Leno’s Arsenal Europa League Adventure Could Be First Step To Unseat Cech

When Arsenal splashed out around £22m for German goalkeeper Bernd Leno it was expected that he’d instantly dethrone incumbent number one Petr Cech.

New Gunners boss Unai Emery has respectfully given Cech his backing and has played the Czech Republic legend in each of his opening five Premier League games.

The Spanish coach clearly has a game plan in mind for his new team and that involves the goalie being able to play short passes from inside the penalty area. Veteran Cech isn’t familiar with that style and he’s looked uncomfortable at times when the ball has been played back to his feet.

Twenty-six year old Leno is more used to being a sweeper keeper. Last season in the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen Bernd recorded a 66.7%passing success rate, which was slightly higher than Cech’s 65.4%. Perhaps more significantly, the German internationalist made on average ten passes more per game that Petr.

It’s being reported that the new summer signing could make his debut in the Europa League tomorrow against Ukrainian side FC Vorskla Poltava.

Leno has to make this opportunity count and show that he’s primed to become Arsenal’s longterm number one.

The shot stopper has to use Thursday nights to show that he can be assured on the ball and give the defence added confidence when they too have possession. Czech’s early season mistakes have the fans gasping and that nervousness then engulfs the team.

If Bernd can bring much needed stability to the Gunners backline then Arsenal’s manager will have a tough decision to make.

As I said, Emery has arrived at The Emirates with a clear plan to be better in possession and that includes having a goalkeeper that’s able to clear his lines efficiently with short range passes to teammates.

When the keeper arrived in the summer, Unai Emery said:

“Bernd is a goalkeeper of high quality and experience,” 

“He has been a top performer and regular number one goalkeeper for the past seven years.”

So the Spaniard clearly brought in Bernd Leno to add stiff competition in the goalkeeping department. I understand why the Gunners’ gaffer has decided to keep Cech in between the sticks but the thirty-six year old’s place shouldn’t be guaranteed without question.

Leno might not be overly called upon against Vorskla but whenever he is, the German has to be up to the task and he needs to impress.

If he can shine in the Europa League and Petr Cech continues to make sloppy mistakes with his ball control and passing then I fully expect the torch to be passed on!


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