Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has backed Gunners goalkeeper Bernd Leno to take his chances and become the club’s No1 once again.
Leno has been ousted down the pecking order this season by Aaron Ramsdale thanks to the latter’s stellar performances since his arrival last summer. The German has made just eight appearances in all competitions this season, keeping three clean sheets.
However, with Ramsdale picking up a hip injury, Leno started the Gunners’ last game before the international break against Aston Villa. He kept a clean sheet and made a couple of excellent saves to help Arteta’s side to a crucial victory at Villa Park.
He will now also play his next Premier League game against Crystal Palace later tonight (4 April).
Before the game, Arteta admitted that no footballer wants to sit on the bench. However, he added that the team came first, saying (as quoted by Independent.ie):
“It’s never easy for a player to accept, but we want the best. So if we make the decision to play someone else, it’s because we believe it’s better for the team to play someone else at that moment. That’s it. There is nothing personal about this decision and it cannot be taken personally.”
Arteta also spoke about Leno and explained
“When he’s been playing for 10 years, that meant someone was waiting for this opportunity. What you want are players who are reliable and able to perform in any position, whether they have played recently or not. It’s no different in the goalkeeping position.”
The Arsenal manager continued:
“That’s why we bought Aaron to raise the standards, bring different qualities, different ways of understanding and acting during games and different experiences. With Bernd we have the capacity to play him (on Monday) and we know what we’re going to get.”
“He did a very similar thing to Cedric (Soares) and Nico (Pepe) – he didn’t accept the situation but tried to improve it. And then he was consistent in the way he trained, how he behaved during those months, waiting for the opportunity and when he had it, he took it.”
Arsenal must beat Crystal Palace to regain fourth place
The race for a top-four finish in the Premier League is still open, with Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United still in the running.
Arteta’s side will be the last of the three teams to play their game this week and already know the results of the other two teams. United drew at home with Leicester City while Spurs beat Newcastle United 5-1 to move into fourth place.
If Arsenal defeat Palace, they will reclaim their place in the top four and sit three points ahead of Tottenham and six ahead of Manchester United. The Gunners currently have two games on hand against both teams.
https://www.sportskeeda.com/football/news-we-want-best-mikel-arteta-urges-30-year-old-arsenal-star-nail-spot-starting-xi?utm_source=feed&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=sportskeeda ‘We want the best’ – Mikel Arteta urges the 30-year-old Arsenal star to secure a place in the starting XI