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Players to star in 2019/20: Bernd Leno

Adrian Clarke 16 May 2019
Bernd Leno

Adrian Clarke says after an outstanding debut season the Arsenal goalkeeper can be a key figure again

Adrian Clarke looks at players who impressed in 2018/19 and can continue to go from strength to strength in 2019/20.

Bernd Leno

Arsenal's goalkeeper was one of 2018/19’s most underrated players.

Featured Player

  • Bernd Leno
    Goalkeeper
    Germany
    Bernd Leno
  • Club
  • Appearances
    44
  • Clean sheets
    8
  • Saves
    154
  • Goals conceded
    59
Bernd Leno Player Profile

While he conceded 42 goals, at a rate one every 67 minutes, without his heroics Arsenal might have finished lower than fifth.

Producing a number of man-of-the-match displays, Leno’s first campaign in England was a big success.

And at the age of 27, with a season of adaptation behind him, he can impress even more in 2019/20.

Quick off his line

Leno’s speed over five to 10 metres is a standout quality.

Narrowing the angle quickly, the German prevented several goals by rushing opponents effectively as they prepared to shoot inside the box.

Standing tall as he approaches them, while spreading his legs wide, Leno is one of the best at coming off his line to repel attackers.

No other top-six goalkeeper was as busy as Leno for close-range saves.

He made 2.13 stops per 90 minutes from shots inside the box, a tally exceeded only by goalkeepers at teams placed 10th and below.

His save percentage of 71.2 should therefore be highly respected.

Top PL goalkeepers 2018/19
Goalkeeper Saves in box/90 Goalkeeper Save %
Rico 2.83 Alisson 77.1
Hart 2.68 Lloris 75.2
Fabianski 2.66 Guaita 73.3
Etheridge 2.58 Fabianski 72.5
McCarthy 2.24 Ederson 71.6
Foster 2.18 Leno 71.2
Leno 2.13 De Gea 69.0

Only one goalkeeper had a better record having faced more close-range efforts, Lukasz Fabianski.

Had he been better protected, Leno’s shot-to-save record would have been even better.

Rapid reflexes

Leno is very athletic, leaping high or diving low quickly to push away shots with both hands.

The German stopper is exceptional at throwing himself to his left and pulled off a number of remarkable reaction saves.

One from Moussa Sissoko in the north London derby at Wembley Stadium was among the saves of the season.

Leno had an off night in the 3-0 defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers but has otherwise been consistently excellent.

He is one of the few top-flight goalkeepers to have prevented more than two expected goals (xG) in 2018/19. Leno faced 45.4 expected goals on target (xGoT), but actually conceded 41.

Expected goals prevented 2018/19
Goalkeeper Goals conceded* xGoT faced xG prevented
Fabianski 54 66.9 12.9
Lloris 30 40.3 10.3
Alisson 21 27.5 6.5
Leno 41 45.4 4.4
Foster 56 58.0 2.0

*excluding own goals

If Unai Emery strengthens Arsenal's defence this summer, there should be less reliance on Leno.

But with a good season under his belt and scope for further development in his game, his reputation can still soar.

Also in this series

Part 2: Players to star in 2019/20: Fabinho
Part 3: Players to star in 2019/20: Wilfried Zaha
Part 4: Players to star in 2019/20: Hamza Choudhury
Part 5: Players to star in 2019/20: Lucas Moura

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