Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno was handed his full Premier League debut at Fulham on Sunday.
The 26-year-old German, a summer signing from Bayer Leverkusen, was deputising for the injured Petr Cech but was looking to cement his place in the first team. But did he do enough – especially in a first half in which Arsenal were caused problems – to suggest he should be the Gunners’ number one?
Arsenal’s defence had recovered from a shaky start to the season with three clean sheets in their last four matches. Yet their back four remains a work in progress, and it was sloppy defending which allowed Andre Schurrle to equalise. Leno does not seem a particularly vocal presence but he generally marshalled those in front of him well.
Cech’s ability with the ball at his feet has been under scrutiny this season, with Leno supposedly more comfortable with the in-vogue style of playing out from the back. The new boy often looked to play the ball short but with few options ended up launching more old-fashioned hoofs up the field. A couple of throws set up counter-attacks, though.
Forced into a sharp save after just two minutes, twisting his body to get a hand to Luciano Vietto’s deflected effort. Leno made a couple of routine saves later on but was unable to do anything to prevent Schurrle’s clever chip from finding the net before half-time.
Leno probably could have made himself bigger when closing down Schurrle, who saw him coming and had time to dink the ball over the goalkeeper for Fulham’s equaliser. But barring a fine early save Leno otherwise had little to do, and he did it competently enough. Was a spectator for much of the second half as the goals rained in at the other end.