Following the somewhat lacklusture display in goal by Lukasz Fabianski in Arsenal’s 4-1 Carling Cup victory over rivals Tottenham, many North London fans are once again questioning the goalkeeping situation at the Emirates and whether it is good enough to see them succeed this season.
Despite being linked with Fulham keeper Mark Schwarzer throughout the summer, manager Arsene Wenger has recently stated that the thought to buy a new keeper was one that never crossed his mind, believing that the calibre of keepers at the North London club was more than good enough to allow the Gunners to challenge at the highest level.
To many fans, Fabianski’s poor attempt to keep out Robbie Keane’s shot for Spur’s equalising goal last night only helped to further highlight the need for a change to be made to help instil some much needed confidence through out the squad, knowing that the players can rely on their keeper to perform when called upon.
While number one keeper Manuel Almunia hasn’t made too many costly mistakes so far this season, his lack of confidence during games has been evident for all see and surely as the fans and media have noticed his confidence issue, it is difficult to see how it could not have an affect on the defenders playing in front of him on a weekly basis.
The only keeper in the Arsenal ranks to impress to any degree over the last few seasons is that of Vito Mannone. However, at the age of just 22, there is no doubt that the Italian is a star in the making, but is he ready for competitive action on a regular basis at the highest level in the Premier League?
Manchester City’s keeper Joe hart is just under a year older than Mannone and the youngster has recently established himself as both City and England number one so the possibility of Mannone taking the number one slot at Arsenal isn’t too preposterous, and one which merits significant thought.
Considering the fact that the transfer window is closed and there doesn’t seem to be any considerable talent available in the loan market, it could be time that Wenger gives either Mannone or 20 year old Wojciech Szczesny a run in the first team just to see how the youngsters perform when the pressure is on.
Surely form a purely performance based perspective, it doesn’t seem that the former Atlanta and Legia Warsaw youngsters could do any worse than Almunia and Fabianski’s recent efforts, although there has been suggestions that Szcezesny could be looking for a move away from the Emirates having not been selected for the recent League Cup game.
While this could serve to act as a short term solution, many fans still believe that Wenger must look to secure the signature of a world class goalkeeper come the January transfer window if Arsenal are to challenge at the highest level as the season draws to an end in both the domestic and European competitions, keeping pressure on those who are potential rivals to the much needed silverware.
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