Arsenal ride Leno saves against Reds
Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno saved two penalties in a 5-4 shoot-out win over Liverpool to reach the League Cup quarter finals, while Aston Villa and Fulham were knocked out by lower-division clubs.
Joe Willock scored Arsenal’s winning penalty to set up a home match against defending champion Manchester City in the next round.
Leno, who also kept a clean sheet through 90 minutes as the game ended 0-0, blocked penalties from Divock Origi and Harry Wilson on Thursday.
“It was a very tough game,” the German told broadcaster Sky Sports. “It is very good to save some penalties and see some laughing faces but I prefer next time to win the game before penalties. But the main thing is we won.”
Leno revealed that he never feared losing his starting spot to Emiliano Martinez during his injury lay-off last season.
Leno, 28, sustained a knee injury in June that ruled him out of the final few matches of the 2019-20 campaign. Martinez impressed in the German’s absence, playing a key role in Arsenal’s FA Cup triumph but he was sold to Aston Villa in the close season.
“The club always gave me the feeling I was the No. 1, I am the No. 1 and will be the No. 1,” Leno told Sky Sports.
A first-half header from Sam Vokes gave second-tier side Stoke a 1-0 win at Aston Villa to set up a quarterfinal at home against Tottenham.
Villa manager Dean Smith made 11 changes from the team which beat Fulham 3-0 on Monday. Fulham lost 3-0 again — this time against second-tier side Brentford.
Scott Parker’s side has also lost all three Premier League games since gaining promotion in August, when they beat west London rivals Brentford in the play-off final.