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Talking Tactics

Rising stars: Martinez makes case to be Arsenal's first choice

Adrian Clarke 11 Aug 2020
Emiliano Martinez, Arsenal

Adrian Clarke explains how Gunners goalkeeper seized his recent opportunity and can impress further in 2020/21 if selected

Adrian Clarke looks at players who emerged in the Premier League last season and who are set to shine in 2020/21.

Emiliano Martinez

The excellent end-of-season form of Emiliano Martinez has left Mikel Arteta with a difficult choice over who should start the new campaign as Arsenal's No 1 goalkeeper.

The 27-year-old, who has been understudy to Bernd Leno for the past two seasons, was outstanding during the final nine Premier League matches.

He also played an instrumental role in the Gunners' FA Cup success.

Leno himself finished runner-up in the club's Player of the Season vote, but many Arsenal supporters believe Martinez's displays eclipsed those of the German, whose season was ended by a knee injury sustained against Brighton & Hove Albion on 20 June.

Best save percentages 2019/20
Save % Saves from shots in box %
Hugo Lloris 79.0 Emiliano Martinez  71.0
Emiliano Martinez 78.6 Ederson  70.4
Dean Henderson 74.2 Hugo Lloris  69.8

In terms of making saves, Martinez was a top performer in 2019/20.

Statistics show that no other goalkeeper made a higher percentages of saves from shots inside the penalty area.

The Argentinian was kept extremely busy too, making 3.97 saves per 90 minutes.

Martinez's stunning save v Liverpool

The only goalkeeper with at least the same number of appearances to have made more stops was Tottenham Hotspur's Hugo Lloris with 4.03.

According to Opta's expected Goals on Target stats (xGoT), Martinez prevented an extra 2.9 goals from being scored in his nine outings.

That figure is all the more impressive with Leno estimated to have prevented an extra 1.9 goals across his 30 appearances. 

Catching statistics 2019/20
Goalkeeper Catches per 90
Nick Pope 1.24
Emiliano Martinez 0.94
Alex McCarthy  0.79
Tim Krul 0.76
Ben Foster 0.66

Arsenal are fortunate to have two such good goalkeepers competing in their position, but it is Martinez who offers a greater physical presence.

At 6ft 5in, he is far more dominant when it comes to collecting crosses.

Only Burnley's Nick Pope claimed more catches per 90 minutes than Martinez, who was unflappable and positive in those situations.

Arteta’s quandary

It will be understandable if Arsenal's head coach remains loyal to Leno but that call is very much up in the air at the moment.

Martinez excelled in the German's absence and looks to have all the attributes required to become a top-class Premier League goalkeeper.

If he is to retain his place in the side, he will do so with the full confidence of Arsenal fans.

Also in this series

Part 2: Lamptey has pace to take Brighton forward
Part 3: Soucek head and shoulders above midfield rivals
Part 4: Jones gives Liverpool midfield another dimension
Part 5: Podence can cement Wolves starting spot

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