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Bernd Leno has aimed a not-so-subtle dig at Chelsea and Tottenham by insisting that Arsenal are *the* club to play for in London.
All three sides have had inconsistent starts to the Premier League season, with Arsenal highest in fifth after two wins, a defeat and a 2-2 draw with Spurs before the international break.
Tottenham are in ninth after the north London derby while Frank Lampard’s Chelsea sit down in 11th with only one victory so far this term.
Arsenal goalkeeper Leno came in for widespread criticism after he was partly at fault for Christian Eriksen’s opener at the Emirates, with many fans yet to be convinced by the German.
Despite a mixed start to his Arsenal career, though, Leno clearly has no regrets about his £19million move from Bayer Leverkusen last summer.
Asked to compare Arsenal and Leverkusen, Leno told SportBild: ‘You can’t compare that, of course Arsenal is a world club, THE club here in London.
‘Not Chelsea, not Tottenham – Arsenal is the club here with fans around the world. ‘No matter where we are, also in the USA or in Asia, there are many fans of Arsenal everywhere.’
Manchester United legend Gary Neville criticised Arsenal’s entire defence after the north London derby and claimed Leno cannot be trusted after his costly error in the first half.
‘You talk about the threat, the intensity, good parts of the game, you still have to mention the fact that they look sloppy and rash at the back,’ he said on The Gary Neville Podcast ‘We talked about the goalkeeper’s mistake, I don’t quite trust him, I don’t think he’s anywhere near the class of the other top goalkeepers we have in the league. ‘The two centre-backs, they’re rash.
You could argue that Hector Bellerin’s got to come back in, that Rob Holding’s got to come back in, Kieran Tierney’s got to come back in. So that back four can be strengthened.
‘But you still fear that that back four will always still not be good enough for where Arsenal want to be, and they somehow from somewhere need to unearth a centre-back that’s going to hold that back-line together.
‘So I think there’s still the fear for Arsenal that they look like they’re all over the place at the back when they have good players against them.
‘We saw today Tottenham created many chances on the counter-attack, whereas the really good teams and top teams they manage the counter-attack, they sustain their own attack and they don’t allow teams to counter-attack on them very often – City and Liverpool in particular.’