Bernd Leno or Emiliano Martinez: Who should be Arsenal’s number one goalkeeper next season?

On June 20th, when Brighton striker Neal Maupay barged into Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno and injured him for the remainder of the 2019/20 season, Arsenal fans feared the worst.

The German shot stopper had been crucial to Arsenal’s successes so far that season and was arguably the club’s player of the season at that moment, alongside striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

This meant Arsenal’s backup keeper Emiliano Martinez would need to step in, with the Argentine never really making a strong impression during his time at the club, despite being there for 10 years.

However, to everyone’s surprise, Martinez performed beyond expectations, helping Arsenal to an FA Cup trophy and an 8th place finish in the Premier League, demonstrating superb ability and composure on the ball, handling and shot-stopping in particular.

As a result of the Argentine’s incredible performances in the final third of the season, Arsenal fans have been debating throughout the summer whether Bernd Leno or Emi Martinez should be the Gunners’ number one goalkeeper next season. Here are some stats that are averaged per 90 minutes (p90) in the Premier League this term that might help you decide.

Emi Martinez in the 2020 FA Cup final against Chelsea, where the Argentine only needed to make two saves in the whole game. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY THE DAILY POST NIGERIA.

Firstly, one of the most important skills the majority of modern day goalkeepers need is the ability to pass and be composed under pressure, especially in Mikel Arteta’s system. While Bernd Leno has a greater overall pass success rate than Martinez, the Argentine dominates in every other regard in this area.

Martinez seems to enjoy taking more risks with his passing than Leno does, attempting more long range passes than the German, 12.8 to 10 p90, whilst also enjoying a greater success rate with those passes, 30.28% to 25.34%.

This is further backed up by the fact that Martinez has played more forward passes than Leno this season, 14.4 to 13.9 p90, however this could be due to the Argentine playing more passes overall, as he has also played more sideways passes than the German, 14.3 to 13.4 p90.

However, when it comes to shot-stopping, it is more tightly contested between the pair. While Martinez has conceded less goals than Leno, 1.1 to 1.4 p90, he has a significantly lower save percentage with just 26.47% compared to Leno’s 34.51%.

In my opinion, I would still want Leno as our number one goalkeeper next season because I think Martinez’ form has made people forget how important he was for us. While the Argentine is better with his feet, I believe Leno is a better shot-stopper, and he’s not bad on the ball either.

I feel Martinez also needs to perform like he did for a longer period of time, as Leno has performed well for an entire season, including the end of the 2018/19 one, and while I don’t believe this was a purple patch for the Argentine, it remains a small possibility.

*all stats provided by Squawka

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