Less than a week away from the start of Arsenal’s 2020/21 campaign at Craven Cottage, Mikel Arteta still has one of his toughest dilemmas since taking charge to solve.
Will Emi Martinez remain is No.1. goalkeeper, or will Bernd Leno take the responsibility again?
Compared to clubs across the Premier League that may be facing similar situations, like Manchester United, it’s not just the on-pitch qualities that will factor into this decision. As reported by football.london , interest in Martinez in particular is high, with Aston Villa understood to be in pole position to sign him if the 28-year-old choose to leave north London.
With his decision driven by his playing time rather than financial benefits, the Argentine has made the requirements for him to stay quite clear – he is to be the goalkeeper Arsenal depend upon. If not, he has interest from clubs that can offer him that luxury.
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Assessing what he has offered to the side in Leno’s absence, his stance makes total sense. Since the German’s injury at Brighton on June 20, Martinez has played 13 games [including his substitute appearance at the Amex Stadium]. In that time, he has earned the trust of Arteta, his team-mates and fans, but also shown a dimension to his game that could push him ahead of Leno in the long-term.
Strictly speaking, it’s how comfortable he is on the ball and his distribution that sets Martinez apart from Leno. Although the German was arguably Arsenal’s player of the season before his injury, distribution was still a massive area for improvement for the 28-year-old.
This was made most evident in the Gunners’ shock Europa League defeat to Olympiacos. The Greek’s winning goal may have come from the second phase of a corner, but that corner came from Leno being indecisive with the ball at his feet, feeling the…