'He's a million miles away' - Merson believes Leno has usurped Cech as Arsenal's number one

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The veteran shot-stopper may find himself playing second fiddle to the German for the rest of the season, according to the ex-Gunners midfielder

Paul Merson believes that Petr Cech has been replaced by Bernd Leno as Arsenal's number one goalkeeper, after a string of fine performances from the 26-year-old.

Cech started the first five games of the 2018-19 campaign but was forced off during the team's 2-0 home win against Watford on September 29 with a hamstring injury .

Leno came on to replace him that day and has held the number one spot ever since, impressing with his commanding presence at the back and agility between the sticks.

Cech returned to full training at the end of October but now finds himself serving in a backup role, with the Gunners riding the crest of a wave on a 17-match unbeaten run across all competitions.

Leno played a starring role again on Sunday as Arsenal secured a 2-1 win at Bournemouth and club legend Merson was beaming in his assessment of the German .

"He is doing really well, isn’t he?" Merson told Sky Sports .

"He looks a good goalkeeper, he looks like he’s got a good temperament as well. He’s made some great saves.

"They’re always out of danger, he doesn’t gamble, he doesn’t go 'oh I think he’s going to hit it there'.

"That’s reading the game to the highest level. He’s been outstanding, absolutely outstanding."

The pundit went on to add that he cannot see Cech returning to the starting XI anytime soon, despite his initially strong start to the year.

"There was talk when Cech got fit, people were wondering if he would come back in," Merson continued. "But now you’re thinking that’s a million miles away at the moment.

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"A million miles away."

Next up for Unai Emery's men is a Europa League clash against Vorskla in Ukraine on Thursday, as they aim to secure top spot in Group E having already booked their place in the next round.

Arsenal must then regroup quickly ahead of the north London Derby on Sunday when Tottenham visit the Emirates, with just three points separating the two sides in the Premier League table.

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