Am I The Only One Not Concerned About The GoalKeeper?

Before I say anything else I will acknowledge that I completely understand why many fans wanted a new goalkeeper. Yes, we’ve seen mistakes by our keepers, some of which were really poor. So I can relate to the demand for a new keeper.

But saying we need a new keeper and getting the right guy are not the same thing. Almunia, Fabianski, and Mannone have all made some mistakes. So who can guarantee that a fourth guy will actually do better? In order to answer that we cannot just rely on silly statements like, “anyone is better than Almunia and Fabianski.” Fans can say that but a man who has to make the decision cannot.

I’ve given this issue a great deal of thought and analyzed plenty of goals that we’ve conceded in a great deal of detail. I showed the Keepers were not the primary culprits at Birmingham and Blackburn last year and I’ve done this analysis for many other goals but didn’t have the time to create an article for each game. My conclusion is that our Keepers are not perfect but we’ve much bigger defensive problems that leave our Keepers with an extremely difficult job. This has been my stance on this issue for the last few months.

One issue that many raise about the Keepers is flapping. My theory has always been that Almunia, Fabianski, and Mannone have been forced into coming for balls that others Keepers leave to their defenders. If our defenders deal with most of the balls into the box the Keepers will be able to focus on their jobs better. We saw clear evidence of this in the last game against Blackburn when Almunia rarely came out for a corner or a throw and our defenders/midfielders dealt with most of the balls in the penalty area. That allowed Almunia to maintain his focus and he did well each time he had to act – catching, punching, coming out to clear, and distribution (First goal came from a quick free kick he took just after he was fouled).

Our defending at Ewood Park wasn’t exceptional but it got us a result. I see that as a step in the right direction. Our title chances will depend a lot on our collective defending and although the keeper will be an important part of that, he should never be the main protagonist.

I don’t care much about the no-hopers who just wait for a chance to attack Arsenal and Wenger. They’ve just got new reasons to moan over this issue but their moronic groaning will be harmless as long as the majority of the fans can maintain their perspective.

It is interesting to note that while many wanted a new Keeper there is no consensus on who is or isn’t good enough. I’ve seen plenty of comments which said Schwarzer was no better than Almunia (I agree with that), I’ve seen plenty of comments saying we should have signed Given but also some that said Given was no better than our keepers as far as aerial presence goes (Stewart Robson explained this well and I did an article last year that exposed Given’s woes in three games against Stoke), there were some who didn’t think Stekelenburg was that good after a series of errors in the World Cup, and same can be said about many other Keepers.

Does that mean there is no Keeper better than the ones we have? No. It just means that it’s easy to say someone is not good but very difficult to establish that someone else is a significant improvement. And once you do find one who you like there is no guarantee that the transfer will work out unless you’ve the kind of cash City have.

I believe the single biggest factor (apart from training and getting the system right) that will determine how our defence performs this year will be confidence. Unfortunately, the anti-Arsenal media and pundits, along with the misery brigade, have successfully created an air of uncertainty about our defence. I’m not saying our defence (including Keepers) was great but constant criticism has certainly created some negative vibes and ultimately that does affect the players’ confidence. The saddest aspect is that nowadays people actively look for reasons to blame the Goalkeeper even when he isn’t the real culprit. More than the technical aspects that was the reason I supported a new Keeper signing. It would have been a confidence booster but we can live without it.

From what I’ve seen in the three games this year and the whole of last year most teams have keepers who are not better than the ones we have. If you really think about it, most often when a keeper gets accolades for a Premiership performance it’s because of his shot-stopping i.e. the number of saves he makes. I’ve not seen a single goalkeeper so far who has punched or claimed most of the balls put in the box. And established keepers like Reina and Howard have actually cost their team some points because they couldn’t deal with an aerial ball. Even Cech has been caught in a no man’s land quite often but his defence has bailed him out.

As far as the second keeper goes, I think Fabianski is far better than Hilario, Cudicini and Kuszczak. Seriously, think about it. Or just look at the Wigan goal against Cudicini, or any game in which Hilario has been the keeper.

Obviously, Wenger and his team have also worked on this. They identified some targets but it didn’t work out. I don’t really buy the three months arguments because Man City had three months and unlimited resources but they got a rollicking against the Tinies and lost to Sunderland. If you say Wenger had three months to do something you’ve to explain how City dropped 5 points in their first three games. Bottom-line is, it will never be as simple as signing as cheque.

Clearly, Arsenal have also changed their approach to defending the aerial balls. We saw much better contribution from our outfield players at Ewood Park and I’m convinced our Keepers can do well if we sort out the organization, awareness and concentration issues in front of them.

Undoubtedly, naysayers will be out in hordes and will scrutinize every mistake in great detail. They’ll also find faults where none exist. We’ve exposed ourselves to this nuisance, but if the team remains focussed and we get the defensive training right, it will be nothing more than a nuisance.

As Song showed last year and Walcott is showing this year, the best way to answer the critics is with performances on the pitch. They’ll need a little help with a positive atmosphere at the stadium and I’m hoping most of the Emirates faithful will get behind the team.

114 Responses to Am I The Only One Not Concerned About The GoalKeeper?

  1. rodale says:

    Great post mate…Almunia has shown signs of improvement and he is also a good lad

  2. dangunner says:

    we need a top goalie av u noticed we never won a thing since we lost lehmann ok he made the odd mistake but so did seaman but think bout it they both won us games alumnia as never dun that but he as lost a few well more than a few man u twice last year just 2 name a few

    • SomeRandomGunner says:

      People give the Patrick Viera as the reason why we have not won anything. It is just coincidence and convenience rather than anything. Aw we lost to Manu because of Almunia is it ?
      I cannot even imagine that as a reason , Almunia is supposed to come and close the space when left alone with the striker that is what he did, if he had stopped it that would have been amazing thing it is not a mistake on his part. Second goal was an own goal impossible to stop.
      In the home game we lost because we could not score goals Arshavin missed few chances and was selfish.

  3. Gooner Town says:

    No I also watched the last two away games and was present at the Emirates v Blackpool and yes that was Almunia looking remarkably like Schwarzer but slightly better looking! Remember when Wenger made a bid for Feliipe Melo? Alex Song stepped up and saved us £17 million. Well lets see if Almunia has saved us 2 mil shall we?

  4. momono says:

    Almunia is a joke, Fabianski a bigger joke, Mannone a joke in training and Szensny is a joker waiting

    embarassing how a club as proud as Arsenal puts up with idiots like them

    • Phil23 says:


    • London Gun says:

      Fuck off Redknapp you baggy faced cunt, havent you got a Real reject to sign.

    • ezwan says:

      why u said like that…are u gunners?…

    • gavas says:


    • arCHer says:

      you’re a tragedy

    • suhel says:

      dude, i dnt kno if u r a guy but i dnt what i would done to if u wre in front my face, but probably i would hve put u in my washing machine with free of charge to clean dat spud shyt off u

    • Jimmie says:

      And Arsenal Are totally embarasse to have fan like you momonofuc#ker

    • Shevo says:

      Hahahahaha what a joker you are pal. The clubs aren’t the ones who should be embarrassed. You are!!!
      You should be ashamed for calling yourself a supporter when all people like you do is knock the club. Granted that some of our players will make mistakes, but so do players at other clubs. I saw Reina flapped at balls in the recent game against us before he comically bundled in a last minute own goal. I didn’t hear many Liverpool Supporters including the anti-Arsenal media calling for Roy Hodgson to buy a new keeper.
      I bet you were also one of those so called “Fair Weathers” begging Wenger to buy Robert Green prior to the World. Look what happened to him and where is he now.
      Almunia may not be the best Keeper in the world but he’s our keeper so get behind him and show some support just like we did with Eboue, Song and Bendtner. Otherwise the constant sniping he’s getting can only do more harm than good if it continues.

    • oneil says:

      your name says it all Dumbono…

    • AK says:

      momono would you mind ? Please just stop watching ARSENAL and go support spuds….
      You dont deserve to be called and Arsenal Fan you d1ckhead.
      Anyone here disagrees with me ?

  5. adam says:

    Even Arsene knows we need a goalkeeper, hence the Schwartzer thing. The tragedy is that, even after a whole close season and plenty of money he couldn’t make a deal.

    • Jon says:

      Dude get real…he is not worth the money Fulham asked for.
      And Fulham wouldn’t have sold him anyway ‘cos of no replacement

      • aravindvr says:

        Yup right Jon…we have good crop of young Goalies in Szczesny and Mannone and Shea too….

        Schwarzer has back injury probs and even if we had signed him, hes not gonna do gud…

        Given- ManCity will not let him to Arsenal
        LLoris- Too short/Big money cant do business with Lyon who sells players for Big Money only….

        Thers no single consistent GoalKeeper out ther whom we can sign…
        Think rationally….
        Wenger tried to imrove our squad…but Market was not favouring….
        cant Buy anyone like ManShitty and Chelski…
        reason- We r Arsenal-The Model Club-May be The last remaining ‘Football’ club

  6. GoonerForLife says:

    I agree with this post I’m glad we didn’t by Schwartzer because I don’t view him as better than what we already have (exept fabianski, everyone’s better than him). That being said though, we truly do need a world class keeper.

  7. Asmo says:

    Thoughtful, reasoned, rational analysis. Sterling work sir.

    The rabid knee-jerkers are always the most vocal, but thankfully for the most part they seem to keep it online.

    • DesiGunner says:

      Thanks. I’ve been very impressed with the Emirates faithful because except for that odd incidence with Eboue we’ve not had a bad reaction from the supporters. Tiny Spuds supporters were booing the team after the loss to Wigan!

  8. rossco says:

    he may be a good lad, but he not a good goalkeeper he cost us title last year flappin and punching thin air at corners and set peices and our number two is even worse, a goalkeeper is the missing peice to our jigsaw

  9. Dhruv says:

    Not only you… Apparently Wenger as well..

  10. rossco says:

    we are ARSENAL lets start acting like it

  11. forza forza says:

    you must love mediocre shit then.

  12. Terence McGovern says:

    I object to oxygen-thieves like you even existing. I accept that there is an intelligence gulf there and I cannot meet you in the middle by simply being lazy. However, if you push the outside of the stupidity envelpoe any harded it’s going to break.

    You can potentially criticise Almunia in the past but not on current form albeit a tad early in the season.
    IQ vacumns like you have helped destroy Fabianski’s confidence like you almost succeeded in doing to Eboue.
    Mannone has always shown himself to be capable.

    But when you criticise our 20 year old prodigy “Chesney” it shows that you know less than nothing about our youth team’s past glories.
    You are probably one of those plastic malcontented football “customers” who only cares about being able to vicariously brag to his fellow retards about winning a trophy.

    “Chesney” is a a goal-keeping prodigy. He is a 6″ 5′ genetic cross between Buffon and a young Van der Sar with the reflexes of a panther on acid.

    Your very existence is an offence to me.

  13. sam says:

    let’s just hope we score alot of goals. at least 3 goals a game.
    from what i see this is the last chance for almunia,hopefully he’s not gonna cost us the title again.

  14. meghan says:

    Finally, a rational thought process. Defense is our uh, first line of defense… keep the ball away, and Almunia can go back to ‘getting a bit bored’ in the Arsenal box. Shit defense will ruin any keeper’s reputation… but I’d say that Fabianski is a bit air headed… like he counts the clouds til he notices the pack running at him then oh, oh, what happened?? I would love to see any of our keepers’ critics try and get a ball past ’em. I’d give the shit talker my next pay check if he managed to make one in…

    • DesiGunner says:

      I think you meant attack is our first line of defense. But yeah I get your point, Arsenal are best defensively when we force the opposition back into their own half.

  15. HexyDre says:

    I’ve been following your blog for a couple of weeks now, excellent posts so far, and with this one you just became my favorite Arsenal blog (alongside
    I love level headed Arsenal fans like this!!
    In Manuel we (have to) trust so let’s get behind him, I believe he’s up to the task and I’m glad we didn’t sign MS.
    Cheers to a treble winning season! (hope has never killed anyone)

    • DesiGunner says:

      Thanks, you’re too kind. I think I have a long way to go before I consider myself anywhere in the same league as Arseblog. As Arsenal fans know, it’s about consistency over the years isn’t it 🙂

  16. Someone says:

    no no , there’s also Waleed ( Mr.arsen )

    here his profile

    I dont no what you see in this clowns

    lets hopefull he can do well later

  17. supasam8 says:

    good rational perspective. all the truth in it

    all the fans (like forza forza) who think we play shit football shouldn’t support the team, plain and simple. if you want to watch the way chelsea pounds goals in for fun, go watch those assholes.

    i’d rather see beauty in my football, give me arsenal

  18. Keith says:

    Almunia and Flappy are clown’s and Arsenal are a joke for having them as our keepers.Do you really believe we will win a CL or Prem with Spain’s 50th best keeper? .Wenger doesnt rate him or why would he try to sign Schwarzer?????Another trophyless season beckons.Doh!!

    • DesiGunner says:

      If you revisit the Arsenal-Barca quarter-final you’ll see that Almunia was far better than Valdes. I’d say the only reason Valdes gets picked ahead of Almunia is because the third keeper rarely plays and it’s good to have someone from a team that already has a lot of players in the Spain squad as that is good for team spirit.

      Also Almunia should also be in the top three for England but Capello doesn’t want to pick foreigners. I’ve a feeling Hart will be exposed once England face the crunch games.

  19. supasam8 says:

    and terence, couldn’t have said it any better.

  20. Keith says:

    What a stupid blog .If Schwarzer is no better than Almunia why did Wenger try to sign him?.You dont have to be a brain surgeon to work it out.Wenger tried all summer to replace him now is stuck with the clown he didnt want

  21. supasam8 says:

    i think the signing of a new goalkeeper was mostly a PR move.

    gazidis was probably after a keeper for the fans. something tells me wenger had no strong hand in that one

  22. el tel says:

    Please explain the 40 yard free kick that did for us in the Champs League againstthe Mancscum then.

    I suppose it was a defensive collective to let a ball from that distance inside your near post.

    The thing is you could say this in most of the Clowns games for us, the simple fact is that other teams have no respect for him and so they try the outragious yet he has nether and will never win their respect when he constantly gets beaten.

    How about Stoke away last year, pre match Wenger says we know what to expect from the throw ins and will deal with it. Well three YES three minutes into the game and the clown gets done on his near post again.

    Its not that he comes for crosses its just plain and simple he is too slow mentally and athletically.

    When 1 v 1 he makes 6’4″ look like 5′ 2″

    Sorry but that is the Arsenals problem like it or not. Yet we carry on with the same situation.

    MS may not be the answer but to say he is not as good as Almunia is crazy.

    • Gooner Town says:

      Dont feel ashamed about that 49 yard kick. Ronnie done most teams he played against with that same free kick! We were not exclusive! Plus I beleive it was Fabianski who got done at Stoke within three minutes in the FA Cup!

      However yes Manuel was done himself in the prem fixture but again most team were done by the same ball including Shay Given a week earlier!

      And to be fair despite Shawcrosses input, we still sorted Stoke out claiming 6 points that season and Utd 4 points the season they were lucky enough to beat a deflated Arsenal!

      How about that then?

    • DesiGunner says:

      Ronaldo has scored against many teams. That’s exactly what I meant by blaming the keeper for everything!

      Against Stoke it was Fabianski but even Given was woeful and there is no guarantee that Schwarzer would have done better. Fulham defenders deal with those balls not the keeper. Show me a video with Schwarzer coming out and punching all the balls against Stoke?

      In a one-on-one Almunia is amongst the best in the world because his technique is phenomenal. I’ve talked about this quite often in the past. Keepers like Akinfeev and other concede so many through their legs, which Almunia rarely does. This is another example of blaming the keeper just because you want to.

      Pointless arguments like yours have created the negative air that I was talking about in the article. It’s a real shame. Almunia has made some mistakes but if you can’t be objective and fair in your observations, your arguments cannot be appreciated.

  23. chengiskhan says:

    Great article, Desi. This was quite the oasis in a desert of despair and negativity.

    While Almunia may not be the greatest goalkeeper in the world, he is much better than most people give him credit for. He has made a few untimely mistakes, but so have many other so-called “world class” keepers. I have seen Cech, Reina, VDS, Schwarzer, Howard, Given, et al make plenty of errors to convince me that we are not the only club whose keepers are capable of the occasional howler. Fabianski has made several high-profile mistakes due to his immaturity, but that can ultimately be rectified. It is indeed sheer laziness to say that anyone would be better than Almunia or Fabianski.

    The fact is that our team defending (not just our center backs) in the last 5 years have combined to cause more dropped points than our keeper errors. Based on our display at Ewood Park, I have seen encouraging signs that the defensive side of our game has matured and that we can contend for the title.

  24. Jowiela says:

    I utmostly support ur post,to me its a perfect analysis.most fans just feel if buying would solve the drought then we should continue to buy without effectively weighing the options,it really not there fault because they really want trophies.i really dont like shwarzer because i dont think he is better than our thing we are failing to discuss,is our frontline,i felt we needed another striker.hearing RVP’S condition,i think we need a cover(because vela and bentner are no strikers to rely on).players like_remy,carlton cole,gignac,niang e.t.c.any of these would just have been good.considering the fact that none of them would be expensive and they have the only available option is chamakh and not a striker that can score 20goals a season.hoping for the best.

  25. ShaneGunner says:


    Are you Spurs in Disguise?!!!!

    WS is not a joker in waiting, he’s actually a talented youth and I get the feeling Alnunia will have his best season yet. Come on, let’s get behind the team and support them. My main concern is the fixture list, where we have to play the big boys in the PL in away games in the middle of the champions league campaign. That’s tough. Even if Almunia does not perform as expected, there’s a transfer window in January. I’m confident he’ll perform though.

  26. sam says:

    it was actually a joke of the season to think that arsene will spend money on a 37 years old and fulham asking 4 millions.
    which arsene? the deal was dead the minute fulham put a huge price tag on him. the rest was just paper talk.

  27. Ruelando says:

    Almunia has been unlucky and as a keeper you need a lot of luck ,his error always comes at some important point in the season, fortunate for the other top teams keepers there defense bails them out or its not a t we need defenders to be better organised. from set plays our defenders do not jump or mark properly and this is my issue with the defense.

  28. sam says:

    i am sure arsene was offering something like 200 grand, well undisclosed fee they call it.
    he’s past it,fulham could have let him go even for a million which i believe arsene was not going to pay.
    now lets move on, i am glad all the crazy rumours are over. hopefully one of the 4 keepers we have will shine and save us 4 millions

  29. Hamad says:

    The irony is that for a change even Wenger agreed the fans sentiments about the keepers and never denied in clear terms that there was a need to get a new keeper which unfortunately not happen. Had he said otherwise we would have or atleast tried to understand but not now.

  30. jp says:

    I can agree that with defensive improvements we can help the goalkeeping situation, but Almunia really has to work on his distribution. Am I the only one who has noticed that it is horrible? I’m not really that upset that we didn’t get Schwarzer as he is only marginally better. Peter Czech and Van Der Sar are miles ahead but they are not an option. Joe Hart has looked like a man on form this year and if he keeps up the good form he will be an asset to City and England.

    I am worried how this will affect Almunia for the season though. Hopefully he takes it in stride and raises his game rather than getting worse. My biggest fear is Almunia getting injured and Flappy going in goal. He scares the day light out of me! I have NO confidence in him and it is transparent that the defense has their doubts too.

    I’m ready to get behind the team though, GO GUNNERS!

    • DesiGunner says:

      Everytime you’re worried about Fabianski just watch some Hilario moments of madness.

      • jp says:

        I definitely agree with you that Chelsea, Tottenham and Man U’s back ups are not the greatest also. But that doesn’t make it any better for us, that’s my concern. There are plenty examples of teams with two capable goalkeepers and I would like to use them as an example to strive towards rather than highlight teams who have mediocre 2nd string like ours.

        I would at least let Flappy know that it is not a given that he is the 2nd choice and create some competition btw him and Mannone in an effort to make him better. But i’m having a strong hunch that Almunia is gonna come good after all of this. I’m also anxious to see what Squillaci brings to the defense. He looks a mean bugger just what I think we need!

  31. Mohamed Zubairu says:

    Desi, this a good article. However, not everybody will see the point you are making. Many people stack gadgets that they never needed in their stores or garages at home. They bring the same mentality into football. They just want us to buy new players who might not be better or even be as good as the ones we already have. No body gave us any chance in the top four last season and their judgment was based on who we bought or sold. we went on to challenge for the premiership and would have done better but for injury to our key players. Yet, our people cannot see that buying does not provide all the answers in football.
    People ought to understand that better defending helps the keeper to perform better. If they cannot see that, then they cannot be helped.
    I believe that something positive trophy-wise will happen this season to silence the doubters. Only then will some understand what you are saying.

    • DesiGunner says:

      That’s a brilliant point – Buying just because it pleases you in the short term. So I guess some of these fans are like women, just want to go shopping 😀

  32. LAW says:

    Still hoping for another new GK, but well, let’s hope he learned from his mistakes.

  33. ryan says:

    good article. clearly a lot of the replies show not everyone bothered to read before replying

  34. Common Sensei says:

    How gutted am I, just posted a reply to the JustArsenal post ‘Can we really win the league with Almunia’ that was about 100 pages long, analysing why NONE of the keepers mentioned by the press (or by Wenger) would have improved the squad; how Wenger only touted for a new keeper to motivate Almunia into proving himself in the opening 3 games before the transfer window closed today … How the WHOLE squad was responsible for 6 barren years, and how blaming 1 player for an entire season of below-par results is akin to expecting a team to score 5 each time they field 11 strikers 🙂

    Schwarzer – not vocal enough or powerful and dominant in the air. Injury prone and in decline, best years behind him.

    Given – Predictable with his distribution, lumping it upfield would ruin our passing game. Also not as aggressive as Almunia can be collecting balls in or just outside the 18yr box.

    Stekelenburg – Very young, inexperienced and has yet to mature. Massive ego. Bad for the squad and the younger keepers we have.

    Joe hart – Would have been spot on, but City realised why Arsenal were interested in him, and decided to name him as their no1 as soon as announced their interest.

    Kirkland – As good as Alumnia, not too young but still before peak. Injury prone and can never seem to catch only parry away aerial balls and hard shots.

    Lloris – Below average in the league and CL last year, made more howlers and less good saves than Almunia. Over hyped and too pricey

    Buffon – much much much too expensive and too old, does not speak English so cannot tutor the younger keepers or follow/give defensive instruction.

    Last season petering out, the blame lies with the entire squad! Cesc buggered off to Spain early with his apparent Broken leg which coincidentally healed up too late to finish the season but just early enough to train with his Spanish colleages for the WC.

    Walcott, Nasri, Rosicky, Denilson, Diaby and Gallas either had injury problems that reduced their form and put more pressure on the younger players. Gallas in particular was a nightmare for the entire dressing room.

    The younger players didn’t step up when required to, and didn’t improve enough to be considered for the first team unless we had injuries (Which by the run-in at the season end, we did in abundance – 6 of our first choice players where out!)

    Finished 4th the season before last, meaning an extra load of qualifying games in the cups.

    Silvestre. Just awful, the only mistake Wenger has made with his signings since not selling Henry a year earlier to Spurs.

    • DesiGunner says:

      Excellent post, a lot of common sense, eh!

      • Common Sensei says:

        🙂 Thanks, it was an excellent article that inspired me to remark ….

        I am so sick and tired, of listening to ‘the fans’ of Arsenal slag off each and every player then the manager – all because we didn’t sign the players they identified!

        Correct me if I am wrong, but Wenger and his scouts have been doing that job bloody well for years …. these guys are still at school they can’t even pick out their own shirts nevermind talented footballers and a team that gels.

        Everybody was saying ‘F**K CESC he has no loyalty we should sell him on blah blah’ then when they watched him play they were saying he was lazy!!

        Beyond belief really – utter drivel 😀

      • desigunner says:

        I completely understand. There are many blogs that I’ve completely stopped reading as they always gave me a headache. Still there are plenty of sensible people out there and that’s good enough.

  35. Gary M says:

    To say Schwarzer is no better than Almunia is idiotic. Fulham has been my second favorite team in England following the Gunners. I watch Fulham games every week and the Europa all the way to finals and he ia an awesome keeper. We f**ked up

    • London Gun says:

      Completely different defensive set up, Hangeland is key to Schwarzers success (Hence we tried to sign Hangeland previously), World cup was a different story.

      We need world class, not bargain basement, not sure who exactly….Joe Hart would have been nice, does he have a brother?

      In the meantime, Almunia is the main man and deserves our unreserved support….through good and bad, all the time he wears the sacred shirt he is one of the Arsenal family, I hope everyone makes him welcome next game.

  36. Common Sensei says:

    EDIT: Stekelenburg is 28 not old 😀 Sorry misread the player page!

    He still isn’t what Arsenal needed though

    • DesiGunner says:

      Yeah I was wondering about that but the rest of your post is well composed so a minor detail wasn’t that important.

  37. Common Sensei says:

    Maybe you should be watching Arsenal instead then you would know why he isn’t better than Almunia FOR ARSENAL. We don’t play Fulhams style of football and they don’t play ours.

    The attraction with Schwarzer was not his goalkeeping in the mainstay; if you research and remember back he was actually offered a coach / player role so if he didn’t last for a year or more he could retire from playing and just coach the younger trainee keepers.

    I watched pretty much every single game from the Prem, Ligue 1 and La Liga games which I had recorded at home (since I do not watch ANYTHING else on telly apart from News) and I would say that actually Almunia considering our defence and the pressure lumped at him by fans that he actually did better than most would have done in his position.

    THIS is why he is worth keeping. His goalkeeping can be tutored and improve. ATTITUDE and mental strength is something you either have or do not have, this CANNOT be taught past the age of about 23 and most players become aware of their own maturity level and attitude between 17-22 years.

    Just like Cesc and now Walcott and hopefully Wilshere and Ramsey. Eduardo for all his skill proved that he could not mentally recover from a bad injury setback and everybody seemed to think HE had a strong mind and positive attitude.

    Goes to show, people are wrong all the time – Wenger however is usually right

    • DesiGunner says:

      Almunia’s mental strength is a point many tend to miss. He was extremely well composed and didn’t get rattled when Lehmann talked his mouth off. Even with his future uncertain Almunia did really well against Blackburn. The guy doesn’t speak much but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have the right mentality. In fact, it’s the exact opposite as he shows his mentality on the pitch.

      • Common Sensei says:

        They are too busy slating their own players because;

        On FM last week they picked out the PERFECT team and on auto-league mode they won every game 5-0

        Whereas in real life they think this is what Wenger should do and somehow the same thing will happen 🙂 Ignorance and stupidity combined!

        People watch SkySportsNews and play FIFA and think this somehow is a good substitute for YEARS upon years of enthusing about Arsenal and the players, watching all the games IN THE STADIUM rather than over the internet or down the local sleazy bar that allows 26yr olds.

        All I can say is that these guys are an inspiration for birth control 🙂

      • Common Sensei says:

        errr i meab 16yr olds

  38. Micky D says:

    Great read , yes we all make mistakes in sport, and in life,lets be positive now and let those vibes feed off to the players &(Keeper`s).Obviously other club`s have found a weekness in us defending the high ball thats why they bombard us from the flanks, we need to stop that as much as possible so let`s look at the defensive formation.What ever happens I am so glad that we have started football again , it get so boring in AUS with no football from the Emirates.

  39. Tom says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    This is the first blog I’ve seen all summer that I’ve agreed with. The solution is not always to buy a player at the same ability. I’m sure the goalkeepers get excellent coaching, and with the fans backing, and confidence. They will all do fine. If we as fans criticise, who wouldn’t feel shit. Look what happened to Eboue when he was slaughtered. Now he is confident and happy, he looks a completely different player.

    I’m Arsenal through and through, I’m going to support whoever wears the shirt. I’m going to be positive and shout encouragement, just hope new follow.

    If you want to moan, there’s a moaning twat just down the road with a droopy face. Go support his bunch of muppets.

    Thank you again for a sensible article!!

    • DesiGunner says:

      You’re most welcome.

      I hope most of the supporters at the stadium share you’re attitude.

      • Common Sensei says:

        They do 🙂 I have a sneaky hunch that the whinging teens over at JustArsenal posting nothing but rubbish may be Spurs/Utd boys in disguise.

        All this talk of hanging banners up in the staidum saying ‘GO AWAY WENGER’ and talk of replacing practically the entire team with sub-standard players or superstars we will never ever get (Messi, Buffon, Reina for crying out loud! it is intolerable!)

        Thank heavens for measured thinking and logic … Haha Desi Gunner and Tony Atwood are pretty much keeping me sane at the moment

  40. suhel says:



  41. venky says:

    I agree that to find a better Gk than that we have is easy but to buy is not. So many permutations and combinations come into play, its not as easy as so many people think. But having said that I think that we shouldn’t have pinned our hopes on only one player (Schwarzer). Anyways, the defence seems to be stronger that that of last season. Time to stop moaning and get behind Almunia and build his confidence on the good start he already has this year.

  42. Jon says:

    Hey desi…
    I thnk Wenger should promote you as his official spokesperson…

    Having said that I donot disagree much and there are no good goalies in the market at the moment… We needn’t throw away a couple of millions for another mediocre stuff.

    And even ManU faces a goalie crises. Fergie tries all his second bench warmers every season b4 settling with Vaan Der Saar.

    But I won’t say Almu is a gr8 goalie and he doesnt claim too. I appreciate the fact that he stood firm and courageous under heavy pressure. I am quite sure he would have stopped reading the sport section or browsing through the arsenal site.
    Still…he looked very unsure against the Kops. Hope that doesn’t happen and he improves on his confidence as he can heave a sigh of relief now

  43. mubinge says:

    i don’t undestand why nobody talks about Igor Akinfeev.
    wenger could have bought him in winter and this summer but went off the radar completely.he is my favourite for quiet a while now…i’m sure that in winter manu will buy him.
    trophy’s…forget it.

    • metalhead says:

      I don’t understand why nobody talks about Casillas, Buffon, Reina, Given….. I mean list goes on.
      It’s not about buying players. Didn’t you read the article??

      • Jon says:

        Did you ever watch or read about the WC? Buffon is injured…
        And you think Real is going to sell Casillas

        Kops are already in a crises with departure of Mascherano…they are going to sell Reina too?

        And Given is not fit too…

        Bottom line: Wenger is not a kidnapper. Arsenal only buys if someone is willing to sell. We donot employ the cheap Barca tactics

      • metalhead says:

        @jon. I don’t think you understood my point. The point I’m trying to make is exactly what you are saying. Please read my comment again which was in response to the one above

      • Jon says:

        sorry dude…just read the first sentence and shot:(

  44. Yash Modi says:

    Bang up job mate…… Noticed as per your book i may qualify as a “no-hoper” but after FIVE years of no trophies and watching Wenger not choosing to compromise on success rather than his own policies, can you really blame us “no-hopers”.
    We not LOST hope, it was snatched away from us….. And believe me i clung on to my hope for a very very long time…..
    And with multiple reports cropping up in April saying that Wenger had 45 million to spend, i had lots of hope.
    Wenger spent only 14-16 million of that amt (actually it’s only 10-12 million if you account for the sale of eduardo)…..
    So REALLY can you blame us?

    • DesiGunner says:

      no-hopers are those who just don’t try to understand the situation the club is in. Those who want to blame the keeper for everything.

      When Wenger says buying is not the only solution, it means that buying is one solution but sometimes it doesn’t work out. At that point we’ve to look for alternate ones. Most managers can’t, so they keep buying but they still end up below Arsenal. I think we should show a little more respect towards Wenger and what he is doing. As long as that is there I’d not call you a no-hoper.

  45. tarun says:

    excellent post

  46. GF60 says:

    If Mr Fawlty can continue as he did against Blackburn, then we don’t have much of a problem. Good article, again, Desi

  47. munawwar says:

    the main problem is how many times has almunia won us a game? we have seen van der saar… cech do it… many many times… they hardly drop points… they win points… like how momonneee won us 3 points at fulham last year. when was the last time almunia did that?

    so wenger thought that keeper issue is a problem in may when he bid for old and experienced mark. who had a reallly bad world cup. so the bid got rejected.

    now wenger repeatedly said he has money. he can fight the likes of citeh. so if he thought keeper was a problem he could have easily gotten someone else in the long 3 months since he bid for mark. sure hughes was acting difficult but with his stand in keeper injured it would be foolish to loose his no1 keeper. such a big club like arsenal should have waited for so long… 3 long months to get a keeper and then have no back up plan.

    whats going to be embarrassing is when he does fuck up with his poor positional awareness the media and some fans might jump on in wenger. for the sake of the club and fans i do hope almunia has his best 4 months of his career.

    its not like i am sick of the “lack of trophies” nonsense… but if there is a problem , if wenger himself thought that he needed a keeper .. then he should have got someone else when he knew mark deal was not coming through. so hard we fought this whole summer to keep cecs. now in a match cecs is playing and then he sees the game at liverpool when almunia let in a goal in his near post. i mean… comeon.. thats just poor positional awareness. he let the worst striker ever in ngog score!

    • Sriram says:

      That was one fierce strike by Ngog and it would have gone past a lot of keepers, infact, Almunia was positioned quite well to avoid Ngog go to the far post! It was a well taken goal and to call Ngog, the worst striker is quite wrong!

      Anyway, we stick to Almunia, we give him our fullest support as I have been telling all through the summer.

      Great one Desi!

    • DesiGunner says:

      Can you tell me from last season, which games did Van der Saar and Cech win for their respective clubs? Let’s get into the details.

      Top of mind I can tell you VdS conceded on the near post from a scuffed strike by Olic and that dumped United out of the Champions League. A big, big loss I’d say. Cech conceded three goals, against Bolton I think it was, when he came out for aerial balls and messed it up. Lost them two points. He also cost Chelsea three points againt Wigan when he got sent off. There are many other examples but I’ll have to think about it.

      In the meantime, why don’t you point out some games these keepers won last year?

  48. metalhead says:

    Yeah I read Stewart Robson’s article quite a while back and it made more sense than those articles that kept insulting Almunia,Fabianski and Wenger. We ought to be getting to the root of the issue. The problem there is something fundamentally wrong with our defense. It’s not organized. You showed it in the article where Arsenal drew with Birmingham. Barcelona defend very well with all those midgets in their team. Whenever the ball is in the opposition’s possession they have 3 players at least at one time pressing to get the ball. I remember against Arsenal in the second leg, as soon as Walcott had the ball Yaya Toure, Xavi and one more player would gang up and get the ball back from Walcott. You don’t see this sort of work ethic or organization with Arsenal.

    • DesiGunner says:

      I agree that something is wrong. That’s the reason we concede so many. It would be stupid to be in denial. I think it’s a combination of organization, awareness (like the goal we conceded against Blackburn in the last game when Clichy should have knows who is behind him) and balance. It will require a lot of work on the training ground and contribution from the whole squad if we’re to set it right.

  49. Mide Tha DreamWright says:

    Good post as always Desi but me thinks that it was very wrong of AW not to hv gotten a new keeper for simply 2 reasons;
    1)Even if the current crop of GK’s we hv are good enough for the Arsenal(I think at least Almunia & Mannone are),I believe all the bloopers they committed & the resultant outcry from the fans & the media must hv shot their confidence to bits.These was reflected in the nervy,nail-chewing-inducing displays by our GK’s & defence as a whole,that characterized most of last season.This lack of confidence also affected the way the whole team played as a whole too.So in essence i feel we are short of confidence & self belief at the back,which i believe is an essential for any world class defence.Its a vicious cycle…..the defenders don’t trust the ‘Keeper,the ‘Keeper does not trust his defence.This can,I feel,be rectified only by introducing a new face,who will inject fresh confidence into the defence.

    2)AW also gave strong pointers to the likelihood of us signing a new GK.Whether that was a publicity stunt to get Almunia & Co. to step or the truth,I can’t say but,I feel he shouldnt hv raised the hopes of the fans like that,& then do nothing to fulfill it.He has only set himself & our GK’s up for such a vicious backlash of critism,if anything goes wrong,that last seasons wave of critism,moaning,groaning & antagonism will severely pale in comparison.

    For AW sakes,our sakes & their own sakes i pray our GK’s silence our critics & put to the sword every shred of doubt we hv in our hearts about them.
    But,I’ll try to remain calm,’cos,as I’ve often realised,Arsene knows best.

    • DesiGunner says:

      I agree with you about confidence and I think I’ve mentioned that part in the article. I also believe that is the reason Wenger wanted a new face.

      Let’s say he really wanted a new face and tried for it but it didn’t work out. Fulham didn’t want to let Schwarzer go unless they found a replacement, I don’t think it was a question of money. City wouldn’t have allowed Given to come to Arsenal even if we’d wanted him, which I think we didn’t.

      Lloris, Akinfeev etc would have cost us 15 M or more I guess. Should we spend that kind of money on a keeper not tested in the Premiership? What if we get a new face for that kind of money and he makes a couple of mistakes early on? What’s plan B?

      I think Wenger tried to find a new face but it didn’t work out. Now we should support the players we have. Constant moaning and complaining doesn’t help the club in any way.

  50. aravindvr says:

















    so Don’t fall in traps of the Media….
    They are all Spuds or MAnure or Chelski or Pool Fans….
    Don’t surrender to those fools…

    wanted to highlight this badly…

  51. Emmo says:

    If Arsenal wants to win the league they will have to play like they did at Blackburn every week. Almunia is doing well. Lets give him our support.

  52. Birol nadir says:

    I think your article is great but you are missing some points here:

    1) we have a great young side that is fast maturing and was probably a good save or two from winning the league last year. You are right that the defence causes goalkeeping errors but there is nothing as confidnce boosting for a defence as knowing there is a pair of authoritative “safe hands” behind them.
    2) Contary to popular opinion we had a good chunk of money to spend on players and ended up spending peanuts again with all that went out.
    Arsenal fans pay big prices and haven’t had a “flash” signing since Thierry Henry!! (Wiltord was rubbish and Reyes albeit a great player was never welcomed by Henry and played the wrong ball alot of the time)
    coming back to the money issue, I think it would not be out of order to every so often throw us off by even overpaying for a superstar. Goalies are relatively cheap compared to some other positions. Our so called scouting team must have been able to suggest a name or two in all this time.
    3) song and Walcott are young . Almunia is not. Here is the problem we are facing. Almunia and Fabianski have used up their credits with the most patient fans in the country.(imagine if they were somewhere like Newcastle) they can both make 50 great saves in a row but you know what, thr first boo-boo (oh sorry we already had one at Anfield) and the fans will be booing vociferously. That’s not going to do them any good and so the vicious circle begins. Wenger should have realized this and as stubborn as he is should have sent them on their way. Mannone didn’t make that many mistakes but I would throw sczczcesny in goal. He is a big strapping goalie that will thcken out with age and possibly turn into a schmeichel. If we are to p away points like last season i am certain most fans would prefer it done in the sake of giving scscz some experience?
    4) I swore like many others that I would not go if we didn’t buy a keeper. Well I just discovered this morning that I lied to myself and you can’t help being Arsenal through and through. So here’s to wishing all our keepers luck and hoping for every goal we concede our amazing football team can reply with interest. Come on Arsenal. (I’m knackered !!)

    • DesiGunner says:

      Thanks for posting arguments that aren’t abusive and over the board.

      1) Don’t most fans agree that our keepers are actually very good shot-stoppers? Barcelona at home – good save or two? Fulham? Liverpool (Babel shot)? Crucial penalty saves?
      2)Arshavin? Fabregas? Just because Cesc didn’t cost us much does it make his signing a less significant achievement? Would you rather have a 32M Robinho or a Chamakh for free? My point is Wenger has a system that works better than many who throw money around. Why should we force him to abandon it?
      3)Szczesny is very young and inexperienced. I think he’ll make a lot of mistakes right now and might even put our top 4 spot in jeopardy. He might lose confidence and end up down the Senderos road. Why rush him?
      4)Appreciate your spirit a lot. I think most of us will feel good if our early season form continues and for that we’ve to pray that the international break doesn’t snap a few of our players.

  53. critic says:

    i don’t like fabianski, he has committed many mistakes at club level…vs porto, blackburn, and wigan. He should go without a shadow of doubt.
    Alumunia is a good keeper in my opinion, always has been…one of the best shot stoppers in the business but he needs to work on decision making
    last year it was u who wrote fabianski’s career was over at u are defending him???

    • DesiGunner says:

      🙂 I didn’t write him off, I thought Wenger will and so I thought his career will be over. Whether I rate him or not is irrelevant as far as his career is concerned.

      Fabianski has made some massive mistakes no doubt. I’ve never defended that. The point is, when compared to Hilario or Cudicini, not to mention second keepers at smaller clubs, is he much worse?

  54. chris says:

    yeah we need a new goalie, its fair enough sayin almunias a nice guy and means weell, but this aint gona win us shit! we need a big confident loud bastard like lehmann was!!!

  55. oneil says:

    why can’t we all agree that Almunia is not so much the problem as Fabianski is…Is almost like he has no competition from the no.2…take Clichy for example he has Gibbs breathing down his neck, so he knows he has to work hard…would any of you say the Fabianski is pushing Almunia….and just maybe Wenger was not looking for a new no.1 but a no.2 …

  56. Coby Jones says:

    Can you please send me a footage of were Mannone maybe a mistake in any of the games he player for Arsenal….i think Wenger is paying you to write up this shit

  57. 49 unbeaten says:

    just do more of this more often and the gunners # 1 will silence all.

  58. 49 unbeaten says:

    lets rewind to the last two months of the 07-08 season. almunia was our ‘keeper for the entire campaign.

    vs B’gham away. 2-2 draw. courtesy last minute penalty plus dudu’s leg getting snapped by that ape.
    vs Villa @ home. 1-1 draw. Senderos scores own goal.
    vs Wigan away. 0-0 draw. spineless display but a clean sheet.
    vs Middlesbrough @ home 1-1. former Gunner Aladiere [remember him] scores unlikely goal.

    it was 8 points dropped in the crucial stage of the league… and we fell short by 4 points.
    who’s to blame there? almunia?
    moaners can go wherever they want the rest of us need to back manny.

  59. Lars says:

    DesiGunner, very good post. And I have to agree about Almunia being very good in one v one situations. And while I wanted a new keeper, I have to say that if he can repeat what he did at Blackburn (and the outfield players keep doing their job equally well) we’ll be just fine.

    And besides, it is still more important to find the cause of all these soft-tissue injuries which makes us constantly have to chop and change just to make up the numbers.

    • desigunner says:

      Agree with you there, solving our injury problems is a much bigger issue than the goalkeeper one. Hope the RvP one is a short term injury and not a sign of things to come.

  60. […] Am I The Only One Not Concerned About The GoalKeeper? Before I say anything else I will acknowledge that I completely understand why many fans wanted a new goalkeeper. Yes, […] […]

  61. santori says:

    I don’t think Almunia is by far the best keeper but he isn’t a slouch either.

    My problem is with the back ups. I believe the keeper issue is more a question of depth (and to some extent competition)

    I am still not convinced that either of Fabianski, Mannone or Szcerny are quite ready. They need bags more consistent top level action and crucially (at this point) not at our expense. I believe one of these keepers will come good a year or two down the road but not this season yet.

    Now I can understand if the market was tight and Wenger was unable to requisition a reasonable back up at the desired price because of it.

    However Spuds (hate to mention this) have signed Stipe Pletikosa on loan!Here’s a 31 yr old with bags of international experience and he didn’t cost a pretty penny.

    I’m afraid to say, whilst I am still more than optimistic about our chances this season even without the keeper reinforcement, we do not do ourselves much favour in failing to reinforce a weak point in the squad.

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