Leno and Cech:-The Battle to be the Arsenal number one


Unai Emery initially favoured his veteran goalkeeper Petr Cech but after picking up a hamstring injury at Watford, Bernd Leno took up the position and he now seems likely to remain there for the foreseeable future. 



It’s caused a debate, not too dissimilar to the Cech/Ospina discussions last term.

In all fairness, I personally didn’t rate the Colombian, even if Cech had broken both his arms and all his fingers, he would have still got the nod from me.

Ospina was as nimble as a wheelbarrow full of bricks and as flexible as a concrete post.

I can’t remember a game where I genuinely thought he was the answer to the goalkeeping problem and when it was rumoured that Panathinaikos were interested , I thought he’d be heading to the Kafenio for a few Ouzo’s.


Where’s the ball ? Butter fingers Ospina.



The debate on Cech and Leno, appears even more one sided but he does retain a core of hardened admirers that think he should stay and fight for his place.

Some Arsenal fans, not many, will say that Cech’s experience in the big games is invaluable, whilst others embrace Leno’s youth and ambition to claim the number one jersey.


Yet it’s obvious that the writing was on the wall for the experienced 36 year old shot stopper.

He has been increasingly under the microscope for the last two seasons and at the start of this campaign, he faired no better than he did at the tail end of the previous one.

He used to look as wide as the goal, seemed as agile as a gymnast and had the energy of a man in his mid 20’s. 





“Only two mistakes today. Starting the game and staying on the pitch”



However, last season, questions started to be asked and Arsenal went searching for another keeper. 

This season Cech has looked incredibly nervy, fragile and indecisive. In his days at Chelsea he was unflappable but at Arsenal, he just hasn’t seemed the same goalkeeper. 

The burden of having a jelly defence in front of him has made him seem unsure under pressure. He has became erratic when trying to command his area and suddenly very unreliable in a crisis.


“ Was it me ?”



Leno was waiting in the wings and seized his chance when it came. Yes, there are times when his inexperience has shown but generally, he has been excellent.

In the recent game with Wolves, the German was recognised as the man of the match, single handedly keeping Arsenal in the game with a string of dazzling saves.


Reliable as a German car, Leno could keep goal for years.


Speculation on Cech’s future continues, which all  seems a bit bizarre, because  he only arrived in North London in 2015 and at the time it was seen as a masterstroke by Arsene Wenger.

Jose Mourinho, during his second spell at Chelsea, had chosen to sideline Cech and make Thibaut Courtois his number one.

Any Arsenal fan that thought the goal would become watertight after the Czech internationals arrival was badly mistaken. 



Mourinho, who some thought had taken leave if his senses for benching the fans favourite, appeared to see something that the rest of us didn’t, an inevitable deterioration and he promptly duped a willing Wenger out of £10 million.

The Special one made a protest about the sale and many thought that it was because Cech was still considered a top drawer keeper but it was simply because of the man’s loathing of Wenger.


    A more familiar sight of Petr Cech in the Arsenal goal.


In the season 2017/18 Petr Cech was guilty of committing the most individual errors in the premier league (6) and there were many near misses where he rode his luck like a thoroughbred racehorse.

It’s a sad but the injury that came out of the blue during a 2-0 win against Watford, may have cost him his Arsenal career.

I  suspect, he will be released at the end of the season, if not before, should the right offer come along. I’d rather he went than face the prospect of becoming a very ordinary keeper,  because during his time at Chelsea, he was probably the best goalkeeper in the World.



Looking to the future, Leno is agile, brave, calm and comfortable on the ball and he appears ready to assume the role of the gunners main goalkeeper.

Unai Emery’s faith has given him renewed confidence and we are now seeing a much improved young player, with a good future ahead of him. 





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