We all wanted a new keeper this summer because we feared Almunia is a liability. We all knew he will cost us points, and inevitably we had the first taste of it last Saturday at the Emirates. You have to wonder why Wenger persists with him. Not only has he never impressed in an Arsenal shirt, except for penalties and the crazy half hour against Barcelona, but we have arguably the best young talented goalkeeper around – Wojciech Szczesny.
The 20 year old Pole spent half of last season on loan at Brentford where he earned rave reviews for his exceptional performances. He kept 10 clean sheets from 28 appearances. Wenger and all Arsenal fans see him as a future number 1. But the question is why future? Why not give him a go NOW? He surely can’t be worse than those who we have ahead of him in the pecking order. How many more points will the hapless Almunia help shed before Szczesny gets his chance? The youngster is an amazing shot stopper, as you must have seen in the video compilation of his performances at Brentford. He has sharp reflexes and very strong, and long, arms. Wenger summed it up himself when he said: “I think he has all the qualities you want in a keeper and his reflexes are absolutely unbelievable. When you think it’s a goal, with him it’s still no goal!”
Wenger is renowned for giving youngsters a chance. Even this season we have seen young Jack Wilshere promoted to the first team and its quite clear how well the gamble has paid off. So there’s no reason why Szszesny shouldn’t be given his chance. World Champion Iker Casillas started off at a very young age too and look what a world class keeper he turned out to be. When you have such exceptional talent, age shouldn’t be a factor in determining your first team place. Majority of the Arsenal fans just don’t get why has he not been given a try seeing the pitiful performances of Almunia and Fabianski. It’s a fact though that Wenger has never had a good eye for keepers. Apart from Jens Lehmann, most would argue he has never managed to buy a top class keeper. Some go as far as to say Wenger’s go it all wrong at the moment. The pecking order is completely opposite. It should be in the order Szczesny, Mannone, Fabianski, Almunia. Can’t say its not worth a shot!
Brentford manager and fans both feel Szczesny has Premier League quality. So does the outspoken youngster, in fact. Andy Scott, manager of Brentford, gave him a glowing reference:
“His (Szczesny) performances suggest that he would not be out of place in the Championship or even the Premier League. It has reached the stage where when he lets in a goal we wonder why he hasn’t saved it.
“I’m not in a position to question Arsene Wenger’s judgement on his goalkeepers and he knows his players better than anyone. All I can say is Wojciech has done everything in his power here. He is a fantastic lad who is desperate for the chance and is mature beyond his years.”
Managers don’t come out and praise players just like that everyday. It takes someone special to deserve it.
We, Arsenal fans, feel powerless seeing the likes of Almunia and Fabianski make high profile mistakes week in week out and then their manager defending them. We can just hope, and pray, that this prodigal goalkeeper gets his chance pretty soon; because he deserves it. And be proud as well. We have the future world’s best keeper at Arsenal. Lets hope he doesn’t make the mistake of leaving since his contract expires at the end of this season.
Here’s a couple of videos of the youngster. Enjoy and feel free to let your views known of the goalkeeping situation in the comments.