This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
When Arsenal trudged off the pitch following their 2-0 loss against Leicester City, there may have been people in search of someone to blame for the defeat.
Some looked towards Emery for his tactics and substitutions, while others will have found someone on the pitch to hold accountable – there may even be those who blamed Granit Xhaka.
One man who won’t have had many fingers pointed towards him is Bernd Leno, as the goalkeeper made 5 saves, catching 4 of them, and wasn’t given any chance by the clinical finishes of Jamie Vardy and James Maddison.
In fact, the German was seen as Arsenal’s best performer during the game by WhoScored, with an overall rating of 6.9.
This lack of fortune, despite a big effort, is not a one-off for Leno, as he has actually made more saves than any other goalkeeper in the Premier League so far this season, with a total of 49.
A team with aspirations of finishing in the top four should not be have a stopper who is placed under that level of pressure, and it says a lot that he is joined in the top five save-makers by Matt Ryan, Aaron Ramsdale, Ben Foster and Tim Krul.
To compound this misery, Burnley are the only side in the current top 10 to have conceded more goals than the Gunners this campaign.
A weak defence is a problem Leno has had to deal with since arriving at the Emirates, as last season, Tony Cascarino told The Times, via football.london: “I’m still unsure about Bernd Leno, the goalkeeper, too, but I feel sorry for him when you consider the lack of quality in front of him.”
This came during a campaign in which the Arsenal goalkeeper looked devoid of confidence, making 5 errors that led to goals in all.
The stats indicate that the 27-year-old’s performances have improved since that quote, and now it’s time for those in front of him to offer starker protection to his goal.
It’s damning for Unai Emery that Leno has made the most saves in the league and yet they’re still conceded the second highest number of goals in the top ten.
He’s got big problems to resolve at the club, and the defensive stats hint where his priority should lie.