Arsenal lost the chance to take the first leg advantage at Portugal but for the team and most of all, Fabianski, with the next game coming as quick as tomorrow home against Sunderland, it presents a very good oppourtunity to bounce back immediately. Players always like that, the chance to redeem themselves in the next game, the quicker they come the better it is. A different ghost than the one in Wednesday night, Sunderland is another past failure that we need to exorcise out of our system.
The goalkeeping situation is a bit of a worry at the moment. With the season’s first choice Almunia not giving everyone a whole load of confidence, his understudies have done nothing to give us much hope either. After the Spaniard, the others are considerably young in age, in the life of a keeper. Though they are those who excel from young but apart from Cassilas and Buffon, keepers generally mature and become world class at a much later stage of their career compared to the outfielders.
Which is why it is still too early to write Fabianski off, despite the 2 major howlers that he committed against Porto. He is still only 24 years of age and have not really played continuously any more than 5 consecutive games for Arsenal. A long run in the first team could really help his stead, but the bigger question remains, whether Wenger and Arsenal could afford to give him the extended stay when we are still chasing titles on two fronts. It’s a real Catch 22 situation.
Szczescny has been touted as the next big thing and to be fair, have performed admirably at Brentford but is yet to be tested in the premier tier of English football. The irony of it all is that Szczescny himself is a Pole and Fabianski is under threat from his countryman at an English club. Unless the younger Pole is trusted upon and thrown in the deep end of the Premier League, we would never know whether it would work out or not.
During the absence of both Almunia and Fabianski early in the season, Vito Mannone got his chance to show his worth and produced a match winning performance in only his second senior start. That match at Fulham highlighted the wonderful talent that the Italian possess though that too became less and less apparent after a few more games. Nerves got the better of Mannone as he made a couple of mistakes although they were never crucial as Arsenal were either already cruising in the game or have came from behind to secure the victory.
Your guess is as good as mine. Does Wenger needs to invest in the summer for an established keeper? The likes of Loris of Lyon, Hart of Birmingham/Man City and Adler of Leverkusen are those that immediately rings a few bells. The problem could be that these 3 names are also very young keepers and might not be much better than those already within our ranks. Our defence needs a better custodian behind them and currently it is a trait not evident enough among those that we have. Your move Wenger.