Bernd Leno put in another top performance in goal for Arsenal to earn a point on Sunday, despite the criticism aimed at him for not being Emi Martinez.
Every time Bernd Leno steps onto the pitch at the moment, Arsenal fans hold him to an impossible standard. After Emi Martinez’s good form for a couple of months at the end of last season led to his departure, that’s now the bar Leno has to reach every matchday.
The problem is that even Martinez won’t reach that level consistently. Goalkeepers all have periods of good and bad form, so they should never be judged entirely against their best performances.
It doesn’t seem to matter that Martinez has actually conceded more goals from fewer games in the league this season, with both goalkeepers outperforming their expected goals against. If Leno isn’t perfect, he gets hate.
The result is that I appreciate top performances like the one against Leeds United at the weekend even more. The goalkeeper isn’t letting the criticism get to him, he’s bailing the team out instead.
Love it, Bernd 👊 @Bernd_Leno | #LEEARS
Leno’s save from Patrick Bamford was world-class, from a partially obstructed viewpoint at close range. A number of other saves on the day kept Arsenal in the game. He had the woodwork to thank for the clean sheet too, but it was an excellent showing.
There are so many positions where Arsenal are struggling right now, and goalkeeper isn’t one of them.
Leno is more than capable of helping the team achieve their goals this season, he just needs better performances ahead of him.