Arsenal managed to keep yet another clean sheet, and Bernd Leno had to make even more whimsical saves. We don’t need Allstate, we’ve got Bernd Leno.
I have been gushing about Bernd Leno from the moment he arrived at Arsenal. I’ve been comparing him to Wojciech “the best keeper in the world” Szczesny plenty as well. Because it’s too easy to do. A class keeper without a cohesive defense is going to be made to look amateurish far more than he deserves.
But here we have Leno, suddenly fortified behind the Great Wall of Mustafi, and just like that Leno has gotten even better than he has ever been before.
Funny how that works. You give an elite keeper a competent defense and suddenly everyone is talking about how he’s an elite keeper.
Such was the case against Olympiakos. With yet another clean sheet in the books, we can look back at all the goals we nearly surrendered, but for fantastic goal keeping, perhaps the occasional bit of luck, but most importantly, and all-around performance from keeper to our brand new rightback, Sokratis.
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It’s one thing when Leno is stranded on Leno island, parrying 800 shots on target, but still surrendering three goals because no one is there to help him. It’s another thing when he only has to parry ten or so shots and surrenders no goals because his defenders are actually there to do something for him.
It makes everyone look better, but it really makes Leno look better. Because ask any irresponsible journalist, when a team isn’t able to keep clean sheets, it is completely the keeper’s fault. Don’t you forget it.
Leno is our player of the season. He should be knighted. Canonized. Given some land. I will refer to him as Baron Leno. All necessary steps to fully show him the appreciation we the fans should have for how clutch he has been throughout the metamorphosis on defense. If all goes according to Mikel Arteta‘s plan, the days of Leno island are long gone. If Mustai and Luiz can become a comprehensive defensive force, then it’s an open book what we could do with a healthy Calum Chamers, William Saliba, dare I even say Dayot Upamecano.
Or, hell, if Mustafi and Luiz are for real, then what’s the hurry to get away from them? Whatever the case, we know that the guy at the back, behind all of it, is as sturdy as can be.