Arsenal’s recent 3-1 defeat against Olympiacos was disappointing in a number of ways. It was viewed as an opportunity for a number of second-string players to start vying for a place in the first-team.
The likes of Marouane Chamakh, Andrey Arshavin andSebastien Squillaci have always existed in and around the first XI, without really staking a claim to a regular starting berth.
Unfortunately these also happened to be the players that disappointed on the grandest scale on Tuesday night.
Chamakh applied himself to no real end (accidental assist aside), Arshavin failed to make any impact and didn’t look at the races at all, whilst Squillaci proved that he is totally unable to marshal a defence.
Even youngsters like Francis Coquelin and Emmanuel Frimpong disappointed after a wildly impressive showing against Manchester City the week prior.
But the real dissatisfaction when it comes to Arsenal has to be the lack of strength in depth they have when it comes to goalkeepers. Lukasz Fabianski lived up to his ‘Flappyhandski’ moniker until an inadvertent challenge with Belgian defender Thomas Vermaelen saw him leave the pitch with a gash in his knee.
Arsenal fans may have thought that things couldn’t have got any worse. That is, until the introduction of third choice keeper, Vito Mannone. It could be argued that he was at fault for both Olympiacos’ second and third goals. Come back Manuel Almunia, everything is forgiven!
It may be a little unfair to judge Mannone on the basis of one performance, particularly since he has never had regular game time at the club. Yet so is the life of a reserve goalkeeper, the best of whom are able to come on in during difficult games and perform to a high level. Two major mistakes during a European outing simply doesn’t fit the billing.
It may not be fair, but Arsenal fans need to know that should Wojciech Szczesny pick up an injury or be absent for any other reason, there is another safe pair of hands at the club. At the moment Fabianski and Mannone just don’t look ready and that’s not good enough at a team competing on as many fronts as Arsenal.
There is a clear need for another world-class striker to join the club, but perhaps the goalkeeping position is one that also needs to be assessed. Chesney is a top class talent, but Arsenal still need somebody in reserve that they can trust.
But what’s your take? Am I being too harsh on Mannone and Fabianksi? Or is it time that Wenger went shopping this January?
Courtesy of Gunnersphere.com