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Arsenal beat SC Neusiedl yesterday by four goals to nothing. Nothing much to shout about considering the opponents are in the 3rd division of the Austrian league. Among the more noteworthy things to remember was Marouane Chamakh opening his goalscoring accounts for Arsenal albeit via a penalty.
Johan Djourou was withdrawn at the half hour mark of the game with a slight hamstring pull, according to Arsene Wenger. Just when you expect him to kick on this coming season with the departures of senior central defenders, injuries once again comes into play. Although Wenger expects him to be ready for the Emirates Cup at the weekend, this is another spanner in the works for the Swiss.
Manuel Almunia also gets his first game of the new season yesterday, completing the first 45 minutes. Having been shun by Wenger in the first two friendlies, preferring to slot Lukasz Fabianski in goal, the Spaniard’s appearance throw’s a few questions around. How I look at the goalkeeping situation is basically broken down into these;
1. Almunia will retain the number 1 jersey for the upcoming season. Keep him in goal and the sight of the first calamity, drop him for Fabianski and ultimately being moved on the subsequent transfer market. This remains the only way that Almunia can remain at the club for the new season.
2. Almunia is sold and Fabianski is promoted to first choice. Enough is enough and if we are to chase our first silverware in years, we need a more dependable keeper. Yes, I know Fabianski does not quite promote confidence in Arsenal fans but I’ve always stress that keepers need consistency in terms of games. That is how the partnership with the defence can be develop. The understanding of when to come for the ball and when the defenders must know that they must clear the ball will not be achieved without games.
3. Almunia is sold and Fabianski remains as second choice keeper, with an experienced keeper being signed. This option allows Wojciech Sczcesny the chance to be eased into the first team after several seasons. The ones that have already been mentioned as possible transfer includes Mark Schwarzer and David James. In my opinion, neither are better than the options that we already have.
4. Almunia is sold and Fabianski remains as second choice keeper, with no new signing. This means that Sczcesny is fast-tracked to first choice and allow the chance to stake a claim. This is really a case of why not? The younger Pole shone in his loan season at Brentford and looks to be the best among the 4 that we currently have in Arsenal books.
5. Almunia is sold and it’s a toss up between Fabianski and Sczcesny for the back-up role. This means that we get a younger keeper, but someone who already have bags of experience and could stay as the undisputed No. 1 at Arsenal for years. Andrey Arshavin’s pal in Russia, Igor Akinfeev’s name has been touted around already.
Anything other than 1 and 3 is fine by me. What do you think? So, which would be your preferred option?