To be honest, Emi is living up to what I hoped to see from him and why I said when he went out on loan and we kept Ospina whenever it was that I thought it should be the other way around and got shot down on various forums for saying that.
I’ve been describing him like this for a few years and havent changed my mind on the following:
– He is good at reading the game and coming early. Very under rated by a lot of fans who just see it as an easy pick up or clearance. They dont realise he saw what was happening and stopped it turning into something more serous when I have no doubt Leno would have been on his line waiting for a shot.
– Good at taking crosses and corners.
– Good at telling the defenders what to do. His influence in our defence being better is another thing a lot of fans underestimate. A big part of being a gk is getting the defence to do what you want to work to your strong points.
– Holds the ball rather that lets it spill more than most gk’s.
– Great long range shot saves like this.
– His biggest weak point is close range shots imo. He doesnt have great reaction speed to close range shots and tends to spread himself in the hope he smothers the ball. Leno and Ospina both have far better quick reflexes at close range.
The reason a lot of people like Leno is they like the close range saves and reactions he has. At this he is world class, no doubt about it in my mind. But he is not as good as Emi at the rest of the points I’ve put above imo.
In the last 2 games Emi has made 2 world class saves that most keepers wouldnt have got, this one and the one against the shits he tipped on to the bar. I expect if Leno had been in goal they would have gone in and everyone would be saying no keeper in the world would have saved it.
Watch this clip above again. Look at his reading of the game, footwork to move across far enough and dive to the corner to save it. To me its the footwork that is most impressive. Most keepers dont do that. It is world class.
For me Emi is at least knocking on the door to displace Leno and to be honest I think I would stick with him, for now at least. I wouldnt let Leno back in without having to fight for it.