our starting 11 was on paper far superior to the magpies dito, but the lads failed to impress. it is symptomatic when our best moves come from a left back and central defense. Willock needs to step up his game if wants more chances, Willian is a shadow of a player, Pepe wants to perform but is lacking natural fluency. Thankfully abua scored, and Smith Rowe and Saka confirmed how mature they are despite their young age.

Leno is the single most important player in our squad right now until we sign an adequate second choice keeper.


We have a good second choice keeper. Sadly he plays as our no 1. Yes we certainly need a new keeper.


I think the reason why we were so poor today was because of the Martinelli injury. perhaps when they realized that Martinelli would not be able to play, they got… scared? Worried? Unnerved? And because of that, they weren’t able to do so well until extra time. Just a thought, but that’s what it seemed like to me

Mikels Arteta

Give Balogun some fucking game time

Charles MMM

I second that but to add.., retain him.


Kept us in the cup with that very critical save at end of second half off Carroll.

Would suggest or defense (despite clean sheet) still needs a bit more work to be truly water tight.

But (even so) having a keeper like Leno so important.

…the worry is back up.

Do not trust Runnarson in the least. We let Macey go, Iliev on loan.

Hopefully we can sort out someone for back up soon.

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