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Lone voices

So much hysterical, desperately needy sounding chatter has come out of Barcelona over the last 3 months that hearing something sensible from that source comes as something of a surprise. Despite all the talk of dna and belonging and entitlement Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola says Wenger got it right when he insisted that Cesc stays.

"I understand Arsenal and I understand Wenger, I wouldn't have let him leave either," he told Asian reporters. "I just hope Cesc carries on enjoying what is such a special and competitive league, the Premier" he added, perhaps recognising that the two horse race that is La Liga offers only very limited competitive satisfaction. It`s an opinion that few of his peers will dare to share publicly making it all the more creditable.

An equally lonely voice can be found in our own camp as Fabianski tries to build a force field against the waves of criticism that have battered him since he played a few games at the tail end of last season. It didn`t look as though he could fail to win more favour than Almunia who had been anointed by many blog writers as the worst keeper in the premiership at one point last season but errors at critical points took Fabianski from potential saviour to beyond redemption in the space of just 2 games against Porto and Wigan.

"Last season I was severely criticised because of the mistakes I made" he told the Polish press. "I am already immune to bitter words. I think I now have a hard skin, it was difficult for me, but I endured by focusing on the fact that there will be better opportunities ahead."

Keepers probably have the most exposed job in football but that is magnified at a club challenging for the major trophies. Fabianski seemed to suggest that Wenger had already decided on a way to use his existing keepers next season cryptically claiming "It seems to me that to some extent, our coach has established a basic composition for next season and we plan on working based on that."

With Almunia apparently relaxed about his immediate future last week asserting "I don't need to convince anybody - I just do my job" and Wenger saying that he still had to make a decision which of his current keepers would be number one next season supporters hoping to see a new face between the sticks are being offered very little encouragement.

While the transfer window still has a good 3 weeks to run anything could yet happen but if anyone else does come in he`ll have to hope that his errors go unpunished for long enough to build up some credit among supporters. He won`t get too long to prove himself.

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The Journalist

Writer: Amos Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday August 8 2010

Time: 7:32PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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Guardiola has long been the voice of reason at the Barcelona in this whole episode. The trouble with Fabianski is no matter whether you think he is the best goal keeper or the worst. The opposition have taken notice and they deploy Walrusesque tactics at corners and set pieces. Whoever we start with in goal for the first home game of the season, the home crowd shouldn't help the opposition by unsettling the keeper as they famously did with Fabianski after the Porto game. It doesn't do anybody any good.
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08/08/2010 20:38:00

It's really the manager who's going to face the barrage if we go into to next season with the current crop of keepers. It's a very basically identifiable weakness in our team and I am astounded that seven days before Anfield, nobody knows who are number 1 keeper is for next season. OT: I've written an article for 2001-02, but I'm sans internet at the moment and can't transfer it onto the site for a few days yet.
Little Dutch
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08/08/2010 21:04:00

Yeah Guardiola seems to have maintained some form of silence during the whole debacle involving Cesc and the morons talking around him should have taken note and shut their gobs accordingly. Good to see that he appears to have a more pragmatic approach in relation to signing Cesc. I have to agree with LD on the GK front. It is ridiculous that we dont know to a certainty who our number one GK for the season will be especially one week prior to arguably our toughest opening game to a season for a while. The disheartening thing is that based on the article on where AW chats about the GK situation, he doesnt suggest that he will sign a new goalie and even if he wanted to, its now very unlikely this will happen before next Sunday unless AW has already something lined up and knows something we dont. I have a horrible feeling AW will opt for Fabianski next Sunday.
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08/08/2010 21:19:00

As long as AW is trying to bring a keeper in them I'm not concerned. I don't think keepers need time to bed in. So even if we sign one next Saturday it's more than enough time. But if we don't sign one I'll be very scared.
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08/08/2010 21:19:00

*our number 1* DOH.
Little Dutch
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08/08/2010 21:23:00

I'm fairly certain we won't sign a GK now. I have little optimism for our chances this year because Wenger simply isn't doing enough defensively.
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08/08/2010 21:32:00

Wenger not saying yet who our keeper should be is a little like him not confirming who would be captain a season or so back until quite late. The idea would be to put pressure on all keepers to think they have equal chances and therefore will try harder to impress in pre-season. If he says early on that Almunia (or Fabianski) will be first choice the keeper not chosen will feel he's only playing for 2nd this season. At least the theory is sound.
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08/08/2010 22:06:00

That with the added goalie signing speculation makes it a big headache for us.
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08/08/2010 22:18:00

At least we practice what we preach in keeping our mouths shut through official means when we're pursuing players, oh, wait.
Report Abuse
08/08/2010 22:51:00

Yep, I agree shewore I think we're letting our standards slip in that department. No way near Barca levels of ****ishness but I didn't like the comments we released about Chamakh last summer either.
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09/08/2010 00:05:00

If it were down to me neither Almunia nor Fabianski would still be at the club. It's less than a week now until Anfield, and for the FIRST time in my life, I am not looking forward to the opening game of the season. The match with Liverpool will follow a predictable path. Our passing will be beautiful to watch, and our attacking play will mesmerise Liverpool at times, bringing us a goal or two. All our hard work and winning start to the season will be undone by the usual goalkeeping errors. Whoever AW names as ' No.1 ', they wouldn't hold that same position in ANY top 4 side in PL, Serie A, La Liga or Bundesliga football. Fact.
Cockney Rich
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09/08/2010 08:11:00

For the first time I genuinely feel this is the year things will catch up with us and we'll fall out of the top 4. Wenger is determined to see this project through and not really do anything significantly different. I'd love to be surprised of course but with largely the same set up as the last few seasons why should we expect anything different. Oh and more injuries with Diaby, Denilson and Song, that feels different...
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09/08/2010 09:22:00

Agree entirely with Vin and CR. It beggars belief that AW has not resolved our keeper situation - yes I know how hard it is to get a good keeper but the fact is he refuses to spend the amount of money required to bring in a new one, and he's too fixated on "killing" the young keepers we have at the club. And his supposed #1 target (Schwarzer) is hardly impressive. He has the money to spend, just not the money he wants to spend. He doesn't consider the keeper position as important as others do and he simply doesn't deal with our defensive problems with the priority he should. I do not have high expectations this season.
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09/08/2010 19:22:00

Much as I am concerned with the "keeper situation", I am filled with greater trepidation at the thought of having our main CB pairing at Anfield and after, looking like TV and LK (easier to spell his name that way). I can only think of LK as a distant back-up CB, being his 1st season and will not be too hopeful if Arsene fails to bring in someone or two. Surely, he must realize how critical these positions must be, especially after conceding so many goals in pre-season.
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09/08/2010 23:12:00


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