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Mikel Arteta fails to learn Pep Guardiola lesson as Arsenal troubles worsen

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta’ unusual promise to Bernd Leno threatens to throw the Gunners into further turmoil after their shocking start to the 2021/22 Premier League season

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Arteta praises fans after Arsenal win

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta made a big call by dropping Bernd Leno for last weekend’s 1-0 win over Norwich City.

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It was a decision that many Gunners fans didn’t see coming, but seemingly paid dividends as Aaron Ramsdale impressed on his Arsenal debut.

The decision to part with £24million to bring Ramsdale to the Emirates was one that drew much scepticism from fans.

But the ex-Sheffield United man looked the part as the Gunners won in the Premier League for the first time this season – albeit against a team you’d expect them to beat.

However, it now appears Ramsdale’s impressive debut was never intended to be anything more than a short-term cameo, with reports that Arteta is set to recall Leno for the North London derby with Tottenham.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is still under pressure after a poor start to the season

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The Daily Mail report Ramsdale is set to retain his place for this weekend’s game against Burnley, but Arteta informed Leno that his break from the squad would only be for two games.

If that is correct, then it would be the latest in a line of baffling calls made by Arteta – who has seemingly inherited Pep Guardiola’s flavour for rotation after establishing himself as a key member of his support staff at Manchester City prior to his appointment in north London.

He was even backed by his former mentor after the Gunners were humbled in a 5-0 mauling at the Etihad last month.

But crucially, Arteta hasn’t learned from Guardiola’s mistakes in his first job as the main man.

Who should be Arsenal’s first-choice goalkeeper: Ramsdale or Leno? Comment below.

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The City boss is well known for his rotation policy, with his frequency to chop and change his squad now infamous in the Premier League.

But tinkering for no reason hardly ever guarantees success – as Guardiola discovered when his call to leave out key man Fernandinho derailed City’s bid for a first Champions League title against Chelsea back in May.

Even so, Guardiola has retained the same core group of players during his spells in rotating the squad for the majority of his time in charge at City.

Furthermore, he has never seemed to contemplate the bizarre requirement of rotating the goalkeeping position.

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Bernd Leno is set reportedly set for an Arsenal recall soon


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Prior to their narrow victory over the Canaries, Arsenal had made their worst start to a season in history as the pressure began to pile on the Spaniard.

Even after that win over Norwich, Arteta is still under fire after a dismal return on a summer of massive investment.

The Gunners currently sit in 16th place in the league and face a crunch run of fixtures culminating in the derby clash with Spurs next weekend.

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With a number of key players returning from spells on the sidelines, this Arsenal side is in desperate need of stability and their best side if they are to transform their miserable start to the season.

But Arteta’s unusual promise to Leno would give the Gunners the complete opposite of that by rotating the one position which should be immune from unnecessary change.

Only three teams have shipped more than Arsenal’s nine goals this season, all three currently sit below them in the league. Newcastle (12) and Norwich (11) are in the drop zone, whilst Leeds (11) are just outside it.

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Aaron Ramsdale impressed on his Arsenal debut in the 1-0 win over Norwich

Leno isn’t the only one at fault for the Gunners’ dire defensive record, but he can have few complaints at being taken out of the firing line as a result of it.

Arsenal signed Ramsdale with the expectation that the English stopper would dislodge Leno by the end of the season.

It makes no sense to turf him out after two games to appease a goalkeeper who has shipped nine goals in three games – especially with Leno’s contract up in 2023.

It feels like an unnecessary risk from Arteta at a time when he can ill-afford to take any.

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