David Luiz backs 'amazing' Leno to recover from Rapid Vienna howler

‘This is our philosophy – it is normal’: David Luiz backs ‘amazing’ Bernd Leno to recover from howler after he gifted Rapid Vienna the lead before Arsenal turned Europa League tie around

  • David Luiz says Bernd Leno will bounce back from his gaffe against Rapid Vienna 
  • Leno received a pass back from Luiz in the second half of their Europa League tie
  • But the German goalkeeper’s pass was easily intercepted by forward Ercan Kara 
  • The interception fell perfectly for Taxiarchis Fountas to put the hosts ahead
  • Luiz insists that the howler was ‘normal’ due to Arteta’s philosophy at the club 

David Luiz has defended team-mate Bernd Leno after his error gifted Rapid Vienna the lead in a hard-fought Europa League tie which Arsenal eventually went on to win.

Mikel Arteta named a strong side at the Allianz Stadion, where 3,000 home fans watched on, with Thomas Partey making his full debut in the Group B opener.

But after a mistake by Leno gifted a goal to Taxiarchis Fountas the Gunners had to rally, with Luiz and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on target as Arsenal left Austria with a 2-1 win.

David Luiz (R) believes Bernd Leno (L) will bounce back from his gaffe against Rapid Vienna

Following a passive first half for both sides, Fountas struck just six minutes after the interval, capitalising as Leno’s attempt to play out from the back was intercepted by Ercan Kara.

Another couple of wobbles from the Germany international goalkeeper later in the half presented Fountas with further chances which he failed to convert.

Leno’s position as Arsenal’s No 1 had already split the fanbase when Emiliano Martinez was sold to Aston Villa in the summer, but Arteta backed his first choice following the win.

The German keeper received the ball from David Luiz and looked to get his side going again

But his pass out from the back was easily intercepted by Rapid Vienna forward Ercan Kara

The interception fell perfectly for strike partner Taxiarchis Fountas to put the hosts ahead

Luiz, whose flicked header drew the visitors level before substitute Aubameyang tucked home a close-range winner, also spoke out in defence of Leno.

‘I think Bernd is amazing,’ he said.

‘It is part of our philosophy to build from the back, this is a normal thing.

‘You always play to eliminate players from the beginning when you build, then it is going to be much easier for the strikers.

Luiz claims Leno’s mistake was ‘normal’ due to the way Arteta likes to play out from the back

‘So, if you count how many times did it go well? But just one he did wrong and this is part of our philosophy.

‘He is great and he gives us the opportunity to play from the back and try to help us.’

While Arsenal were considered favourites to win Group B when the draw was made at the start of October, Arteta’s side made heavy weather of their first outing.

They host League of Ireland champions Dundalk next week, with Luiz pleased to have already come through a stern test in Vienna.

Leno’s blushes were saved as Arsenal came back to win, with Luiz heading in an equaliser

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang then completed the comeback with a finish from close range

‘It was a difficult game against a fantastic team,’ he added.

‘They played with a lot of intensity and I think it was good for us to start like that so we can really understand what is going to come for us in the future.

‘Well done for them but also well done for us because we kept calm, kept control of the game in the second half and found a way to win the game.’

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