Petr Cech

Arsenal legend Jens Lehmann on the Petr Cech vs Bernd Leno battle

Former Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann has this evening discussed the current battle for supremacy between the posts at the Emirates, between Petr Cech and Bernd Leno.

Arsenal 0-2 Manchester City

Arsenal opened their Premier League campaign at home to champions Manchester City this past Sunday, in Unai Emery’s first competitive fixture in charge of the club.

In the end, the Gunners fell to a deserved 2-0 defeat at the hands of the Citizens, courtesy of goals from Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva.

Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 12: Bernardo Silva of Manchester City celebrates scoring his team’s second goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Manchester City at Emirates Stadium on August 12, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

The Cech vs Leno debate

While much of the discussion in the aftermath of the clash surrounded Arsenal’s tactics as the club’s fans got their first glimpse of life in the Emery era, another significant talking point regarded the starting XI of the capital giants.

A pair of surprise inclusions came in the form of Matteo Guendouzi and Petr Cech, who beat out competition from Lucas Torreira (who is likely still working towards full fitness) and Bernd Leno respectively.

Emery’s decision to opt for Cech over summer signing Leno caused quite a stir amongst pundits and fans alike, with Petr Cech’s hit-and-miss performance having done little to put the debate to bed ahead of another tough fixture for Arsenal this weekend versus Chelsea.

‘Bernd is a good ‘keeper’

Speaking as part of ‘The Debate’ on Sky Sports following his former club’s opening match of what many consider to be an exciting new start for the Gunners, Jens Lehmann, who took his place between the posts for Arsenal from 2003 and 2008, provided his thoughts on the current battle for no.1 status at the Emirates.

Lehmann revealed his opinion that fellow countryman Leno likely needs to showcase more in training to displace Cech as Unai Emery’s first-choice, adding that there is ‘no doubt’ that the former Bayer Leverkusen man is a good goalkeeper:

‘Arsenal is a big club. It’s a different style of game, a different expectation, and obviously a different competition. Sometimes these guys aren’t used to that competition.’

I don’t know how he’s doing in training, but it tells you something if a guy who cost £20m, and has been chosen by the new manager, is not playing.’

MAINZ, GERMANY – SEPTEMBER 09: Bernd Leno goalkeeper of Leverkusen reacts during the Bundesliga match between 1. FSV Mainz 05 and Bayer 04 Leverkusen at Opel Arena on September 9, 2017 in Mainz, Germany. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Bongarts/Getty Images)

‘That’s the strength of the squad, a misjudgement probably, but no-one knows because we are not there in training.’

‘We don’t know who the coaches like. If he tries a new player out, if not the other guy is playing. Bernd is a good ‘keeper, no doubt about that. The question is: can he show more than he did in the past? He must take more risks and continue his development. If he does that – good!’

‘He is still a fantastic goalkeeper’

On Cech, meanwhile, Lehmann, unlike many others, feels as though the veteran still has plenty to offer Arsenal, though he also admitted to being ‘surprised’ by the experienced shot-stopper’s insistence on playing out from the back when under pressure versus Manchester City:

‘He is still a fantastic goalkeeper and apparently he had to change his style, but sometimes the game tells you what to do and not the other way round.’

‘I was a bit surprised that every time he tried to play out, which is not possible, nobody can dictate to you when to play out. He is very intelligent so he knows when to play out and when not to.’

‘Petr has played hundreds of games and I think sometimes he would have kicked it long before, now he is under pressure this year. The game dictates what to do and not a certain style you have to play.’

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