Bernd Leno

Bernd Leno injury
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Bernd Leno carried off as Arsenal’s injury woes continue

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Arsenal fans hoping for a Bernd Leno injury will be waiting patiently as their injury woes continued in their shock loss at Brighton.

Their star goalkeeper landed awkwardly on his right leg in the first half and was stretchered off with his leg in a cast, as it looked like he suffered a knee injury.

As he was being carried off, Leno was extremely angry with Neal Maupay, the player who pushed him just before he landed, and was pointing and shouting in his face. To add insult to injury, Maupay scored the 95th minute winner for Brighton.

BRIGHTON – ARSENAL FULL REPLAY

This was the last thing Arsenal needed as they lost Granit Xhaka and Pablo Mari to injuries in their first game back after the restart at Man City on Wednesday, while Sokratis, Lucas Torreira, Calum Chambers and Cedric Soares are out injured.

Mikel Arteta was left cursing his luck on the sidelines as Arsenal have been ravaged by injuries since he arrived in late December.

Arteta said after the loss at Brighton that for Leno: “It doesn’t look good but we don’t know anything yet.”

He added that he wasn’t sure if Maupay was to blame as the Arsenal manager was seen talking with Maupay during half time: “It is too far from me, I haven’t seen the actions. I always believe players don’t have intention to injure people and I am sure he did not intend to do that.”

Losing Leno, who has perhaps been their most consistent player this season, is a monster blow and if the injury is as serious as it looked on the pitch then the Gunners are in big trouble as they try and keep their faint hopes of qualifying for the Champions League alive.

Arsenal fans everywhere will be hoping the Bernd Leno injury update is positive but given their recent luck, they will not be holding their breath.

Man City drops 10-man Arsenal

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Kevin De Bruyne wasted little time reminding the Premier League his status as its elite playmaker in a 3-0 win over 10-man Arsenal on Wednesday at the Etihad Stadium.

De Bruyne converted a penalty and set up Raheem Sterling for a goal (video), both opportunities aided dramatically by sloppy sub David Luiz.

Phil Foden converted a rebound from a Sergio Aguero shot as part of 11 minutes stoppage after a scary injury late as Ederson clattered into Eric Garcia, who was prone on the field for almost 10 minutes while being tended to by trainers. City played the rest of the match with 10 men after using all five of its subs prior to the injury.

[ MORE: New PL TV schedule ] 

City’s win means Liverpool cannot win the league versus Everton on Sunday, as City pulls within 22 points of the leaders with nine matches left for each club.

Ninth-place Arsenal stays on 40 points, a point back of Tottenham, five back of fifth-place Manchester United, and eight behind the top four.

The match began with tributes to the National Health Services workers who’ve been battling COVID-19 as well as the Black Lives Matter movement worldwide.


Three things we learned

1. Arteta v. Pep drama stymied by injuries: Injuries to Granit Xhaka and Pablo Mari in the first 24 minutes really hurt our chances of seeing whether Mikel Artet could better plan for old boss Pep Guardiola than most. Already without Lucas Torreira, Arsenal’s midfield took another hit when Xhaka was stretchered off in the 8th minute. Ceballos replaced him, not exactly a huge bummer but a big difference in terms of tactics. Then Mari was injured and replaced by David Luiz, who made two huge errors in the loss.

2. Gunners’ European hopes take a hit in a hurry: Even with eighth-place probably going to Europa League and fifth likely a Champions League spot, Arsenal really wanted to use this match-in-hand to climb above Tottenham and move even with Wolves. Sheffield United’s draw with Villa also opened a door to Arsenal. Arteta will need to remind his players that this one didn’t mean as much as it might appear, with Spurs, Wolves, Blades, and Leicester still on the docket in what you’d deem “European six-pointers.” Still, it doesn’t feel good after months of imagining that Arteta might’ve conjured Arsenal into a better version of itself.

3. De Bruyne furthers Player of the Year case: Just as Liverpool claimed back-to-back PFA Players of the Year when Man City won the league, KDB looks set to enjoy his first and much deserved honor despite Liverpool running away with the silverware. De Bruyne is now three assists shy of equalling Thierry Henry’s PL single season record of 20, and he’s one goal away from joining the select players to hit double-digit goals and assists in a top five European league this season.

The healthy lead allowed Guardiola to sub him off with 20 minutes to play, keeping the Belgian fresh after completing 80 percent of his passes including 7-of-8 longballs, converting all three of his dribbles, and making three interceptions (Sofascore).


Game flow

Bernd Leno picked up where he left off in tipping a De Bruyne third-minute free kick over the bar.

Xhaka’s injury happened not too long after, and the Swiss international required a stretcher to get off the pitch. Dani Ceballos entered the fray.

New boy Pablo Mari, the ex-Man City man, also needed to be replaced early with David Luiz entering the fray after 24 minutes.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The first half was all Man City if a bit rusty, Raheem Sterling lively but unable to produce an opener until he received help from the opposition.

De Bruyne’s swept in cross bounded off Luiz and onto the path of Sterling, who beat an otherwise strong Leno.

The goalkeeper had little hope early in the second half after Luiz hauled down Riyad Mahrez to earn a red card and send De Bruyne to the spot.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Arteta vows to keep Aubameyang: ‘Our most important player’

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Arsenal completed a hectic week with a hectic win prodded by its two top performers of the season.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice and Bernd Leno made key late saves as the exhausted Gunners outlasted Everton 3-2 at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was effusive in his praise, relatively speaking, for both players. He said that Leno “saved” Arsenal, and went long on Aubameyang when asked how important the player is to the club’s future.

“Incredible,” Arteta said. “The amount of work he’s doing. Before I had my questions, (but he’s) shown the commitment that he’s shown to his teammates and the club. I wasn’t sure if he wanted to do it, or do it physically. So it’s either you want to do it or don’t.

“He’s our most important player. Stats wise, there’s no question. As much as I can and the club can, we will try to convince him to stay with us.”

Arteta also appreciates the effort his men put in against an energetic Everton side three days after outlasting Olympiacos in Greece.

“Coming back from Europe, three games in seven days, conceding a goal in the first minute, the way we reacted, the way we played for 60-65 minutes was exactly what I wasn’t from my team,” Arteta preened. “The resilience some of the players showed when they were absolutely knackered and kept going and going. This was exactly what I wanted. … Everybody was looking at me, saying ‘I’m cramping. I’m doing this, doing that.’ We could only change two players. I tried to condense the midfield and have a little bit more energy.”

Leno was very happy with Arsenal’s effort.

The Gunners have been much better since Arteta implemented his system, even if their 270-minute shutout streak died in the first minute on Sunday.

“You could see that our power was at the end,” Leno said. “We were fighting. You can see how happy everyone was after this game because we deserve this and we have to keep going.”

Aubameyang praised his keeper.

“We are always happy to have him. He saved us a couple of times at the right moment. We’re proud of him and we know that we can count on him. He gives us more energy to push.”

The ninth-place Gunners are four points off fifth place and, of course, still alive for a Champions League berth through the Europa League.

Staying in the Champions League is probably their only path to keeping Aubameyang, and Arteta’s description of the Gabonese star doesn’t try to disguise the need to keep him in North London.

Aubameyang fires Arsenal past Everton

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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang climbed atop the Premier League’s goal-scoring list as Arsenal beat Everton 3-2 on Sunday at the Emirates Stadium.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Eddie Nketiah also scored for Mikel Arteta‘s men, who allowed a first-minute goal but rebounded to move ninth. The Gunners are four points off fifth.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richalrison scored for Everton, which sits a point behind the Gunners in 11th.


Three things we learned

1. Aubameyang’s class permanent: There’s a new name joining Jamie Vardy atop the Premier League’s goal scoring leaderboard, as Aubameyang bagged his 16th and 17th goals of the season. The Gabonese striker scored with his left foot and his head in putting himself one goal from 50 in his PL career.

2. Leno continues to make Best XI case: The majority of voters have probably used a permanent marker to put Alisson Becker into their teams of the year, but Bernd Leno has been an absolute marvel behind Arsenal’s suspect defense (which returned Sunday after a 270-minute shutout streak).

It’s not just about his shot-stopping, which is supremely good (and yes we know he allowed two on Sunday). Leno connected on five of seven long passes and passed at 90 percent. We know Mikel Arteta wants a ball-mover like Ederson. Leno fits the bill.

3. English youngsters deliver for both teams: Calvert-Lewin may have only converted one of his three prime chances, including a stoppage-time header wide of the goal, but the big Everton striker remains in the midst of his career year. The hosts got a ninth assist in all comps from Bukayo Saka (18) on a first PL goal from Eddie Nketiah, who’s just two years older than the English U-19 star.

That’s not even mentioning another decent-enough day from Mason Holgate, who’s improved dramatically under Ancelotti.

Man of the Match: Aubameyang.


Calvert-Lewin was the beneficiary of miserable Arsenal defending on a first-minute free kick, as Sead Kolasinac followed his mark into the box and David Luiz popped a header into the path of the scorer.

Djibril Sidibe then closed down Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after the Gabonese was played deep into the Everton third.

Kolasinac had injury added to his insult, his jersey sleeve a makeshift sling for his shoulder as he made way for Bukayo Saka in the 18th minute.

Eddie Nketiah sent Nicolas Pepe into the 18, but the Ivorian’s rocket blasted over the arms of leaping Jordan Pickford.

The Everton keeper would save Pepe in the 26th, but he couldn’t stop Nketiah a minute later. The Englishman leaped to knock in a terrific Saka cross for 1-1.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

The goals kept coming, as Luiz played Aubameyang through the Everton backline for a smashing finish in the 33rd, only to see Yerry Mina cue up Richarlison‘s stoppage-time finish.

The second half saw Arsenal score within a minute of the restart, Aubameyang heading a Pepe cross past Pickford.

Everton began to put pressure on the Gunners, and Leno made an incredible close-range save on Calvert-Lewin in the 73rd.

Leno made another big save when Richarlison trapped a low Delph drive and turned toward the goal.

Granit Xhaka picked off a poor Jordan Pickford pass and Nketiah struck the crossbar in the 86th.

Bernd Leno: Europa League, FA Cup important for Arsenal

Photo by Mike Egerton/EMPICS/PA Images via Getty Images
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Bernd Leno thinks Arsenal’s Europa League battle can help the team expedite its return to contention.

The Gunners are unlikely to reclaim a Champions League berth via the top four, currently 10 points back of fourth-place Chelsea.

And possible obstacles to winning the Europa League include Inter Milan, Manchester United, Wolves, Sevilla, and Ajax amongst others.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

But Leno says a trophy, whether the FA Cup or UEL, would be huge. But even if the Gunners don’t manage to reach another final, the big moments against top competition will help strengthen their nerve.

From Football.London:

“In the Europa League and FA Cup we have so many difficult games, so many big games because we saw last season that in the Europa League quarter-finals and semi-finals you get Champions League teams. They are all playing for the title and the final was Arsenal against Chelsea [last season], so it was a very, very big game.

“We want to have this final again and also in the FA Cup. Everybody told me that the FA Cup final at Wembley is unbelievable with the atmosphere and it is also a trophy, a title and we are looking forward to playing these games. Hopefully we can win a title this season.”

It’s especially true for stars-in-waiting Gabriel Martinelli, Eddie Nketiah, and Bukayo Saka, and follows the same logic as sending Emile Smith-Rowe on loan to Huddersfield Town. Play in important spots for your side, and grow.

Arsenal is in training camp in the Middle East for its winter break, and will return to host Newcastle in the Premier League before beginning the Europa League Round of 32 tie with Olympiacos. Its next FA Cup opponent is Portsmouth on March 2, so it’s reasonable to figure Arsenal will take the next step toward silverware in both competitions.

Leno has been sensational for the Gunners this season, and he wasn’t bad in his first season after arriving from Bayer Leverkusen, either. Even if his top four prediction in December isn’t going according to plan.