Arsenal’s defensive record this season has been questionable, just like the last couple of seasons in fact. One of the reasons for that is instability is their goalkeeping situation.
First choice Wojciech Szczesny spent a chunk of the early season campaign on the sidelines injured and was replaced by Italian Vito Mannone.
Szczesny has struggled to find his best form since returning to the team from injury. In fact the Pole has been replaced in recent games by compatriot Lukasz Fabianski.
Fabianski had not played for the Gunners in over 18 months before being selected against AC Milan in the Champions League.
A good defence needs to have confidence in their keeper and Arsenal backlines in recent years haven’t had that in their goalkeepers. This had led to Arsenal conceding a worrying amount of goals.
Arsenal defences have struggled to keep clean sheets in recent campaigns. Even during Arsene Wenger’s early days the Gunners had the safe hands of David Seaman. The England keeper rarely made mistakes.
The mistakes he did make were more shocking because everybody was accustomed to him being so reliable. However, most goalkeepers that The Gunners have had in recent years haven’t had the same level of reliability.
Arsenal’s number one Wojciech Szczesny has been inconsistent this season, but that has to be expected from such a young keeper. The Polish international is confident to point of arrogance.
However confident he may be he is still just 22 years of age. There are not a lot of keepers that have commanded a regular starting place at such a big club at such a young age. The only ones I can think of are Iker Casillas and Gigi Buffon.
Young players do go through dips in form and Szczesny is no different. The Polish youngster has the potential to become a very good goalkeeper in the future. He has all the attributes to develop into a top keeper.
I have to admit that I have been surprised by Arsenal not getting an experienced keeper in to compete with Szczesny in the last few seasons. He needs to have a more experienced keeper to learn from and to push him to find his best form.
Szczesny dropping out of the team has led to speculation that the Pole now wants to leave north London. It’s slightly silly to believe that he would demand a move just because he has been left out for a few games.
On the rumours he said: “I am too happy to go somewhere else. I believe in the philosophy of the club and that Arsenal will start to win again.
“I have a debt to pay here for the club, I owe them. I just do not want to go anywhere else. As long as they want me here, there is no ‘somewhere else’, and I have a contract until June 2015.”
Reports in the Daily Mirror have suggested that Arsenal could make a move for Chelsea keeper Petr Cech. It seems like a strange move. I can’t see the Czech Republic international wanting to move to the Emirates Stadium and I can’t see Chelsea selling their number one.
Chelsea do own talented young Belgium keeper Thibaut Courtois, but it’s believed that the Blues are keen on loaning the youngster out for a couple more seasons, after the youngsters successful loans spells at Atletico Madrid. It doesn’t look likely that Chelsea would sell Cech and replace him with the highly-rated young star.
Arsenal are being linked with another Belgium international in Sunderland keeper Simon Mignolet. The 24 year-old’s agent revealed last month that his client could be on the move this summer.
Mignolet has been in good form this season, but like just like Szczesny is still relatively inexperienced in the top flight. I don’t know whether Mignolet would be the answer to the Gunners problems. He is a promising keeper so he could give Szczesny the competition he needs though.
This summer a goalkeeper must be one of Arsene Wenger’s priority signings. Szczesny has become complacent because he knows he is considered outright first choice. The youngster needs another quality keeper in the squad to challenge his position.
Lukasz Fabianski has kept two clean sheets in the last few appearances. However, Wenger doesn’t seem to rate the Polish international as a long-term number one. For now Arsenal fans will be hoping that their two Poles can hold up their defence until the end of the season.
Will Arsenal sign another keeper in the summer?