We kept the wrong goalkeeper. Here’s the evidence. (Caution article might cause swearing)

By Tony Attwood

One of my arguments about blogs and newspapers, not to mention radio and TV stations, is that the commentators seize on an idea and run with it.

So the idea grows that Arsenal have a rubbish goalkeeper and need to replace him.   Also Arsenal “needs to trim a hefty wage bill.”   That’s from the Guardian but you read it everywhere.  But who says?  The directors?  Not that I can see.  So it must be the hangers on.  Or those all knowing pesky journalists!

Anyway that suggests that if we are going to get rid of our goalkeeper we are going to bring in someone of less experience – while at the same time bemoaning the fact that we should have kept Emi Martinez.

Two keepers are suggested.  Neto of Barcelona (that’s Caught Offside) and Andre Onana of Ajax (again from Caught Offside, although I am not sure if they are just hedging their bets or it they are wanting to stir up trouble and dismay.)   TBR also have Onana as our incoming keeper, despite the fact that they recognise he is currently serving a 12 month ban!

But why do they want to get rid of Leno?

We know that Mr Arteta must have had some faith in him since he sold Emi Martinez and kept Bernd Leno in the September transfer window, and many have argued that this was a huge mistake.  But let’s consider what those in the business like to call “the statistics” for this season just past.

Players Season Club Goals conceded Clean sheets
Emi Martinez 2021/22 Aston Villa 46 15
Bernd Leno 2021/22 Arsenal 37 11

OK Villa let in more goals but had more clean sheets.  What’s the more important?

And Fo Lo admit that Bernd Leno has insisted he is still happy at Arsenal.  Note the use of “still” – implying that it is quite amazing that with a club in this much crisis and turmoil (which we know to be true because the media keeps telling us) has a happy keeper.  And he is happy, FoLo says, “despite reports he could leave this summer.”!

And reports from whom, we may ask.  Why its Football London!   They also invariably mention the Leno is German.  Why is the fact that he is German worth of mention I wonder.  We are never told.

But the the infamous FoLo do tell us that “football.london understands Leno is open to leaving Arsenal this summer with the club willing to sell him for the right price. It comes with a number of young prospects in the wings, including Arthur Okonkwo, who is set for a new deal amid interest from a number of top clubs around Europe.”

No evidence of course – but then you can’t expect journalists to reveal their sources.  They will reveal their biases all day long, but not their sources… because… their sources are by and large fantasists.

So how did Leno, and our ex-man Martinez get on last season?  If the league is measured in terms of defences Arsenal were third conceding 39 goals – three more than Chelsea.

Team P W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Manchester City 38 27 5 6 83 32 51 86
4 Chelsea 38 19 10 9 58 36 22 67
8 Arsenal 38 18 7 13 55 39 16 61
11 Aston Villa 38 16 7 15 55 46 9 55
    As for Leno here are the details…
  • Joined Arsenal in 2019, 9th best defence.  51 goals against
  • In 2020 8th best defence.  48 goals against
  • in 2021 third best defence 39 goals against

Now we can argue about  how much of this was Leno, but basically Leno is the man who is getting better.

Time span Played Goals against per game
2020/21 post-Xmas 22 0.90
2020/21 all season 38 1.03
2019/20 all season 38 1.26
2018/19 all season 38 1.34
2017/18 all season 38 1.34

That gives the hint that since Christmas it wasn’t just the attack that improved it was the defence too.  But here is one more bit of data that might be of interest.

Club Goals conceded since Xmas Position
Manchester City 14 1
Chelsea 19 2
Arsenal 20 3
Manchester United 20 3
Liverpool 22 5
Everton 23 6
West Ham United 26 7
Leicester City 27 8
Tottenham Hots 27 8

Yes for the last two thirds of the season we had the third best defence in the league equal with Manchester Un, and better than the might of Liverpool, Leicester and Tottenham.

So I ask again, why given that our defence was doing so well, would we spend time selling our goalkeeper?   Apart from the answer “because he’s shit” which I have been sent a couple of time, and which I reject on the grounds that there is a certain lack of logic there, I have no answer.


12 Replies to “We kept the wrong goalkeeper. Here’s the evidence. (Caution article might cause swearing)”

  1. Great article as always. The Onana rumours are probably the weirdest I have read in a long time, still there are tons of ridiculous fanpages and blogs out there who just spread it without using their brains. Like always.

  2. After Mesut, Granit, Shkodran, Laca, Hector, Ospina, etc., etc. …; ladies and gentlemen, I give you Bernd Leno, the German lad who kept our head above water for so long, before feeling a little bit under the weather for 3/4 games – and becoming straight away the target of the so-called arsenal “fans”, whose “gamesofthronesesque”, primitive idea of a contribution to the success of this football clubs seems to consist in picturing themselves as Ramsay Boltons, and regarding our players as Theon Greyjoys, to be tortured away into performing at whatever insane expected level they have in mind.
    It’s very hard not to picture the Arsenal “fanbase”, especially on twitter, but also on many blogs, as a bunch of hyenas focused on eating their own cubs (hyenas don’t do that, actually).
    It’s high time we acknowledged we won’t make it above fourth in a near future, as long as no salary cap – among other rules, I could easily suggest a list – is implemented. But, once our financial limitations are taken into account, our current squad is truly remarkable, and I’d be delighted to cheer the following XI at the start of next season
    With Saliba, Ballard, Aubameyang, Gabriel, Partey, Ryan, Azeez, Torreira, Balogun, Martinelli, Nelson, Cottrell, in the wings, not a cent would have been spent and yet, the only thing these lads would have to fear “is fear itself” … not to mention that with Hutchinson-Patino, I’d be ready to bet we already have the new Saka-Brady in store!

  3. I do agree that our team isn’t an eigth place team. I also agree our manager’s mind is frighteningly agile and complex, he could be the next wenger(that’s the highest praise I can give any manager).

    Because of my experience in management I also believe that to complete what arteta started he must get rid of Leno. We have been led to believe he was close to ozil and he is beginning to sound like him. Love the club- happy and wants to honor his contract- no talk of support for the manager. I know that the lack of evidence is not evidence but I have a feignt suspicion he could form a divisive clique. Any threat to the manager must be minimized or removed if he is to perform.

    I am not an ozil hater, but I stopped being a huge fan, I try to keep the good memories but it would be easier if all his potential sources of influence was gone. I would rather a diff keeper for that simple reason, even if the keeper is slightly inferior or about the same, it would remove the potential harm to our team whether it’s real or imagined

  4. When I said management, I meant business management. I have never run any football team or club. I am just a fan applying knowledge from managing my sales team and the experience of having an ex staff corrupt a good current staff.

    I want everyone associated with ozil gone, unless they had clearly been against the negativity he brought, because in my experience it’s the same people who got fooled and stay Fooled once, that are most likely to get Fooled a second time and a third and a fourth and a fifth.

  5. yep, tony, i know, i’ve read you …
    but if we’re second by christmas 2021, whichever cheat (chelsea, city) will be behind us will buy a whole new team of top-level, £300k/week international players during the january transfer window, and there’s more than an outside chance that we would slide down right away
    by the way … canceling this january nonsense is another of the “rules” I alluded too in order for the game to be a little less rigged
    i might be too pessimistic, and i sure hope YOU are the one who”ll be proven right
    the truth is i don’t envy the chelsea-city fans, at all, i don’t care much about winning league titles that way
    all i want is a competitive arsenal team, with a very strong hale end shade, delivering entertaining performances, winning cups, creating chances, scoring goals – which our current squad has all it takes to deliver … provided we support, and not abuse, them
    keep up with the good job

  6. Le Gall, I think your wish will be granted, a competitive Arsenal team. As long as something lunatic doesn’t happen and the journalists and bloggers get their way I do believe we will be top four again. At which point all the people who were demand transfers by the tonne this summer will say “Fourth is not a trophy”, but actually I won’t mind. I’ll just be happy at the come back and the base on which we can build.

  7. What the stats dont tell you is that Leno is a bit of a Dracula keeper he doesn’t like crosses and doesn’t command his area.
    The stats just confirms how negative we have become as a team. We struggle to score because we are less committed to attack.
    Leno is undoubtedly a good keeper but no more than that and definitely not better than Emi.
    At the time of Emis departure he held the number one position but we would of got more on the market for Leno.
    It was a terrible decision at the time but with our current finances we have to live with that decision, make Ryan permanent and promote one of the youngsters to number two or buy a quality keeper with the money we get from the Leno sale which is unlikely.

  8. Tony

    Thank you for being reasonable, as usual.

    If that gapping hole between 5th and 14th league match had never happened (10 games out of 38 or roughly, one quarter), we would have averaged 2.00 PPG or 76 points. Easily second place, above Manchester United. Sadly, we picked just 5 out of 42 in that interval (0.50 PPG or 19 points which would have made us one of the worst relegated teams ever).

  9. Arse or brain, I’m really sorry but I just don’t understand this. Let me try and go through the points.
    1. Does it matter if Leno doesn’t like crosses. He still helped deliver the 3rd best defence in the league.
    2. What evidence is there that Ryan is a better keeper?
    3. Why change anything about a defence that in one season has moved from being the 8th best defence in the league to the 3rd best. Surely that suggests we are moving in the right direction. Why start ripping it apart by putting in a keeper without experience.
    4. Ryan had 3 seasons as Brighton’s first choice keeper, and this last season was relegated to Brighton’s number 2. What in that makes you think he should be Arsenal’s first choice, again given that our current keeper helped create the third best defence in the League this past season?

  10. arse for brain
    Can you explain why if Leno is as bad as you say why is it he regularly gets in the German squad, I mean what do they know about football compared to you.

  11. A good old fashioned Apples and Oranges comparison.

    You seem to be comparing defenses, not goalkeepers.

    Who made the most saves, and of those saves how many were crucial?

    I suggest that might be a one better comparison.

    Another might be, how many times did the keeper give the ball away?

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