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Bernd Leno needs to be man of the match less

Arsenal has been on a pretty steady run under Mikel Arteta, but Bernd Leno needs to start doing less if the club is going to do more.

I have had nothing but good things to say about Bernd Leno this year, even going back to when Unai Emery was in charge. He is Arsenal‘s player of the season by a healthy margin and I completely agree with the claims that if he played for City or United he would be heralded as one of the best in the world.

Because, quite simply, he is one of the best in the world. No question about it. This man does everything you could want a goalkeeper could do, but in typical Arsenal fashion, that also means that he will still occasionally lose 3-0 despite taking home the man of the match award.

Leno was simply fantastic against Manchester City, just like he has been simply fantastic in so many matches under Mikel Arteta. Matches where the Gunners needed him to preserve slim leads, or to bail out this defense and preserve what has otherwise been a pallid effort.

While it’s wonderful that we have a goalkeeper capable of producing a consistent supply of miracles, if we’re going to improve, we’re going to have to stop asking so much of him.

You can’t have your goalkeeper be your most frequent man of the match. That isn’t a successful business model for a team hoping to get back into the Champions League. Your goalie is your last defense, your failsafe, the last hope at a saving grace. Not your first responder.

Look at City. Ederson is one hell of a keeper, but since the Gunners weren’t able to get a shot on goal, he played the whole match in relative obscurity and didn’t get called into action.

Instead, his outfield players made the day rather boring for him.

When is the last time Bernd Leno was bored? Okay, probably Newcastle. But it hasn’t been as consistent a thing as it needs to be.

It’s not going to get any easier with a battered centerback corps, but somehow, someway, Mikel Arteta and the crew have to figure out a way to give Leno some respite. We don’t want to see another keeper tarnished by the team’s inability to support him.

Next: Player Ratings vs City

Of course, in the meantime, we can all rest easy knowing what this guy is capable of.

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