Blog Archives

Thoughts on Szczesny, His Shades at Arsenal, and the Goalkeeping Situation

Image result for szczesny save roma

Hindsight, they say, is usually crystal clear. We as football fans want the very best for Arsenal football club, and that includes the players, the manager and everything in general. But with this club, you don’t even know what to expect. One minute, the club is going on a four game winning streak in the league, next minute, they are struggling to break down a Watford side and eventually get beaten.

I used to really love writing about Arsenal everyday. Heck, I even called my blog ‘Gooner Daily’. I’ve ran the blog for seven years and I’ve published over 1,600 articles on this site, but in recent times the zeal to write about the club I love so much has somewhat diminished. Maybe it’s because of work, because that takes a lot from me, maybe it’s because I don’t have a deputy to hold the fort for me when I’m not available for one thing or the other. But it’s fine. I’m back now and I hope I’d be consistent enough.

There’s no point opening up wounds from the Watford loss over the weekend, so we can only look forward to the Europa League tie, the weekend fixture against Everton and hope to build another consistent run of results. Hey, since losing 4-0 to Liverpool in August, we hit great strides, four wins on the bounce in the Premier League, two wins in our maiden Europa League competition and a comfortable win in the Carabao Cup, but I’m here to talk about Wojciech Szczesny, our ex-Gunner that currently plies his trade in Juventus and is certainly the heir apparent to the legendary Gianluigi Buffon.

This summer, I wrote an article about Szczesny’s potential move to Juventus and I was in crossroads on this issue. In my honest opinion, I felt the manager knew his squad enough to see that he couldn’t accommodate Szczesny in it anymore and as opportunistic as the signing of Petr Cech may seem, his arrival certainly meant that Wenger had to make a big decision between Szczesny and David Ospina and even though his initial move to AS Roma was on loan, I was certainly sure that he was on his way out of the club.

The Polish goalie returned from his first spell with the Italian outfit, and Arsene Wenger clearly had no plans for him last season, so he was shipped to the same club where he continued his footballing education and added a Golden Glove to his individual collection of accolades. With Szczesny having just a year left on his deal, the Gunners cashed in on him, and Juventus got their man for €12.2 million.

So we as Arsenal fans had ‘moved on’ from the Szczesny issue. There were a lot of arguments in several forums like my Arsenal BlackBerry group, Gooner Daily, where some fans believed it was a grave mistake to offload him the way we did, leaving a shaky goalie like Ospina for another season. Ospina has already showed his frailties this season in the Europa League and fans of international football can attest to the fact that he had moments of horror for his nation, Colombia.

We certainly trust Cech enough to use him in the Premier League while Ospina manages the Cup games and we were okay with our goalkeeping situation at the moment, but Szczesny speaks to some folks at the Independent about his life at Arsenal and his new adventure with Juventus and you can’t help but feel some type of way after reading the article.

I’m in no mood to quote some of the words Szczesny stated in the interview, hey, there’s a link, so you could check it out yourself but he mentioned stuff about improving after he left Arsenal as well as the difference in approach from his days at Arsenal to his time in the Serie A, which he attests to the fact that they are more analytical in the Serie A than in his time at London Colney. He was also specific about the impact the coaches had at Roma, compared to Arsenal, which was an eye opener for me.

I started asking myself questions like, ‘why did we have goalkeepers that showed the same traits for that odd error in them consistently?’. C’mon, Manuel Almunia, Jens Lehmann, Lukasz Fabianski, Szczesny, Ospina and even Cech have dropped clangers and made high-profile mistakes while guarding between the sticks at the club. I’m not saying no goalie isn’t capable of committing a blunder every now and then, but some goalies were ticking time bombs at the club.

Does this have to do with the kind of goalkeeping coaching they receive? I like Gerry Peyton and I feel he’s a living legend, but I thought we were going to shake things up at the backroom staff level, and with Lehmann joining the coaching ranks, I was hopeful he’d supplement the goalkeeping department, but word on the street is that Lehmann isn’t specifically working with just the goalies. We had a good goalkeeping coach in Tony Roberts but he moved to Wales with Lukasz Fabianski. I was hoping Christophe Lollichon would join Cech when he moved from Chelsea but that never came into fruition.

Cech is reaching his twilight years and I expect him to give us maybe 2 more seasons but in Szczesny we would have had a good succession plan, but that’s no longer possible with the goalie now convinced in his heart that Juventus is the place for him.

I always get chills when watching Ospina between the sticks because I just feel he’s one mistake away from costing us, irrespective of the opposition, so I’m just hoping that when Wenger decides to leave in 2019, the new manager would come in to shake things up and will probably sign a new goalie. We know the current manager is quite sentimental in his decision making because I don’t see how a manager would favor Ospina ahead of Szczesny in this modern time and age.

Sayonara.

Follow Gooner Daily on Twitter  @goonerdaily. I’ll follow back

Visit Gooner Daily’s  Facebook page.

Click on the “Follow button” to join Gooner Daily’s Mailing List

 

 

 

Advertisements

Thoughts on Szczesny’s Potential Move to Juventus

Image result for szczesny save roma

After seven seasons and 153 games for Arsenal, which included a Golden Glove, Wojciech Szczesny fell out of favor following the arrival of legendary goalie, Petr Cech, from Chelsea and he was farmed out to AS Roma to continue his footballing education. After amassing 81 games in two full seasons with the Italian giants, which also included a Serie A Golden Glove, Szczesny time in Rome was up and he was one of those players that needed to get his future sorted out with the club this summer.

The Polish shot stopper has just one year on his contract, and that’s the point where players have better bargaining power on their futures when it comes to transfers and contract negotiations. With Cech, David Ospina and Emiliano Martinez still in Arsenal’s ranks, it was evident that Arsene Wenger would be the person to make the final decision in that department, as the Gunners are fully stocked.

Sky Sports has reported that Juventus has reached a deal with Arsenal to sign Szczesny for about £14m. Apparently, the initial fee is £12.2m but there are some add-ons to the deal that makes it £14m in total. Juventus have also agreed personal terms with the player, which is believed to be about £3.5m a year. With the iconic goalie, Gianluigi Buffon, 39, having one more year left on his deal before he retires, Szczesny will be his understudy for one season before he hangs his boots in 2018.

I feel it’s definitely a good deal for the player and the club but it’s really sad to see how Szczesny fell from grace at Arsenal. This was a keeper that successfully saw out the threats of Manuel Almunia and Lukasz Fabianski but his shortcomings became glaring, probably due to cockiness and he lost his place in the team to David Ospina. The signing of Petr Cech was a rather opportunistic one, as the Czech goalie didn’t want to play second fiddle to the emerging Thibaut Courtois, and it was evident that he was going to be Arsenal’s first choice goalie when he arrived.

Many thought that Ospina was going to be shipped out to accommodate Cech and Szczesny but football is a surprising sport, and a goalie with so much potential and who was also loved by the fans was shipped away with minimal fuss by the club. I watched him closely in the Serie A and I must say he really impressed with Roma, raking in those clean sheets and putting up great performances, that has certainly caught the eyes of Max Allegri and Juventus, to the point they have made things official.

I really liked Szczesny and thought he would be our #1 for many years to come, but the reality of the situation is that he’s moving on to a really good side and I can only wish him the very best in his future endeavors. With Juventus, Szczesny will add more trophies to his current cabinet that has two FA Cups (2013/14, 2104/15) and one Community Shield (2014).

Sayonara.

Follow Gooner Daily on Twitter  @goonerdaily. I’ll follow back

Visit Gooner Daily’s  Facebook page.

Click on the “Follow button” to join Gooner Daily’s Mailing List

Viking SK Preview and Szczesny Joins Roma on Loan

I’m sure the players must be jet-lagged from all the travelling but it’s going to be a nice Scandanavian adventure for Arsene Wenger and his team before preparations get underway for the start of the new campaign. When I saw pictures of Alexis Sanchez’s ankle after the Copa America, I thought he was going to be out for a long while but seeing pictures of him training with the squad made me really happy. The blonde Welsh Jesus, Aaron Ramsey, is also back after his holidays and I’m sure he can’t wait to hit the ground running. Ramsey had such amazing tournament in the Euros, and we would be hoping he carries that form into the new campaign.

Arsenal will play Viking FK tonight in their famous Viking Stadion. I really don’t know much about them and the only time Arsenal locked horns with Norwegian opposition was against Rosenborg SK, where Cesc Fabregas became the club’s youngest scorer or so. They have some pedigree, winning the  Norwegian Tippeligaen eight times with the last coming as far back as 1991.

I would expect the game to be a decent run out for the lads and I’m really looking forward to seeing Alexis and Ramsey in action. Rob Holding is one player that has impressed massively in preseason and he would be hoping to put up another virtuoso performance, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would want to build on what he has a fantastic start to his campaign.

There is going to be a live stream on the official site, so gear yourselves up, if you may miss the game live.

To team news, I don’t think there would be any major changes to the squad but I would expect the usual substitutions from the gaffer. I’m no Wenger, but I’d expect a lineup like this…

Arsenal 4-2-3-1 football formation

Elsewhere, the club has confirmed that one of its favorite sons, Wojciech Szczesny, has returned to AS Roma for a second loan spell. Unlike last season where Szczesny didn’t have much competition for veterans, Bogdan Lobont and Morgan de Sanctis, Roma has signed Alisson from Internacional so it’s going to be very interesting to see how things pan out for Arsenal’s pole. I’ve also learned that a fee of 16m has been included in the loan contract, which gives Roma an option to buy, if Szczesny impresses.

That would be quite unfortunate if he’s eventually sold after two loan spells with the Italian outfit but he’d have himself to blame because he was heralded as the #1 for years to come but a lot of factors not worth mentioning caused things to go downhill for him at North London. With Petr Cech and David Ospina, Arsenal have the adequate quality they need in goal.

I wish Szczesny the very best in his second stint with the Italian giants.

Sayonara.

Follow Gooner Daily on Twitter  @goonerdaily.

Visit Gooner Daily’s  Facebook page.

Click on the “Follow button” to join Gooner Daily’s Mailing List