Bernd Leno insists Arsenal have ‘turned the corner’ after the club was shrouded by a ‘bad atmosphere’ in the autumn… but German goalkeeper admits it will be ‘very, very difficult’ for his side to qualify for the Champions League
- Arsenal won just one Premier League game between October 5 and Boxing Day
- Mikel Arteta’s men slumped as low as 15th and well away from European spots
- But keeper Bernd Leno has been key in Arsenal’s marked improvement in 2021
- The German, 29, says his side will struggle to qualify for the Champions League
Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno insists his side have ‘turned the corner’ in recent weeks after a horrendous run of form at the back end of 2020.
The Gunners’ only Premier League victory between October 5 and Boxing Day came in a 1-0 win at Manchester United, leading the club to slip as far down as 15th in the table and well away from the European qualification spots.
But the 29-year-old Germany international has been an integral part of a side that has shown signs of marked improvement since beating Chelsea on December 26, which has seen the club ship just 15 goals in 2021 and climb into the top half of the table.
Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno insists his side have ‘turned the corner’ in recent weeks
The Gunners won just one Premier League game between October 5 and December 26
Mikel Arteta’s men are also in an excellent position to advance to the last eight of the Europa League after beating Olympiacos 3-1 in Piraeus last week, while their top-flight victory against north London rivals Tottenham at the weekend left them five points off seventh place.
And speaking to Kicker earlier this week, Leno admitted the ‘bad atmosphere’ at the Emirates Stadium has been replaced by optimism, but maintained that while he is hopeful of playing in Europe again next term, qualifying for the Champions League remained an enormous ask.
‘In the autumn, we had big problems, a bad atmosphere. And we turned the corner.
‘Now we’re at least getting a taste of [qualifying for] the Europa League again. The Champions League will be very, very difficult.’
But Leno has been part of an Arsenal defence that has improved and let in just 15 goals in 2021
Speaking back in December, Leno reflected a rather different mood at the club, stating: ‘A lot of things are going wrong for us, the situation is getting heavier and our confidence is not at the top level.
‘It hurts very much but this team is still alive and it’s not the time to feel sorry for ourselves.’
‘The attitude is bad, the discipline is lacking and we have no self-confidence. There are many factors at play here.’
Leno has kept 11 clean sheets for the Gunners this term and will be hoping for a 12th if he gets the nod ahead of Mat Ryan for the second leg of their Europa League tie against Olympiacos on Thursday.
Germany international Leno has kept 11 clean sheets in all competitions for Arsenal this season