Date:Sunday August 8 2010
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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Date:Sunday August 8 2010
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