A very good Saturday to all of you. No Arsenal today as they will only be playing tomorrow. So full preview only on tomorrow’s post.
Arsenal held their AGM on Thursday and it was a much relaxed one compared to the one held post the semifinal lost to Man United. There were no one in the party who questioned Arsene Wenger’s actions or tactics. Overall, the performance this season has allowed or at least given Wenger space and time from the even the most pessimistic of Arsenal supporters. The action were more focused on the presence of Stan Kroenke who sat together with the rest of the board members. Though he wasn’t inclined to make any comments about possible takeover. Let’s keep it that way Stan.
When asked in a later interview, Wenger also declined to state that Manuel Almunia will be reinstated as the number 1 keeper at the club. In a way, I do pity the Spaniard. Having spent a couple of seasons behind Jens Lehman learning, he finally got his chance middle of the 07/08 season and has kept his place ever since. He has not made not that many errors in his short numero uno career. That being said, other than first leg encounter at Old Trafford last season, he has not won any match for Arsenal on his own. The same cannot be said of his predecessor, Lehman or even the great David Seaman.
The threat to his spot now comes in the form of Vito Mannone and the returning Lukazs Fabianski. Although we must not forget there’s another jewel in the crown in Wojciech Szczesny. The 2 Polish goalkeepers are probably the most highest rated in Wenger’s mind compared to the other 2. I’m sure in the near future, that might be the case. But for now, Wenger has a good headache to have. It will be slightly cruel to drop Mannone, given that he has not let the team down just yet. Yes, there were the 1 mistake against Blackburn. But for a keeper of his age and experience, 1 mistake in 7 games is a very very commendable effort. I already lost the count the number of times Ben Forster conceded due to his own mistakes. Mannone is more commanding in the penalty box than Almunia can ever dream to be.
Fabianski though has had a stop start career at Arsenal. His incredible double stop last season, still lingers in my mind. But like the outfield players in Arsenal, he has suffered through numerous injuries which have not helped his cause. He will need also to recover from the errors he made during the Chelsea defeat at Wembley. What I do like about him is that, he always attacks the ball during corners and freekicks. Things like this always give assurance to the defenders in front of him. If he learns to decide which other balls that he can stay on the line, then I do not doubt that he can make the first choice spot his own.
Almunia, Fabianski, Mannone or even Szczesny? You got your pick? I know I do. But what is Wenger’s?