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.”
Be sad to see Leno go when he does. Always thought he was a solid shot stopper but never really fit the play out from the back element that Ramsdale offers so well. At least we can say we have the best backup GK in the league till the summer and hopefully he leaves us as a Champions League club.
P.S That double save away to Spurs will always stick in the memory!
oof, i remember that double save! split second reaction! excellent stuff
Imagine going into a game of this magnitude with an unproven Matt Turner or a youth goalkeeper.
Really glad to have Leno tonight. Not many better second choice GK’s in the prem.
Matt Turner will surprise you, good shot stopper and good on crosses. They don’t play out from the back in MLS so absolutely not idea about him with the ball at his feet. I don’t think a big game will bother him, have seen him play very well for usa against Mexico. There’s always a big crowd 60-70k in USA up to 100k at the azteca.
It’s sad to see he leaves. Was a reliable goalkeeper after years of ups and downs…
Didn’t Aaron train with the first team yesterday?
No but he still came to training and cheered on Leno from the sidelines.
Truth is he did train yesterday, but only in the gym, did some stretching & resistance flexibility. Promising
Truth actually is that he did three jumping jacks before announcing “Yup! Good to go!” When the physio came to see him and asked if he was definitely fit, Ramsdale pointed to a mark on his shirt and said “What’s that?” But when the physio looked down, he flicked him in the nose before chuckling his way off to the sauna and shouting “Course I am ya soft git” over his shoulder.
Man, you are hilarious
It’s kind of amazing how many of our ex-keepers are currently first-choice for their clubs and their countries–Szchesny at Juve and Poland, Ospina at Napoli and Colombia, Martinez at Villa and Argentina, plus Fabianski for West Ham.
Soon to be current at Arsenal and England with Ramsdale!
Dean – scared of Wenger but enjoyed refereeing TH, DB & PV – an interesting read:
To anyone who has since forgotten the importance of Leno in propping up a bang-average defensive unit and giving us some sort of foundation to build on, I suggest revisiting Blogs’ excellent (and hilarious) “Papabob” piece from December 2019: https://arseblog.com/2019/12/the-man-from-the-small-village/
Seems indeed like Ramsdale had a weekend worthy of Lazarus…