How Arsenal must dread facing Manchester City. Not for the first time in recent years they found Pep Guardiola’s side too hot to handle on Wednesday night, with Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden giving the reigning Premier League champions all three points. Bernd Leno was the star of the show for Arsenal on a torrid evening at the office – and the Gunners must now star to fear the prospect of losing the Germany international.
Arsenal went into the game against City under pressure to perform having been battered by Guardiola’s side at the Emirates earlier in the campaign.
And, somewhat predictably, the Gunners could do little to stifle the threat of the reigning Premier League champions.
Arsenal were unable to make their mark at the Etihad, with City waltzing to all three points courtesy of Sterling, De Bruyne and Foden.
However, the scoreline could have been drastically different for Leno – who was the star of the show for the visitors.
The Germany international has blown hot and cold throughout his time at the Emirates – but has turned a corner since the appointment of Arteta as manager.
And he’s now an undroppable for the Spaniard, with the No 1 jersey his for keeps.
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Arsenal fans on Twitter were full of praise for his performance at the Etihad, with some expressing fears over his future.
“Were it not for Leno, we could be 5+ nil down. Thank You Leno, I love you,” said one supporter.
“How good is @Bernd_Leno….. dread to think what the score would be without him between the sticks,” said a second.
“We would be losing this by 5 or 6 goals by now if it wasn’t for Leno. Shambolic performace from the team to say the least. #afc,” were the words of a third fan.
“I’m a Arsenal fan but I think Leno is wasted at Arsenal. What a good keeper #Arsenal #mancity #premierleague,” a fourth opined.
And another said: “Leno doesn’t deserve this man.”
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Now, Arsenal should be fearing what the future holds for Leno.
He was easily the best player on the pitch for Arteta at the Etihad. If it wasn’t for him, City could have racked up a cricket score.
Arsenal won’t have Champions League football next season. And clubs who will may need a new goalkeeper.
Real Madrid aren’t wholly convinced by Thibaut Courtois, despite the Belgium international enjoying an improved campaign this term.
They could move for Leno as a result, with Zinedine Zidane determined for his side to be faultless in all areas in the future.
Chelsea may even be tempted, too. Frank Lampard isn’t sold on Kepa Arrizabalaga and, if he gets his way, he’d have a new No 1 next term.
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Juventus will need to land a new shot-stopper this summer, too, with veteran Gianluigi Buffon expected to go.
And Borussia Dortmund may look to bring Leno back to Germany if Roman Burchi seals a move away from the Westfalenstadion.
For now, Leno will be staying at Arsenal.
But if he continues to be a shining light amid an otherwise forgettable campaign, Arteta may face a fight to keep hold of his star asset.
History suggests Arsenal rarely keep hold of a star performer if a rival comes calling. Whether that happens this summer is something only time will tell.