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Arsene Wenger – “Manuel Almunia’s experience is vital”

SoccerNews in English Premier League 7 Nov 2009

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger announced goalkeeper Manuel Almunia’s return to form and fitness and asserts that the Spaniard was dropped out only because of his sickness but otherwise is convinced over his confidence.

A chest infection and family bereavement have kept Almunia out of the Arsenal team for 10 matches, but Wenger has been impressed with his form in victories over Tottenham Hotspur and AZ Alkmaar, despite some blaming him for the latter’s consolation goal.

“To me he looks back to his best. He needs a few games to get used to playing again, but I’m not worried about him,” said Wenger, quotes The Guardian.

“I feel he had been a bit affected by the mistakes he made against Portsmouth but, overall, I would not have dropped him if he had not been sick.”

Almunia was replaced by Lukasz Fabianski and Vito Mannone when was sidelined due to illness but Wenger believes Almunia’s big game experience is vital.

“Confidence is very important,” he added.

“That’s why basically it [goalkeeper] is a position where most of the time for the big clubs, after 25 or 26, you get mature enough to play. You are not ready at 22 to take that pressure.”

Arsenal face Wolverhamton Wanderers in an away match at Molineux Stadium today. Third-place Arsenal have the chance to make up some ground at the top of the table, and a win could potentially move them above United.

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