Regardless of what Wojciech Szczesny ate, drank or smoked in the showers after a miserable 0-2 defeat to the mighty Saints, his omission from between the Arsenal sticks has been a while coming. Emerging as a beacon of hope in the world after Almunia, Szczesny has failed to build on his promising talent, instead turning into the bundle of nerves of a goalkeeper the Arsenal faithful were so used to before his arrival.
Perhaps a little harsh. But out of the elite Premier League clubs only Arsenal find themselves with an uncertainty in regards to their number one. Szczesny is older than De Gea of Manchester United and Courtois of Chelsea. By the way, Liverpool don’t count as they are currently awful and Mignolet doesn’t even wear the number one, so there.
Too long now have Arsenal gone without a world class goalkeeper as Arsene Wenger attempted to solve the problem on the cheap, hoping to be rewarded with unearthing a goalkeeping gem. Szczesny is not a gem. He is very good at times. He is similar to the sort of goalkeeper who comes to the Emirates as the opposition and puts on a performance worthy of an Oscar…but then goes on to drop a clanger away to Hull the next week. Capable of magic one minute and madness the next. A characteristic acceptable perhaps of a forward but not a goalkeeper.
The performance against Southampton was unfortunately not a shock. His reaction to an awful second mistake was puzzling and displayed a boy who is not ready. Very Buffon esque. Sorry, Buffoon esque. To see Fraser Forster guarding the Southampton goal was just insult to injury. I bet Fraser thinks Lambert and Butler are Liverpool reserves.
Champions League red cards against Galatasaray (not so costly) and Bayern Munich (costly), are just a couple of moments that show Szczesny is not ready to keep goal in a team challenging for major honours. Maybe one day, but not now, and that has been a mistake by Wenger.
I like Wojciech, seriously I do. He seems to care for the Arsenal. But every time he attempts a Cruyff turn to an opposing striker I want to throw my £5 half time snack plastic pizza slice into his face. The day the ball ricochets and goes in I might just.
His predecessor’s antics have meant that the Pole has seemed a steady goalkeeper at times. But let’s not forget he was at one point dropped for a certain Lukas Fabianski. A spot that was only regained thanks to an injury to the now Swansea goalkeeper. The same Swansea goalkeeper who played every game in the club’s run to its first trophy in nine years with many fine performances along the way. Nice timing there Arsene letting that one go.
Anyway, as they say, it’s not his fault he’s picked! Blame the manager! However, one can forgive Arsene for seeing talent in a young keeper. However, the lack of respect and discipline reportedly shown in the dressing room after effectively costing his team valuable points needs to be addressed properly. It makes the manager look foolish that a player can perform and then behave like that. Imagine such behaviour under Ferguson or Mourinho. Impossible.
Will Wenger go out and spend serious money on a top keeper? Probably not. Should he? Absolutely. In which case what Arsenal fans could and should see is Colombian international David Ospina given a chance in the posts.
I witnessed Ospina’s debut in the cup against our new bogey boys the Saints and he looked a good shot stopper. But this was a debut in a new setting and it has to be said he looked composed against Hull last weekend. Saying that, I’d be disappointed if a cardboard cut out of Richard Wright hadn’t kept out a dismal Hull attack.
Regardless, it seems as if Woj will retain his place as the number one goalkeeper of Arsenal. And the thing with Szczesny, is that by the end of the season he could well put in a season defining performance with either glorious or catastrophic circumstances. I’d rather not take the risk.
Oh, and Manchester United signed Victor Valdes on a free transfer this week.