Soccer

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta made Bernd Leno ‘promise’ before being dropped against Norwich

Arteta praises fans after Arsenal win

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Mikel Arteta reportedly promised Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno that he would only be benched for two games after Aaron Ramsdale was picked ahead of him for their crunch tie with Norwich on Saturday. The No 1 spot appears to be up for grabs at the Emirates, with the Gunners shelling out big money to sign Ramsdale this summer to provide serious competition for the German.

Along with the Arsenal boss, Leno was one of the individuals soaking up criticism following the side’s shocking start to the Premier League season.

Nine shots had flown past him in just three games, while the Gunners failed to notch any goals of their own.

That left Arsenal goalless and on zero points for the first time in their history at that stage of the season.

Arteta clearly needed to try something drastic, and he put together a defensive reshuffle against the Canaries which saw them clinch a 1-0 victory.

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Ramsdale got the nod, and his clean sheet made it two out of two in an Arsenal shirt, although his previous came against West Bromwich Albion in the EFL Cup.

In an effort to keep Leno happy, BILD report that Arteta promised the 29-year-old a two-match break before being reinstated against Tottenham at the end of the month.

If true, Ramsdale will get another chance to extend his early clean sheet run against Burnley this weekend.

However, Gunners fans will surely demand that his stint continues if he contributes to another shutout.

The young goalkeeper was central to Arteta’s fruitful defensive revamp against Norwich, marshalling behind Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ben White and Gabriel.

Although the score-line was far from emphatic, it marked a welcome change from the wayward defensive displays which marred the start of their season.

Having shelled out a sizable £24million fee to land him from Sheffield United, Ramsdale’s role was never going to be that of an average back-up Premier League goalkeeper.

At just 23-years-old, there is little doubt that the Gunners recruited him with a view to eventually putting him in as first-choice.

Such a poor start to the season ultimately gave him the chance to make a case earlier than expected.

Whether Arteta has the gumption to put Leno back in if Ramsdale keeps yet another clean sheet against Burnley remains to be seen, making this weekend’s tie a crucial one between the sticks.

Leno will turn 30 this season, and given he has not exactly lit up the Emirates since his 2018 arrival, the door will always be ajar for Ramsdale to make the step up.

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