Former Arsenal man Wojciech Szczesny may not have filled Arsenal fans with confidence but he’s currently riding high with Juventus as their first-choice goalkeeper.
We think it’s a fair assessment to say that the meteoric ascent up the footballing ladder experienced by Wojciech Szczesny was incredibly unpredictable. Indeed, if you told any Gunner two years ago – which given you some indication how rapidly his circumstances have changed – that their fumbling first choice would be replacing icon Gianluigi Buffon and heading into the Champions League finals with Juventus then they’d politely tell you, you’re mad. But here we are.
The Poland international was by no means the safest goalkeeper in the world, far from it, in fact, hence the move, but there were genuine intermittent moments of unrivalled quality that cannot be ignored; demonstrations of excellent shot-stopping ability, aerial dominance and pinpoint distribution – on very rare occasions, anyway – he had all the traits to be a top-class keeper. But consistency was always a major sticking point, and that was the problem with Szczesny.
From the day he made his debut in December 2010 to when he departed for Rome in July 2015, Szczesny’s career in north London was hounded by constant debates over when he was finally going to find that streak that would enable him to fulfil his touted potential.
Never is the answer. Not in an Arsenal jersey, nor in the Premier League.
The Gunners may have initially thought they dodged a bullet when their former number one left in 2015, but how wrong they were – again. Szczesny teamed up with Serie A side Roma over a period of two seasons and in 74 appearances managed 22 clean sheets – guiding La Lupa to a second place finished, just four points behind Juventus. Not a bad achievement considering the club currently sit 33 points behind the league leaders without his between the sticks.
Turin is Szczesny’s home now, where he has replaced veteran fan favourite Buffon to become the first-choice keeper – to very good effect. Indeed, having conceded just 13 league goals so far this year, tallying a total of 11 clean sheets, it seems the Pole has finally put his inconsistencies behind him –given it’s been under the guidance on one of the most accomplished defensive units in world football.
The quarter-finals of the Champions League are next, and surely, under the guidance of Cristiano Ronaldo, glory awaits…