Former Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann has given the benefit of his wisdom towards Unai Emery’s choice between Petr Cech and Bernd Leno
The new Gunners boss elected to go with veteran shot-stopper Cech for his debut Premier League game last weekend over new young gun Leno, who Emery signed earlier this summer from Bayer Leverkusen.
But the decision to start Cech in goal failed to pay off as Arsenal fell to a 2-0 defeat to reigning champions Manchester City in what was largely an underwhelming performance.
Although Cech himself seemed to struggled with Emery’s new system at Arsenal of playing the ball forward from the defense, the 36-year-old did make some saves from Ciity during the game.
And Lehmann, who was the goalkeeper for Arsenal’s “invincibles” that went the entire Premier League season unbeaten in 2003/04, feels that Leno must now respond to this latest setback by showing Emery what he can do in training.
“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,” he told Sky Sports.
“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.
“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!”
We've got more work ahead of us yet – but we're just getting started
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) August 12, 2018
The former Germany international is surprised by Cech’s struggles to adapt to Emery’s playing tactics at Arsenal.
“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,” said Lehmann.
“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.”
Cech’s struggles to adapt nearly saw him score an own goal.
But Lehmann is certain that the former Czech Republic international will adjust.
“Even at the age of 36 you can practice and improve, but it’s the amount of passes you have to do,” he said.
“Also, sometimes it is better to not to do what the coaches ask because at that moment you understand the game better than anybody else.”