The nerves will be jangling as Arsenal takes on Manchester City, but for all the things they have to worry about, there is one thing they absolutely won’t.
This season has been a crapshoot for Arsenal. So many questions asked and so few conclusive answers. At the beginning of the season, the defense failed the club in a big way. It seemed like every matchday, Luiz was making an individual mistake.
The results never came, Unai Emery was fired, Freddie Ljungberg came in as a caretaker, where he was meant to stay for at least a little while, but the results continued to fail and Ljungberg was ruled out of his depth and removed from his spot at the appointment of Mikel Arteta.
Arteta started to introduce order and optimism, with the defense shaping up, but the attack struggling at times to mount a significant and consistent threat.
Arsenal has just one Mr. Reliable vs Manchester City
All through the season, there has been so little to rely on. Granit Xhaka nearly left the club, lost his captain’s armband, then came back and settled. Matteo Guendouzi completely disappeared after Emery was fired.
Luiz went from awful to somehow reliable and even Mustafi salvaged something of his time in North London.
Lacazette hasn’t found consistent goal threat, Aubameyang is all or nothing (although frequently all) and Pepe is only just finding his form.
So many parts, so little reliability. Thus, going into this match at the Etihad, with momentum having been thoroughly wiped out, Mikel Arteta doesn’t have a lot that he can conclusively point to and say, “That’s something I don’t have to worry about.” And by that token, fans don’t have a lot that they can feel all that confident in either.
Optimistic? Sure. Hopeful? Likewise. But there are just too many variables to say you can completely rely on any one thing.
Except for Bernd Leno. Who has become so consistent and so reliable that he’s barely even worth a second thought these days. He doesn’t make mistakes, he doesn’t put his side in danger, he’s always there to make the right decision. He has become that one thing that Arteta and fans alike never have to worry about. He’s going to do his job.
So if you’re looking for something to completely bank on against City and having trouble, bank on Leno. You can’t go wrong. In every other situation, there’s some kind of question mark involved, but not with Leno.