Goalkeeper worries the main flaw in Arsenal’s plan
February 3, 2011
Ask any Arsenal fan where they would most like Arsene Wenger to strengthen and I bet goalkeeper would be top of most of their lists.
The Gunners do have three keepers on their books – Manuel Almunia, Lukas Fabianski and Wojciech Szczesny – but the first two have made big mistakes in key games (Fabianski most notably in the Champions league last season) and 20-year-old Szczesny is still inexperienced at this level.
Fulham stopper Mark Schwarzer was heavily linked with the club over the summer and was believed to be close to sealing a move on transfer deadline day in August.
But Wenger’s well known reluctance to splash the cash meant a £3million transfer broke down and the Australian promptly signed a new contract with the Cottagers.
The failure to land Schwarzer irked the supporters, frustrated both at the club’s lack of trophies in recent years as well as Wenger’s refusal to spend money, even when the club is crying out for re-enforcements.
That decision has come into focus again with the news that Fabianski – who had established himself as number one – will miss the rest of the season following surgery on a shoulder injury.
Wenger has confirmed that rookie Szczesny will take Fabianski’s place but with two massive games against Barcelona in the Champions League coming up as well as crucial league matches; will the youngster be able to cope?
All too often in recent season’s Wenger’s young side have got themselves into decent positions both in league and cup but fallen down when it matters. The Champions League betting already indicated it would be hard enough for them to get past Barcelona, and their goalkeeping problems will only make things more tricky.
Many believe it is a lack of leadership and knowhow in the moments that matter that have cost them.
By going into the Barca game with a 20-year-old keeper, I fear the same is going to happen again.