A tale of two keepers: Arsenal legend David Seaman on the ‘brilliant’ Martinez and under-fire Kepa… and why beating Chelsea in today’s FA Cup final won’t mean a successful season for Mikel Arteta’s men
- Arsenal legend David Seaman said he is a huge admirer of Emiliano Martinez
- Martinez has staked his claim for Arsenal’s No 1 spot in Bernd Leno’s absence
- Seaman, who won FA Cup four times, can see why Chelsea have dropped Kepa
- He also spoke to Sportsmail about one of the most iconic FA Cup saves in history
The goalkeeper who won four FA Cups with Arsenal is discussing the difference between Kepa Arrizabalaga and Emiliano Martinez, namely how one broke the golden rule while the other didn’t.
‘If you don’t stop the ball when you should do,’ explains David Seaman, the Arsenal and England icon speaking to Sportsmail ahead of his former club’s final against Chelsea today.
‘That’s what you live and die by. If you start making mistakes, then you’re going to get left out.’
David Seaman spoke to Sportsmail at Plusnet’s Yorkshire Day launch ahead of the FA Cup final
Former Arsenal keeper is not surprised that Chelsea have decided to drop Kepa Arrizabalaga
Seaman has been impressed with how Emiliano Martinez has staked his claim for No 1 shirt
Simple then. Kepa made too many of those for Frank Lampard’s liking while with Martinez it’s the opposite. Indeed in this Argentinian, Arsenal might have found a new No 1.
Bernd Leno is training again but he’s watched on helplessly as his understudy stakes his claim. It’s certainly left an impression on Seaman, who says: ‘He has taken his chance.
‘He’s got every quality you need. Great physique, big goalkeeper, great with his feet.
‘I hate that word “shot-stopper” – that’s what you are if you’re a goalie. But his goalkeeping skills are brilliant. His distribution, his saves, his crosses. I love his confidence at taking crosses.
Spaniard Kepa has come in for criticism for letting in a number of soft goals this season
Seaman insists Arsenal’s Martinez has everything needed to be a quality goalkeeper
‘It will be a really difficult decision for Mikel Arteta when it comes to next season.’
It will be painful for Kepa to watch from the sidelines at Wembley Stadium today.
On how a lack of confidence can seemingly kill a goalkeeper, Seaman tells Sportsmail: ‘I remember when Scott Carson played for England on his competitive debut against Croatia.
‘He made a really bad mistake inside the first five minutes and his confidence went. Some goalkeepers react like that, some get on with it. But the manager spots that in goalkeepers.’
Arsenal insiders say Arsene Wenger had designs on making Martinez the club’s first-choice goalkeeper before the 70-year-old Frenchman departed after more than two decades in charge.
Seaman won the FA Cup four times with Arsenal during his illustrious career as a keeper
He says mistakes can crush keepers and remembers what happened to Scott Carson in 2007
Wenger sent Martinez on loan to Getafe in 2017-18 under the impression that he would get games. The idea was he would return ready to start for Arsenal.
However, Getafe went back on their word and Martinez made only five La Liga appearances.
When he arrived back, Arsenal decided they had to buy a goalkeeper, and signed Leno for £22.5million.
‘I was 26 when I joined Arsenal,’ Seaman says. ‘I’d had a lot of experience. I’d had four years in the top division with QPR, one with Birmingham as well.
‘Martinez has been around the divisions, getting experience on loan. It’s a great situation for Arsenal now because we’ve got two real quality goalkeepers.
Arsene Wenger was lining Martinez up to be the club’s first choice before he departed
Bernd Leno is back in training and Seaman believes he is also a quality goalkeeper
Seaman spoke about his experience of playing in the lower leagues before signing for Arsenal
‘It pushes them to their best. Who’s going to be the No 1? At Arsenal, I had Stuart Taylor, Alex Manninger and Richard Wright always putting pressure on me. Luckily I kept them out.’
It would be remiss to speak to Seaman about the FA Cup and not mention its greatest-ever save – arguably the moment he denied Sheffield United’s Paul Peschisolido in 2003.
Seaman was 39 years old and clawed the ball to safety in the semi final. ‘Ask the Sheffield United fans behind that goal if I was past it,’ he says. ‘I was getting criticism but that’s the Yorkshireman in me. It’s Yorkshire Day on Saturday and the Yorkshireman in me likes to prove people wrong.
‘It’s on YouTube and has around four million views – I’m three million of them.’
He made one of the most memorable saves in FA Cup history against Sheffield United in 2003
Winning FA Cup won’t mean success for Arsenal but he wants Mikel Arteta to be given time
Seaman then captained Arsenal in the 2003 final, when he won the FA Cup for a fourth time by beating Southampton 1-0. Though he adores this competition, the 56-year-old agrees with Arteta that not even victory today can equal a successful season.
‘You’ve got to have high standards and eighth isn’t good enough – there’s no two ways about that,’ he says. ‘The league doesn’t lie. We finished below Tottenham, which is even worse!
‘It’s the way it is. I want to see the board, the directors, everybody at Arsenal back Mikel. In him I see a good manager. I want them to give him the chance to make Arsenal really good again.’
This Yorkshire Day, Plusnet is giving the nation a Yorkshire-style gift of 25% off broadband and the free Yorkshireman’s guide to value ebook Save It Like Safe Hands, created with David Seaman.
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