Thoughts on Arsenal’s Present Goalkeeping Situation
When I opened the doors of my Gooner Daily apartment yesterday night, I’m pretty sure that I had a quick glance at Batman with 1000 other bats leaving the premises because the enigma was “back in the building”. The cobwebs on this blog were also much enough to make Scotty Parker…Peter Parker feel at home.
I just returned from my offshore assignment and I’m back to doing what I do best because the last time I checked, the colors of my blood cells are Red and White.
However, a friend, Tomas Rosicky fan and avid reader of this blog, Major Austin D’Sun, sent me a fantastic post that is worth sharing. He was also the guest writer of the post, Dependent and Independent Variables, a superb article that saw the light of day when the club was linked with Yann M’Vila.
The man that chews gum more than most ladies I know, Sir Alex Ferguson, stated that he has two goalkeepers of equal talents and alternating them from match to match is not a big deal. Both Anders Lindergaard and David De Gea have shared the Number One spot for the Red Devils this season making two Premier League appearances each so far in this campaign.
Rephrasing Sir Alex Ferguson’s words using my own lexicon, it would sound like this,
“Alternating my goalies isn’t a problem for me; they are both equally very good goalkeepers. The most important thing am trying to do is give them experience in the English game – neither is as experienced as Edwin Van Der Sar or Peter Schmeichel”.
Except you’re living in a cave far away from internet, Colored TV and civilization, you should know that Arsenal is faced with such an appetizing predicament.
This was a club that was a million quid away from acquiring Mark Schwarzer’s services after it was obvious that the manager had lost faith in Manuel Almunia. In a sudden twist of fate, the usually shaky Lukasz Fabianski hit a rich vein of form but a shoulder injury paved the way for Wojciech Szczesny that has not looked back ever since.
Going back to Sir Alex Ferguson’s words, you can place Szczesny and the resurgent Vito Mannone as two talented but inexperienced goalkeepers playing at London Colney.
Szczesny joined Arsenal at the tender age of 17 and he has already notched up 55 Premier League appearances for the club despite being only 22. The young lad also justified the faith Arsene Wenger bestowed on him last season with stellar performances that calmed the goalkeeping storms Arsenal had been burdened with in recent years.
He did pretty well to keep 13 clean sheets last season but he gave room for Arsenal fans to doubt his abilities after he flapped at a routine cross against Southampton that resulted in Arsenal’s impregnable clean sheet record going with the wind.
Arsenal fans went haywire when the club kept three clean sheets on the trot. A fourth consecutive clean sheet coupled with six unreplied goals would have seen Arsenal fans scream so loud, it could be heard on the Moon.
However, Szczesny’s poor piece of judgment cost his team dearly and as expected, this has prompted some fans to call for Mannone to reclaim the shirt that he guarded valiantly while Szczesny was nursing his rib injury.
Wenger, like always, was quick to back his ward and still maintained that he is still our numero-uno, though the mystery injury that kept him out of the Champions league showdown with Montpellier Herault SC may suggest differently.
Vito Mannone on the other hand is gradually endearing himself to the susceptible hearts of the Arsenal faithful after keeping two clean sheets against Stoke and Liverpool. It is noteworthy that Vito is actually older than Szczesny and he joined the club before the Pole as well.
He has been on the fringes his entire career at the Emirates but he has had his fair share of success in his loan spells at Hull City. Don Vito enjoyed a season long loan at Hull City last season where he kept nine clean sheets in eleven games from January to March 2011 and he almost helped the Yorkshire club to a coveted npower Championship playoff spot, but they narrowly missed out.
However, Mannone will be forever remembered for his 5-star performance against Fulham in the 2009/10 season, where he was the difference between three points and one on the night. Wenger has said that the Italian goalie is seriously pushing hard for the number one spot and this is a player that was a forgotten entity some months ago.
Reports emanating from some the media Vultures reveal that Szczesny is out for three weeks with an ankle problem. I’m pretty sure that Chuck Norris stepped on his unfortunate ankle by mistake, because Szczesny seemed to be in good conditions in the Emirates sunshine when his team thrashed the hapless Southampton with six goals.
The tide is favouring Vito these days. Events and circumstances have generated some debates on who will be between the Arsenal sticks against Manchester City and who will become the Arsenal number one for this season.
Do you think Mr. Wenger should adopt Manchester United’s approach and rotate two goalkeepers? Is that wise in football not to have a steady number one? What will this style do to goalkeeper’s confidence and experience?
Feel free to place your votes on the poll below.
In my opinion, I would like to see stability in Arsenal’s last line of defence but it is left for the coaches to make a decision, and why not Mannone if he keeps proving otherwise. Szczesny on the other hand has to put his feet on the ground if he wants that spot.
I love the new-look Arsenal as well as the competition for places on the team and it’s really heart-warming to know that the players on the pitch are more than willing to give their all for the Arsenal cause, unlike back in the days when players were assured of their starting berths and complacency became their watchword.
Farther up the pitch, Laurent Koscielny and Theo Walcott are finding it difficult to break into the first team. These are our best players from last season. With the imperious form of Santi Cazorla, I really have doubts in seeing Tomas Rosicky on a regular basis as well, and that’s one player I really love.
Whether it’s Wojciech Szczesny, Vito Mannone or Lukasz Fabianski guarding the sticks for Arsenal, due credit must go to Lord Steve Bouldimort for his defensive tactics as well as instilling some confidence into Arsenal’s backline.
A clean sheet isn’t the sole job of a goalkeeper. The entire rearguard does their bit and Arsenal’s defense is damn good at it. The wingers have also provided defensive support to their fullbacks and Mikel Arteta has been a phenom in his new holding role as well.
It took you four games to keep a clean sheet, bitch please; it took us four games to concede our first goal.
Here’s to the team with the best defense in the land.
Ka – emesia
Onono Aniemeka A.
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