Arsenal have never really been great with goalkeepers ever since the departures of Seaman and Lehmann, trying to solve their problems with the likes of Almunia, Fabianski and more recently Wojciech Szczesny, however it’s the latter name that will be the focus of today, as the Polish international has spoken out about his time with the Gunners.
Szczesny has had a very up and down career with Arsenal, much like goalkeepers usually do because the team is often so dependent on them. As Arsenal go through their tough times so does Szczesny, whilst the more pleasing times of late, have largely been down to not just the addition of Ozil, and the inform players of Giroud and Ramsey, but also because of Szczseny’s much improved game.
He has often come under criticism at Arsenal for being error prone and making several stupid decisions that not many can condone. His decisiveness is sometimes poor and he can be extremely confident at times, perhaps a little too confident, but I think most of the time I am content with Szczseny’s performances, especially in the last year or so.
When he made his debut against United a few years back, Szczesny showed what a real talent we had on our hands and he certainly didn’t let us down over the next few years, the problem was that he hasn’t really progressed much since then and that’s been the most disappointing thing. Szczesny is talented, there is no doubting that. What I think needs improving is his maturity as well as his consistency. Perhaps the time where we really started to see improvements from Szczesny was when he was dropped to the bench last year, and upon his return he seemed to be a completely different goalkeeper.
On that, Szczesny recently said, “It was obviously tough but a very good lesson for me one I really needed at the time. I felt more pressure, more desire to give it an extra ten percent in training, to turn up early and show the boss I deserved to be back in goal. And that extra ten per cent made all the difference.
“When, as a manager, you have been in the job for a long time you know what to do. So I have learned from it, come back stronger and now I’m feeling good. I have pressure from two fantastic keepers. They try their hardest in training and keep me on my toes.
“I feel pressure at all times but am I worried about anyone else coming in? Not really. It is important for us to know our manager is staying. There are players here who have had ups and downs and he has shown trust and we are trying to repay that.
“That is very important the stability of the club and the trust we have in our manager. We have been together for a long time and we know each other – on and off the pitch. It always helps.”
A lot of people thought it was necessary to sign a new goalkeeper this summer and although I wouldn’t have rejected the chance should the likes of Casillas, Marchetti or Adler come along, I certainly didn’t think it was an absolute must and I’m quite glad Wenger chose to keep his faith in the Polish international. If Szczesny can prove himself this year then he has a real chance of finally becoming Arsenal’s number one keeper for a very long time, like he has always dreamt of.