Why Bernd Leno Should be Our First Choice Goalie

Cech is an amazing shot stopper. He is looking as trim as ever. You can see in his gait that he is battle ready and he proved it in our pre-season match against Chelsea. But one thing happened in that encounter that demands an inquest. Sokratis with the ball was under pressure and Cech had positioned himself to receive a short back pass. Instead of the back pass, Sokratis decided to put the ball out of touch for a corner kick. The resultant corner kick came to naught but why did Sokratis choose that option? Was it out of anxiety that Cech might buckle under that close press?

Bernd Leno’s record last season as a shot stopper isn’t too exciting. Yet we paid in the region of £19m for him in spite of the fact that we had Cech and three other keepers with us. His purchase doesn’t seem to make much sense unless there is something different the management knew he can bring to the team. If so what can that be?

We know that Emery is hired to infuse new life into the team. Unfortunately he has to get on with this task while hostility which starts this weekend rages. That is always going to be tough. Luckily he has had a month of pre-season with most of the squad, enough time to get his message across which though in its infancy is gathering momentum.

The changes he is bringing to the team starts with an added commitment to play the ball out of the back irrespective of the pressure. That is an essential element if the team has to be the protagonist. In the last two friendlies it has been the one area of obvious contrast to our previous pattern of play.

The commitment to this pattern is so central to Emery’s philosophy that it has to be well structured in terms of its tactics and the personnel executing it. Important to its success is that the conductor of this phase of play has to be the keeper, being the spare man that guarantees a favorable overload each time. That means that the keeper must enjoys the confidence of the players around him when with the ball at his feet. He has to be a baller too. Such a keeper is as much an outfield player as a goaltender. Such has been the redefinition of goalkeepers.

Germany is very quick in responding to new concepts in football philosophies. There are already a host of young brilliant modern keepers in the German leagues and Bernd Leno is one of the most exciting of them. We held our breath as he masterfully conducted that phase of the game against Lazio on Saturday. For us fans, it takes some getting used to.

Yes Cech is battle ready for the season but Leno is a basic building block in Unai’s revolution. In the overall scheme of things, today is important but tomorrow is even more important and Leno is there to lead us into tomorrow.

On Sunday we clash with Pep who professes the philosophy that his team travel with the ball. I hope it’s understood what he means by that. Emery is planning to steal the ball for his own journey. Welcome Bernd Leno.

Gooners lets get your take on this.

By PE

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56 Responses to Why Bernd Leno Should be Our First Choice Goalie

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    Good stuff, PE, and a good shout for Leno. I like to see more of him before I judge but he has impressed me too.

  2. Obby says:

    Hope to see Good things this season,Our Defence,Our Strikers ,Our Goal Keeping

  3. allezkev says:

    I’m with you on this PE, Leno for me, he seems to spread a calm among our defenders and that’s going to be a valuable commodity this weekend.

  4. Pony Eye says:

    Clearly Leno was recruited to be a catalyst for change. If that is fully understood it becomes irrelevant whether Cech is a better shot stopper or not. Change has its burdens. Emery must press on with the process of change at some cost definitely.

  5. njk84sg says:

    PE, Leno was bought to cover for the shortcomings of Cech. Clearly Cech was faster and better positioned. Leno is good with his feet but his positioning needs work. Both are able to be starters and the change in GK coach made both of then better.

    So, i will still be rooting for Cech to be the numero uno.

  6. henrychan says:

    Hi all..
    PE.. We must be glad that we have Cech to cover our GK.. if Leno absen.. hehehe..

    Tomorrow will be the deadline TW for PL.. a bit strange to see other clubs out there still can buy n sell till the end of August..
    And we still don’t know what will happened to Ospina, Perez, Campbell and others..
    Will that mean the players from PL such as Pogba for example can still out for Sell even the Club can’t buy anymore..??

    Ramsey Saga can give us another headache.. although I hope it wont happened..
    But if he sold to Chelsea or Barca for 35M or more.. We surely will need to bring another guys.. And I hope it will be Nzozi or Meyer..
    However good our strikers if not supported by great midfielders.. Nothing will happened..

    This Saga just as exciting for me as our Candidate President Election here in Indonesia.. hehehe..

  7. Pony Eye says:

    njk, … I could well be wrong but there was a clear attempt by our team in our last two friendlies to play out the ball the Barcelona, ManC, Bayern way ….. the Pep way.

    That was exactly why Pep insisted from the first day at City that Hart was not part of his plans. Hart is a great shot stopper but belongs to the old school of keepers drilled to hoof the ball up field. Same as Cech. Playing out from the back is far from their comfort zone.

    When Emery talks protagonist he is talking about the team being on top, dominating possession. When Pep talks about his team travelling with the ball, he means travelling with it from box to box. To them to hoof the ball out should be the very last option.

    To me if Emery starts Cech against City it would only be because he considers his team not yet conversant enough with playing the ball out from the back. But I expect him to start Leno all the same. He has to press on with his philosophy.

  8. Pony Eye says:

    Chan, … agreed Cech is a great cover.

  9. Goonereris says:

    To be honest, I will be more comfortable for Cech to be given the starting berth, to allow for a bedding in period for Leno. Throwing him in at the deep end, against City may have a disastrous consequences of Claudio Bravo (City keeper brought in for Joe Hart) proportions. It is the safe thing to do to give Cech the nod until he makes a bad blunder; by then, Leno will be ready.

    Henry, if you meant Max Meyer, he’s already signed with Crystal Palace on a Free.

  10. geoffchase says:

    Hmm

    All your points are logically made, but don’t necessarily add. At least not now. Most distribution from the keeper is basic passing so… imo, your first lines read an awful, awful lot into one moment by a player whose brain power tactically and ability under pressure has been somewhat questioned hereabouts, Now if it was Ozil choosing the corner…

    My 2p — jgc

  11. Pony Eye says:

    Eris …. I don’t think the issue should be the bedding in time for Leno but rather the bedding in time for the new pattern of playing out determinedly from the back. There is a point there in not risking it against City but at the same time Emery has to push on with his changes. He shouldn’t back away from his programme for fear of the “next” match. Tough on him that each match is a contest as well as an opportunity to grow in the change.

  12. Pony Eye says:

    jgc, … hope I got you right but it’s well recognized that Cech is not terrific with the ball at his feet particularly in relatively small spaces. Under such tight situations his involvement transmits nervousness to his players and even to us the fans watching. Emery must press on with his revolution even at some costs.

  13. jw1 says:

    geoff–
    Was in a discussion elsewhere, several days back– on this Cech/Sokratis moment versus Chelsea– and wrote:

    “Also made a mental note of that moment with Sokratis clearing instead of feeding cross-goal.
    His was the correct choice. Much rather concede a corner than risk an error there. There was a window to do as Cech expected– but the reaction time was slim.”

    It didn’t seem a defining act in that moment– just a prudent one. Viewing it through the lens of any of last season’s backpass-Keystone-Cops-moments — I picture Sokratis’ decision in a softer light.

    jw1

  14. Pony Eye says:

    jw … and if it was Leno instead I bet you wouldn’t have pictured Sokratis’ decision in a softer light.

  15. henrychan says:

    Hi all..

    Eris is it true..?? I missed the news..

    Anybody concern about the referee.. hehehe.. Oliver guys.. Still had a bad memory about him..

  16. Shard says:

    Yes, Leno’s ability with the ball at feet is why he’s better than Cech. But the English league especially is also about controlling the box. Does he do that well? Cech has been slipping in that regard too. He comes up with some big saves though.

    It’s a tough one. For instance, how valuable is it really that Leno passes out from the back, when none of our CBs are great passers? Mustafi CAN be but isn’t, and he always has one big error in him, where he’ll either let someone run away, make a stupid tackle for a pen/FK or just pass it straight to the attacker. Even our midfield last year struggled with breaking through a press. Oddly enough, I think it’s Guendouzi who’s been the best at doing that in pre-season.

    I’m not confident about this game at all. But maybe real progress has been made on the training ground, and even if not, City is a good opportunity to see how far behind we are in our aims. So, I think PE’s forward looking approach has convinced me.

    My Starting XI : Leno, Bellerin, Mustafi, Sokratis, AMN, Guendouzi, Elneny, Miki, Ozil, Auba, Laca
    Subs: Cech, Holding, Monreal, Xhaka, Ramsey, Iwobi, Nketiah

  17. jw1 says:

    PE–
    Please don’t make assumptions for me. I can comfortably climb out-on-a-limb solo, thanks!

    I have no preference for GK other than what Emery decides is best at the time or the particular match/competition. Leno is the future; little doubt of that. But a rejuvenated Cech brings broad advantages to the position and the club. I’m pleased at the moment with what both provide.

    In agreeing with Shard, I’ll state our defenders aren’t yet confident of playing from the back. That comes with time and familiarity. What I’d like to see is a Bournemouth-like effort (from early last season) against City. That City won 2-1 on a late Sterling goal (96′). The Cherries played in a 5-3-2 flat back-5 with Nathan Ake in the center CB role (with Charlie Daniels at LB!). Other than Daniels, the other 4 defenders were yellow-carded. Bournemouth packed it in tight– and played physically. Five YCs for Bournemouth– and 6 for City! Cherries dictated City play the match in their fashion. Daniels and Jesus each scored in the first 20– and it was a bare-knuckle match the rest of the way.

    Unlikely we’ll out-finesse a Guardiola squad. Time for some old-school football.

    jw1

  18. Pony Eye says:

    Shard, …… I like your line up. Fine margins but I’d leave a spot for Torreira. He is not only a terrier, he’s got excellent clarity passing his balls. Big question is who gives way. For a 4:3:3 I’d say Mkhi or Laca.

  19. Pony Eye says:

    jw …. it means I lost my money! 😪

  20. Goonereris says:

    So, I am considering a City team that should likely start against us, based on pre-season showing, with the following 11:
    Ederson, Walker, Stones, Kompany, Mendy, De Bruyne Fernandinho, Bernardo, Mahrez, Aguero, Sane.
    The sub bench likely to be: Phil Foden, Bravo, Delph, de Jesus, Diaz, Otamendi, and Gundogan.

    Is this really so frightening that we can’t see us beating them on our ground?

  21. Shard says:

    Based on the results of the World Cup prediction game, I am going to go with whatever Goonereris says. 🙂

  22. allezkev says:

    Gotta say Eris that Sane, De Bruyne, Aguero and Jesus give me the heebie jeebies, but there is always hope, plus going into his opening game with such low expectations will give Emery some wiggle room, everyone and their dog are expecting Arsenal to lose so in a way we can’t lose – if that makes sense? 🤔

  23. Shard says:

    kev

    You underestimate the self destructive power of the Arsenal fanbase.

  24. jw1 says:

    Alright now Shard…
    Eris only outdistanced me– by the margin of Xherdan Shaqiri’s last-second winner against Serbia. Scooping that ‘exact score’ from me! 😦

    That was a lot of fun– lots of plot-twists.
    I’d be up for a Europa League pool. 🙂

    jw1

  25. allezkev says:

    Well Shard, there are many different facets of the Arsenal fanbase, as you know.
    I think that the fans that go to the games, will have a view that is maybe in contrast to those fans for example, on Twitter or Facebook, you must have seen the difference yourself when you’ve visited the UK to take in a game or two.
    I talk to fans in UK all the time, I talk to family and friends who are Gooners and I blog which gives me a view allied to my own, and without exception most fans are prepared to give Emery time. I myself thinks that we cannot really judge for at least two years.

    If we lose to Man City and there is a meltdown among certain sections of the fanbase on certain platforms, I think the sensible thing to do then is to ignore it.

    Me? I’m positive… 🙂

  26. henrychan says:

    Hi all..
    Agreed with you PK.. City guys (Kun, Sane, De Bruyne, Jesus, Silva are all very fast move and lethal.. and that’s why I think we should play Licht than Bellerin.. at least firsthalf..
    And of course Torriera as our DM..
    Guendozi maybe a good passer.. but in term of defense.. I choose Torriera.. and Xhaka or Ramsey to partner him.. both fine for me..

    The positive side is.. our strikers are in the same high with them.. Lacazette, Auba, Mhiki and Ozil will give all team a nightmare if they are in their best form..

    So.. it will be a very interesting game.. Just can wait to see our new chapter after Wenger.. VCC

  27. retsub1 says:

    Well written P E. We haven’t had a real top quality keeper since mad Jens and it has shown. Yes Cech has played good games, but I don’t remember too many games where I have thought afterwards that he was the main reason we won matches. That may seem a little harsh, maybe I just have a poor memory.

    Leno for me and let’s get 100% behind him. I think we have made some wise buys in the summer and we may just surprise Abu Dhabi City. Sometimes the new manager syndrome cuts in , whether this will work with so many new players at the same time remains to be seen, but heck let’s give it our best shot and see what happens.

    I really would like to see a top quality centre back brought in. Strikes me we have 5 centre backs who might perform and Emery will have to decide which ones will do the businesss on Sunday.
    plus we are a little short at left back.

    I can think of a better opportunity to whip City than the first game of the season. Man for man you would have to say they are stronger than us and under the old regime, I suspect the result may have been a little predictable. With a different approach and a few players who are not adverse to roughing City up s little anything can happen

    COYG

  28. Goonereris says:

    Lol, Shard. Luck played a big part in that game, you know. It was indeed, a fun game and somehow, we just didn’t review or compare notes, etc. Anyway, too much to consider. Thanks for the invite, man.

    “Alright now Shard…
    Eris only outdistanced me– by the margin of Xherdan Shaqiri’s last-second winner against Serbia. Scooping that ‘exact score’ from me! 😦” – jw1

    You were a good and fierce competitor, at times jw1. No reason we cannot go again in some other competition. 😃

  29. Jnyc says:

    I’m in agreement with Pony. I want Leno to be the number 1 this season. I would understand if it takes a couple matches to have him ready to start.
    If he starts vs City though, I want it made clear that the “play the ball out on the ground at any cost” practice from the last match vs Lazio is over. We want to do that as much as possible in general , but cannot afford any silly mistakes to put an already dangerous team ahead. Teams get destroyed trying to play catch-up against Manchester city. So, when necessary, kick it long, until we’re completely comfortable in a few matches.

    I don’t know about match fitness for most of the individuals, but I feel like Torreira was playing full matches at a high level just a few weeks ago. I’d be tempted to go with him because City are exactly the type of team he is meant to play against.

    I think Guendouzi is clearly good for 90 minutes, but I’d be hammering it into his head that he can’t give it away in bad areas (you too, Xhaka), or do his risky tackles around our box.

    Sokratis for experience, Mustafi for battling. I actually prefer Lichsteiner, very impressive at the world cup, but expect Bellerin. Licht looks to me like someone who could fill in at CB very well in the future if needed. Arsenes ideas still in my head.

  30. allezkev says:

    That’s Lucas Perez off to the Olympic Stadium for £4m, or if you read the Guardian £5m.

    Wilshere, Fabianski, Perez, it’s like an Arsenal old boys reunion at West Ham.

  31. TotalArsenal says:

    Agreed Bright-Side-Of-Life Kev…. Makes WH even more keen to beat the SPuddies twice for us this season.

  32. allezkev says:

    Welbeck, Jenkinson and Ospina to still be sorted, although transfer windows in Europe close at different times Total, 17th August for Serie A, for most of the rest its the 31st, so for example Campbell still has almost two weeks to sort his future out.

  33. allezkev says:

    Looking at things positively Total, if we don’t sign anyone it’s a ‘sign’ of the confidence that Emery probably has in the likes of Nketiah, Nelson, Willock, Smith Rowe, Willock, Holding & Mavropanos.

  34. jw1 says:

    …positively Total… or totally Positive? 😉

    jw1

  35. Goonereris says:

    Really surprised that other clubs have not come in to compete for Perez and he has to leave for less than £10m, unless it is a concession our club made to allow for they buying club to pay his wages.
    I am not surprised that we may be done with in-comings this window. We do have a quality squad just requiring a few additions and some change in attitude, both elements of which we’ve achieved with the buys and the back room staff changes. All we need now is some luck and momentum.

  36. allezkev says:

    As it stands, our 25 man squad for the forthcoming season is :

    Foreign (17max) Cech, Leno, Ospina, Aubameyang, Xhaka, Monreal, Ozil, Elneny, Lacazette, Mustafi, Mkhitaryan, Kolasinac, Lichtsteiner, Campbell, Koscielny, Sokratis, Torrieira

    English (8 max) Iwobi, Martinez, Bramall (or Iliev), Holding, Welbeck, Bellerin, Jenkinson, Ramsey.

    Under 21 ( no limit) Maitland Niles, Osei-Tutu, Mavropanos, Guendouzi, Smith Rowe, Nketiah, Willock, Nelson, Zelalem, Bielik, Sheaf, Gilmour.

    That’s how I see it, not Champion quality and maybe not quite top four quality, but capable of winning a cup or two and that’s what we are, a cup team and a couple of cups or one cup will do me, happy days. 🙂

  37. Goonereris says:

    Not quite so positive there, Kev…. I feel if we get back to our 2015/2016 attitude, we should get into top 4 in the league and win a cup or two, to boot.

  38. TotalArsenal says:

    Other than MC, there is not a squad stronger than Arsenal’s. The rest is tactics, BST, passion and luck. We will finish second or third this year. YEAH baby.

  39. Goonereris says:

    Total, BST? British summer time, Basic skills test or Buy, Sell & Trade? Which is it?😎

  40. allezkev says:

    Rock on Total 😄

  41. allezkev says:

    Sorry Eris, I just thought that I was keeping things real. 😀

  42. TotalArsenal says:

    Bastardy, Slaying, Terrorising 😀

  43. TotalArsenal says:

    or …. blood, sweat and tears …

  44. Pony Eye says:

    Kev,

    The Premier League is unforgiving! Nice summary.

  45. jw1 says:

    Kev–
    Saw the Guardian’s TW write-up earlier (liked yours better!) — and there was a link to an entire article on Moaninho’s whining– with United denying nearly every of his player requests.

    Made my evening enjoyable in reading it:
    https://www.theguardian.com/football/2018/aug/09/manchester-united-veto-jose-mourinho-wishlist-cash-fears

    jw1

  46. henrychan says:

    Hi all..
    PK.. I think Everton must be watch closely also.. They did okay in the injury time.. hehehe.. by bringing two more Barca after already have Richarlison and Digne (Mina and Gomes) and also Bernard for free..
    How many name was linked to Emirates before..?? Almost all of them.. hehehe..

    Spurs have no money to spend.. Luckily their players are not so sellable.. hehehe..

    Still wondering can Pogba or Hazzard or others sold even our TW was already close..??

  47. allezkev says:

    JW, I get the feeling that those in charge at Old Trafford will not allow Mourinho to sell players like Martial, as they know how good the player is and that he’ll still be at Old Trafford long after Mourinho has gone – probably by next Easter.

  48. allezkev says:

    HenryC, Everton took their spending to £85m, whilst Fulham pushed theirs to an amazing £110.5m, so there’s a few more candidates angling for a top four finish, both Everton and Fulham have good continental managers, the competition is getting fiercer for a Champions League spot,

  49. allezkev says:

    Just read the article JW, doesn’t look great for José does it, now he’s gotta show us how good he is with what he has, which isn’t a bad squad and a squad that finished 2nd last season but even if he can’t finish above Guardiola there’s still plenty of other honours he can target.

  50. njk84sg says:

    They had a couple of decent additions, but Moaning-nho have to clean up his act and rally behind his team, rather than berating them.

    We have a good squad capable of challenging for the title. Too bad Perez left, not Welbs, so we need the whole team to be playing well, even the youngsters.

  51. AB says:

    Fascinating to have some punts in how the season will progress. Can City sustain their levels? Will the spuds be damaged by their small squad and summer work outs, or kick in as their squad matures? And will Liverpool integrate their new players and press on again?

    My hunches. The title challenge will be between Pool and City. I’m hoping Maureen will do his usual implosion in year 3. Spuds are still ahead of us but may find injury hampers them. I think we will do really well to get back into the top 4. I’m after progress, conceding fewer goals. But we will only get into the top 4 if others really fall away. I’m ok with that as this is a two year transition for me.

  52. jw1 says:

    Reckoning you’re right Kev– that unless Jose can find a way to motivate without using a stick– he looks gone– sooner than later. Maybe he’ll try France next– once Teuchel bombs at PSG perhaps? Or maybe AW will pull that rug out from under Mourinho? Now that would be high-irony. 🙂

    jw1

  53. allezkev says:

    Jenkinson linked with a loan to West Brom now, it wouldn’t bother me if he stayed and played in the League Cup with the youngsters and the early rounds of the UEFA Cup.
    Same applies to Joel Campbell as it goes.

    Seems that Emery has welcomed Welbeck back into the fold, I did read somewhere that Danny would be well suited to the pressing game and I have to agree.

    India all out for 107….

  54. TotalArsenal says:

    Welcome back AB ….

    New Post New Post 🙂

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