Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta faces a goalkeeping crisis after Bernd Leno was sent off during his side’s defeat to Wolves. Arteta’s decision to sell Emiliano Martinez earlier this season looks set to backfire with Leno now suspended for Saturday’s Premier League clash away to Aston Villa.
Leno was sent off following a bizarre handball against Wolves, after the keeper rushed out of his box and misjudged the bounce of the ball, ending up palming it out of play.
His dismissal left the Gunners with nine men after David Luiz was earlier sent off for a challenge on Willian Jose in the box.
Ruben Neves equalised from the spot following Luiz’s foul, cancelling out an opener from Nicolas Pepe, before Joao Moutinho fired Wolves into the lead with a fine strike from distance which ultimately secured the points.
With Leno suspended for Saturday’s visit to Villa Park,Arteta may have to turn to Runar Alex Runarsson, with second-choice keeper Mat Ryan currently sidelined by a muscle injury.
Ryan was signed on loan from Brighton last month to provide cover for Leno, with Runarsson having struggled to convince Arteta he is ready to deputise for the No1.
There was talk of Runarsson going out on loan in the January transfer window to gain more first-team experience – but he could now be thrust into action after Ryan picked up the injury in training.
Arteta gave a hopeful bulletin on Ryan’s condition after the defeat to Wolves, which ended Arsenal’s seven-match unbeaten run in the Premier League.
“He had a muscular issue and in the last two days he hasn’t been able to train,” the manager said. “Hopefully we can get him back in the next few days.”
If Ryan doesn’t recover in time, however, Arteta may be left to rue Arsenal’s decision to let Martinez join Saturday’s opponents.
Many Gunners fans were calling for Martinez to be named as the club’s first-choice goalkeeper ahead of this season, after he impressed during football’s restart during the summer.
But Arsenal decided to stick with Leno as their No1, and Martinez was sold to Villa after the Argentine goalkeeper made clear his desire to play first-team football.
He has impressed between the sticks for Villa, and will no doubt be looking to prove a point when he lines up against his old club on Saturday.