Every single transfer window that comes around sees some Arsenal fans pipe up to suggest that we should be looking to sign a new goalkeeper because quite simply, Arsenal’s number one ‘isn’t good enough’ and our back-up options aren’t any help either. However every single window passes and there isn’t any change on the number one goalkeeping spot, leading to much disappointment.
However this time around things are a little different because this season, Wojciech Szczesny has proved exactly why he should be the club’s number one and also why he has the potential to be one of the world’s best. Since Szczesny made his debut against Manchester United at Old Trafford some years ago, he has had a very bumpy ride to get to the position he is in now.
Originally impressing, Szczesny unfortunately went through a period of time where he wasn’t improving at all, despite being meant to develop with age and maturity. He then lost his place to fellow Polish international goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, but now in the 2013-14 season, Szczesny is showing exactly why there’s no need to worry about his position in this transfer window.
The Gunners have conceded just 19 goals in 22 league games and, as Arsenal.com states, 13 in 21 games if you don’t count the disastrous 6-3 defeat to City. That’s some very good statistics for a goalkeeper as it not only highlights the amount of clean sheets but consistent defensive performances. What’s especially pleasing is that this is a side that has often been criticised because of its defence, but Wenger had only positive words to say about his goalkeeper in his recent interview with Arsenal.com.
Wenger said: “Certainly a part of his improvement is mental because he’s more mature. His decision-making is cleaner, sharper, quicker. He was always a very talented boy but because he’s intelligent he learns quickly from experience. I’m happy that I always gave him the confidence because he’s developing very well into a very strong goalkeeper and today certainly nobody would question that he’s one of the top five goalkeepers in the Premier League.”
Wenger also believes that it’s the team’s collectively good defensive work that has helped our record in attack and therefore on the league points. Wenger continued: “That defensive solidity of course is the basic work you have to do to be efficient at home. Maybe what is even more important is to have that solidarity at home because it gives you time to fatigue your opponent, time to stretch them, time to dominate them and get the game completely in their own half. The longer that lasts the more you have chances to score.”
There’s no doubt that Szczesny has improved dramatically because his stats show the evidence. However I think it’s important to remember that although our Polish shot stopper has improved between the sticks, it’s the defensive display from the whole team that has contributed to such a good record that Szczesny alone. So the boss has been proven right not to sign a keeper or centre back as well as sticking with Ramsey, bringing Flamini back etc. Maybe we should start to have a bit more faith in Le Prof.