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Unai Emery explains decision to play Bernd Leno ahead of Petr Cech

Arsenal manager Unai Emery has said that he is pleased with the performances of both Petr Cech and Bernd Leno, though he decided to go with the latter for the Premier League game at Crystal Palace. Cech had started the season as the outright choice between the sticks but a hamstring injury against Watford forced him off the pitch.

Since then, Leno has maintained his position in goal across all competitions and he continued to keep his spot for the recent London derby versus Palace which finished 2-2. Speaking after that game, Emery highlighted that he is pleased with the impact from both shot-stoppers and Cech can expect to receive some gametime in the forthcoming weeks after recovering from his injury setback.

He said: “I am very happy with both. The performance of both goalkeepers and also Emiliano Martinez is very high level, but today I think it is good to continue with Leno because he is playing at a very good performance. But also Cech is with us today and he has the possibility to play the next matches, but for today the first decision [Leno] is to start the match.”

Leno was widely expected to cement the number one role upon
“the switch from Bayer Leverkusen during the summer but Emery decided to stick with the experience of Cech in goal.“
However,as the season has progressed, there has been a clear difference with respect to “the ball-playing abilities“ of both players and Leno has quite rightfully earned his position after barring looking uncomfortable with possession in hand.

Based on this, Leno may continue to reign supreme between the sticks for the Premier League but Cech has the opportunity to work his way back into the mix, should the German go through a lean patch. Cech is likely to start in goal when the Gunners entertain Blackpool in the League Cup fourth round on Wednesday night.