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Bernd Leno’s own goal against Everton should be the final straw in his time as Arsenal No 1. Leno has been a solid goalkeeper for Arsenal since arriving from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer of 2018. The German was one of Unai Emery’s first signings and has been the club’s first-choice stopper since he overtook Petr Cech early in his Gunners career.
Leno has not been a bad signing by any means but his time as the No 1 has run its course and Mikel Arteta should prioritise signing a replacement this summer.
There have been far too many mistakes recently which have directly led to goals.
Friday’s blunder is the most recent of a string of errors from Leno this season.
How he let Richarlison’s tame cross through his legs is probably even beyond the 29-year-old.
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With Arsenal without both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, they need their goalkeeper to be solid at the other end.
But Leno has been anything but that of late, keeping just two clean sheets in his last 16 appearances.
West Ham’s second goal in the 3-3 draw at the London Stadium in March saw Leno inexplicably let Jarrod Bowen’s shot under his body at the near post.
A rush of blood in the 2-1 defeat to Wolves in February saw Leno sent off for handling the ball outside of the box to reduce Arteta’s men to nine men at Molineux and all but end hopes of a comeback in that match.
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Playing out from the back has also been an issue for Leno.
Leno was criticised for his role in Chris Wood’s goal in the 1-1 draw at Burnley, though Granit Xhaka was arguably more at fault.
Olympiakos’ goal in Arsenal’s 3-1 win in Greece last month came about from Leno being out of his goal after putting midfielder Dani Ceballos under pressure when playing out.
The group stage of the Europa League also saw a huge error from the keeper against Rapid Vienna, gifting the Austrian side a goal following a misplaced pass.
Those are just a few of the major mistakes Leno has made this season.
Many Arsenal fans were against the sale of Emiliano Martinez last summer and felt the club sold the wrong goalkeeper.
That may well be the case and Aston Villa would definitely now demand more than the £20million they paid to sign the Argentine, who has had a fine first season at the club.
Arteta backed Leno following Friday’s loss but will know he cannot afford his goalkeeper to make such high-profile mistakes on as regular basis as it has been this season.
Leno has two years left on his current contract and earlier this month said he may be open to a new adventure.
“I am very happy at the club, I don’t know what will come in the future,” Leno said.
“But I am open to everything. Maybe for a new adventure or to stay at Arsenal.”
Arsenal should use those quotes as inspiration to attempt to sell Leno this summer and bring in a hungry replacement who is more suited to Arteta’s style of play.
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