Unless Aaron Ramsdale has had a weekend worthy of Lazarus, it’s expected that Bernd Leno will be in goal for Arsenal at Crystal Palace on Monday night.
It’s widely expected that the Germany international will leave Emirates Stadium in the summer having fallen down the pecking order but before then he could play a vital part in the club’s quest for Champions League football.
With Ramsdale sidelined by a muscle injury, Leno enjoyed his first Premier League start in five months when the Gunners beat Aston Villa two weeks ago and looked unphased by the added pressure as he saw out a clean sheet.
It’s nothing less than manager Mikel Arteta expected from a player who has demonstrated a professional attitude throughout his time on the bench.
“What you want to have in every position are players that are reliable and can perform, whether they’ve been playing recently or not,” said the Spaniard.
“In the goalkeeping position it’s no different, that is why we bought Aaron, to get the standards higher, to bring different qualities, different ways of understanding and acting during matches, and different experiences.
“With Bernd we have the capacity to play him [on Monday] and we know what we’re going to get.”
Reflecting on the way Leno has dealt with his changed circumstances, Arteta continued: “When he’s been playing for 10 years that meant someone has been there waiting for that opportunity.
“I have a lot of sympathy with every player that doesn’t play and doesn’t get the chances they probably deserve but unfortunately that’s the game.
“He’s been consistent in the way he trained, the way he behaved, in those months, waiting for the opportunity and, when he had it, to take it.”
In the build-up to tonight’s match, Arteta also took a moment to praise Cedric Soares for doing his talking on the pitch having worked his way back into favour.
The Portugal international has provided three months of solid cover at right-back in the absence of Takehiro Tomiyasu and was recently rewarded for his form with a recall to the Portuguese national team.
The 30-year-old says self-belief has helped him come through a difficult spell.
“You need to believe in yourself,” Cedric told the Evening Standard.
“I came to Arsenal because of what I did in my career and by doing every week what I aim for. I was fighting for it and then achieved this.
“And now, I need to fight for my spot. This is completely natural and normal. You need to keep working and believing in your skills, knowledge, performance and mentality.
“In a natural way the truth always comes out. As we say in Portugal, it’s like water in olive oil, the truth comes to the top.”