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Death At One's Elbow

Arsene Wenger confirmed today that Manuel Almunia will miss tomorrow`s trip to Belgrade for our second Champions League group game away at Partizan. A casual glance at Arsenal`s news now site sees the word "injured" appear in inverted commas several times in their headline reportage. I believe there have been innumerable times during his tenure when Arsene has concocted a diplomatic injury, either to protect under fire charges (Lehmann`s "injury" in August 2007) or for political reasons (Sylvain Wiltord and Edu`s "gardening leave" periods on the last years of their respective contracts). In this incidence however, I believe the injury to be genuine.

The reason I believe so is because of the vantage point of my seat at the Grove, I was able to easily cast an eye on Almunia in the minutes following his penalty save and there were clear signs of discomfort, as he flexed his right elbow and grimaced repeatedly. When one looks at his error for the second goal when he spilled Gonzalo Jara`s shot horribly into the net, it is easier to see how he could have spilled the shot if he felt tenderness in the elbow. A second`s hesitation as he anticipates contact and a subsequent bolt of pain upon contact with the ball could very easily lead to the sort of aberration we saw. Therefore, one must ask if Almunia`s biggest mistake was not coming off if he felt compromised by the injury. Many would perceive his and his manager`s insistence he carry on as a perceived lack of faith in an out of form Fabianski, yet Wenger was unrepentant today in his assertion that Fabianski would play tomorrow night, which doesn`t seem to suggest a lack of faith in the back up option on the manager`s part.

I realise that most Arsenal fans won`t entertain the proposition that Almunia`s mistake might generally have been down to mitigating circumstances. The truth is, most have waited for the error for a few months and were delighted to see it so they could howl about how correct they were. Largely, I have tried to ignore the criticism that has come Almunia`s way. That`s not to say his involvement in the second goal was not a quite grave error, but I only take people`s criticism seriously if they are also prepared to give praise when it is due. Up until Saturday, Almunia had enjoyed a very good start to the season and turned in some excellent displays, most notably at Blackburn. Most that are so enjoying berating him now were conspicuously silent when he was playing well. I am not saying that that means everyone should rate him highly as a goalkeeper, people are entitled to think that he is not good enough to be our number 1 and it`s not a view I find utterly disagreeable. However, if one is not prepared to be measured and give criticism and praise when they are due in equal measure, then it doesn`t become about sensible opinion anymore. It becomes a witch hunt, a prejudiced, jaundiced cacophony of bile and I think that to be the situation we find ourselves in with our goalkeepers now. People are perversely proud of their subjectivity in the matter and wear it like a badge. I have to say I find it all terribly sad and really rather futile. I`m not saying you have to believe that all is right with the goalkeeping situation because Almunia`s mistake may well have been and probably was down to injury, but surely it can`t hurt just to consider it for a second?LD.




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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday September 27 2010

Time: 1:28PM

Your Comments

Alumunia would have to have an unrealistically faultless season in order to be considered even half decent by many gooners. Perversely Green and Schwarzer have been picking up plaudits for one decent performance (though perfunctory really) in what has been a poor period for both. Even Reina has remain untouched despite being below par for a while.
Amos.
You make a good point about the injury LD but WHY oh WHY is Fabianski being given another game in an Arsenal shirt? Sorry but he is beyond saving (pun intended). It must be time to look at Sczezny or Mannone. I am not filled with bile about the keeper situation at all but I am pretty close to despair. After Seaman, how are we come to this?
julieloveshenry4ever
Seaman was dumped by Leeds and played in the lower leagues - didn't become Englands number 1 until well into his 30's. [Edited by Amos]
Amos.
I'm talking about Seaman's reputation as Arsenal keeper, Amos. Don't get all smart-alecky. The keeper situation is a legitimate concern.
julieloveshenry4ever
To be honest it is Wenger not Almunia that I am furious with. It's not Almunia's fault he keeps getting picked. Making it pretty clear over the summer that you wanted a new GK, only to not sign anyone and then MAKE ALMUNIA CAPTAIN is an aberration.
Chipo
Seaman would've been no1 for WC Italia '90 were it not for injury wouldn't he?
shewore
It is a concern - just not quite the dire crisis most would have you believe. Almunia's a decent keeper. The reason he's still our keeper is that there isn't anyone better available to us.
Amos.
It was clear that Almunia was in pain on Saturday so--this time--I do believe this injury is genuine. The far greater issue on Saturday was not Almunia but the entire team's attitude & mentality (except maybe Nasri). It's the same old Arsenal of the last few seasons: good run-injuries-complacency/lack of concentration & organization/poor defensive communication/awareness + never-ending gk issue. And of course injuries, injuries, injuries. It never ever changes. AW has handled the gk issue with incredible incompetence, it beggars belief how a manager of his quality has made a complete shambles of the post-Jens gk situation. But it's more than that-it's the perpetual inability to build a consistently solid defense and the inevitable switching-off of the players after a good run. It always happens. We'll either lose or draw at Partizan, lose at Stamford Bridge, drop to 4th, then go on a decent run until it happens all over again. Frankly, I wonder if even if we had someone like Casillas or Buffon in their prime if there wouldn't still be defensive failures with this team--because the problem goes much deeper than just the weaknesses of any individual keeper or defender. As for Almunia, as I've said many times, he's a good keeper. But the difference between him and top class keepers is that he is good if he has lots to do, like against Barca at home. But when he has very little to do, he lacks concentration. The top keepers don't drop their concentration even in quiet moments, they're alert after 5-10 mins without a shot. Jens had it. I don't buy these flip comparisons to genuinely top class keepers like Reina when they're not in form. All top class keepers have periods of poor form, that doesn't make Almunia their equal.
jaelle
No Shilton was always going to be no. 1 for Italia '90 and Chris Woods no. 2.
Amos.
Interesting article on Fabianski from a Polish football scout: http://inbedwithmaradona.com/arsenal-why-fabianski-isnt-working/
jaelle
Oh yeah, he was injured for it though - and capped in 88, and got near his international set up.
shewore
Just wanted to say that the only good thing about a defeat to WBA like that (like the one against Boro a couple seasons back at Riverside) is that such teams prove that it's possible for a team that's not in the top 4 to beat Arsenal without using thuggery but by playing football. Congrats to West Brom.
jaelle
he sounds like a good coach. I'm not sure that Arsenal is a club in which you can develop keepers though. I'm not sure that it's possible at some other clubs either - like ManU for example. It's the one position in the team where you can't hide. Wilshere can make mistakes in outfield and get away with it - as a keeper you can get away with it to an extent at smaller clubs. It just isn't possible at our level.
Amos.
Seaman was on the fringe of the England team from 88 onwards (the Robert Green of his day) but didn't become 1st choice until '96 - he was 32 then.
Amos.
Well we won the league with Luky and GG still replaced him with someone else, so he's always been a bit special.
shewore
I'm all for replacing anyone of our players, without exception, with better players. If only it were that simple though.
Amos.
It IS a dire a DIRE situation if our no.1 is only no.1 because there is nobody else, effectively. I'm dreading tomorrow with Fabianski in goal God love 'im and next Sunday doesn't even bear thinking about no matter which one's in goal.
julieloveshenry4ever
LD, are you Manuel Almunia is disguise?
Sir Henry
And I expect a top 4 team in the CL every season to be able to coach and recruit (and plan long-term) in such a crucial position. And to be willing to spend money that is available for what is such an important position. On another point, I think it's telling that after having a few good games, Almunia failed (& only in the 2nd half) in the one game where our defense collapsed and his teammates showed so little urgency or effort or focus. I think the 2 are linked.
jaelle
Our no.1 will always be our no.1 because there's nobody better available to us whoever he is. Almunia's done well this season and Fabianski has had more good games than bad ones for us - he is due a good one about now.
Amos.
Well said Jaelle.
julieloveshenry4ever
Amos why you feel the need to accept - without exception - that the club's, and Wenger's by extension - actions are correct. How do you know no one is available that's better?
shewore
Szcezsny is just 20 and is already talking about leaving unless we take a risk with him. Fabianski is just 25 yet we aren't willing to allow him to develop, even when it comes to making mistakes in inconsequential games like Wigan and Blackburn away at the end of last season or in CC games in which we triumph 4-1. There is no point in us pretending we have a policy of developing keepers if we aren't willing to accept that the price of that is that they will make mistakes while they're developing.
Amos.
Well, I'm saying, I don't care how much Given costs in January, we should invest in him. Sadly, we have a lot of games before January.
julieloveshenry4ever
I agree totally with the ladies.
Sir Henry
I know no-one is available that's better because logic would dictate that if they were we'd have brought them in - why would anyone think otherwise?
Amos.
Inconsequential games? Before it all went belly up in April/May, we were still in contention. Wenger's reputation has put under serious pressure, if this season fails to deliver a trophy. Just how many mistakes and conceded goals are we supposed to take on the chin? How many do you think we (and AW) can spare, Amos?
julieloveshenry4ever
I think otherwise Amos because I'm certain that AW doesn't want to spend the money needed for a keeper good enuf for us. I don't think he prioritizes the position as much as he should and I don't think he'd spend the needed cash even if he had it.
jaelle
I have to say Amos that I'm coming round to Jaelle's view there too, on Le Boss's unwillingness to spend the money full-stop.
julieloveshenry4ever
By the time the Wigan and Blackburn games came along they wouldn't have made any difference to our season whether we had won or lost them. The title had already gone - those games were inconsequential. If we were looking to give a young keeper a chance to develop those were precisely the games that if he were to make mistakes in that we could reluctantly accept if in doing so he were to add to the sum of his experience.
Amos.
Well how much does he need to spend to get a keeper markedly better than Almunia then?
Amos.
Amos- we nearly finished BEHIND spuds! Inconsequential my arse!
julieloveshenry4ever
Your unflinching refusal to accept anything other than what you're told to Amos is admirable. It's completely logical to "think otherwise" believe it or not - especially when you look at their performances over the years compared to those of other clubs.
shewore
Good question - one that i'd expect the man at the helm of one of the biggest clubs in the world, and with one of the biggest scouting networks in the world - to be able to answer.
shewore
Whatever Citeh are asking for Given, that's what.
julieloveshenry4ever
You're just being childish shewore. I'm not accepting anything I'm told just looking at it more rationally than the over-emotive nonsense that's being fed here. My question to you is why do you think the club is - by your implication - deliberately avoiding the plethora of good keepers that are available to us in order to keep Almunia? What would your rational conclusion to that proposition be?
Amos.
So Given isn't good enough for City but is good enough for us? We've had plenty of chances to buy him in the past but have so far passed up on him. Why would you think that is?
Amos.
Amos, jaelle already delivered it. "Sheer stubbornness."
julieloveshenry4ever
Gibbs returns tomorrow and Sczesczny will be on the bench: http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/gibbs-returns-to-squad-for-partizan-clash
jaelle
In my mind if he was looking so hard at Schwarzer then he obviously was not happy about is goalkeeping situation. In which case he should of paid the cash or had alternative transfers in mind. Im sure in the world there must be a few keeepers which we could of afforded, allowed to leave at the right price who would of improved us.
paul_ownz
My rationale answer to that would be that Wenger's had his fingers burnt with the likes of Richard Wright before, and maybe he's just going through a lot of pain this way instead of spending money that he treats as his own on an almighty flop. However, it is getting worse and this pain I mention may end up being death by a thousand cuts. He needs to take that plunge.
shewore
We were never really going to end up below the spuds by the time those games came along - though they did make more of their remaining fixtures than you might have expected at the time. The Wigan and Blackburn games were inconsequential - we were always going to do enough to keep 3rd place.
Amos.
What?? Given isn't sitting on the bench because he's not good enough! He's benches because Joe Hart is widely regarded as the Boy Wonder and future of England and Capello wants him playing! What clout do you think the ROI have? And I'd be playing Given AHEAD of Gart actually.
julieloveshenry4ever
Brilliant crystal ball you have there Amos. Because until the last game I thought it was in doubt myself!
julieloveshenry4ever
I am not sure your rationale is anything of the sort. So Wenger won't buy a keeper definitely better than what we have because Richard Wright didn't make it? Or is it more likely as I said that there just isn't/wasn't one available. Which is really the more rationale explanation?
Amos.
Not a brilliant crystal ball julie just a less hysterical appraisal.
Amos.
The issues are the failure to target/recruit/coach/develop a keeper good enuf to succeed Jens and who is at least equal to the keepers at the 2 teams we must overhaul in the league if we're ever to win it again. That's a massive failure on the part of AW and his staff--end of. // On another gk issue entirely, for those interested in these kinds of things and for anyone still looking at Schwarzer, sky did an interesting stat comparison between him and Almunia (from last season): Alumunia - 29 apps / Schwarzer - 37 apps: A - goals conceded: 31 / S - goals conceded: 45 A - clean sheets: 10 / S - clean sheets: 12 A - saves to shots ratio: 68% / S - 74% A - catch success: 83% / S - 91%
jaelle
"Or is it more likely as I said that there just isn't/wasn't one available. Which is really the more rationale explanation? " Depends what you mean exactly. If you mean there wasnt a world class keeper to be purchased at bargain bin prices then you are correct
paul_ownz
Well no, you're right, it's not based on any 1:1 conversations with AW or complex theories - so if you want to dwell on semantics, that's up to you. It's my theory that he got burnt then and is learning from it by not taking the gamble again. Dismiss it as you will Amos it's entirely up to you, i'm tired of this now so i'll leave it - imagine if we all believed that whatever actions undertaken by Arsene in the transfer market were completely just and we all just accepted them as the right course of action - debate forums would go belly up over night.
shewore
Fair to say Juventus didnt want to let Buffon go on a free either
paul_ownz
I don't believe all Wenger's actions are correct I don't have to or expect to but it's the LeGrove tactic to rubbish the opinion of those who try to understand the decisions even if they don't agree with them. The idea that it's enough just to disagree, without offering any genuine options, to mark you out to be a free thinking, independent individual capable of rational thought is laughable.
Amos.
There are plenty of those stats around jaelle - equally meaningless. The PL official Actim stats for the season based on average points per game played ranks Almunia 3rd for last season and Schwarzer 9th.
Amos.
Please do not try and persecute through using Legrove's name in this. This is what I hate about our support at the moment, why can't i question his decision to stand by Almunia without being labelled as something? Why can't I speculate (Richard Wright) as to why he's loathe to spend on another up & coming name? I could be wildly wrong, but so could this decision to stick by Manwell for so long.
shewore
Amos, you misunderstood my intent re posting those stats (tho it's reasonable of you to do so as I did not qualify with any comments). They were NOT in any way posted to imply that Schwarzer is a better keeper. I never have believed that and have said as much on this site. I merely posted them for anyone with any passing interest in such stats. Stats are debatable as to their significance, I don't think we should dismiss them entirely just accept them as authoritative.
jaelle
CORRECTION: "I don't think we should dismiss them entirely NOR just accept them as authoritative"
jaelle
Persecution by association? That's exactly what you were doing in implying I was blindly following a line. I think there are many more following your idea that this is some sort of deliberate policy to deprive the club of better players for no rational reason. It's an opinion that deserves to be scorned for the nonsense that it palpably is. The more rational one, which doesn't simply require that you follow a line uncritically is that those better players simply aren't available currently under any conditions that make sense. It might not fit the atmosphere of hysterical paranoia but it makes far more sense.
Amos.
spot-on shewore! It's as if the ONLY fans out there with a critical point to make are the ranters and ravers at LeGrove.
jaelle
I share that frustration shewore, but aren't you doing the same thing here with Amos, just a different way round? Unless you genuinely believe that Wenger is intentinally sabotaging the team, is it so incorrect or even frustrating to try and understand perhaps why he has made the decisions he has? You've posited your theory, that the manager has had his fingers burned with bad purchases in the area before. Amos has posited his, which was that he was looking for a keeper but couldn't find one better than what we had that was available.
Little Dutch
I take exception to the fact that you think I'm implying he's depriving us of players for no real reason, there's no scope for any further debate if you feel that way.
shewore
Wenger has never spent big on a keeper. I think he knows there are better keepers out there than the ones we have he just is not willing to spend the amount necessary to get his man.
iceman10
" this is some sort of deliberate policy to deprive the club of better players for no rational reason" - that's a strawman argument you've built entirely out of whole cloth, twisting what some of us are saying. It's a ridiculous caricature. "deliberate policy to deprive the club of better players" - give me a break! Yeah, that's right, we think AW sits there plotting to deprive the club of great players. What I see Amos is PLAIN CONCRETE EVIDENCE IN FRONT OF MY EYES EVERY SEASON, based on performance and results. Empirical, rock-solid, consistent, demonstrable evidence. We have coaching and player recruitment good enuf to remain in the top 4 and compete in the CL every season until the last stages with limited money. No mean feat. But that's it. Beyond that, the objective evidence shows an abject failure every season to build a consistently solid defense - including goalkeeping. THAT'S the rational, empirical evidence on offer -- clear for all to see. Your logical conclusion dismisses the possibility of weaknesses in AW and his coaching staff - that's based on YOUR personal inclination, not empirical evidence.
jaelle
You have a history of making everything sound rosey in the garden of Arsenal. I think Wenger puts too much emphasis in getting a good deal, paying the right price, not paying over the odds, getting a bargain etc etc. I doubt its because " better players simply aren't available currently under any conditions". I think its better players dont cheap and he is unwilling to maybe pay a little bit extra to get the player he wants/Arsenal need. In my oppinion if you get good deals all the time, sometimes you can pay what it takes to land your man.
paul_ownz
I think I have to agree with Amos a little here. Almunia made some very good, and very important saves for us this season. He hasn't really made any mistakes up to now, and when he came out for crosses he did well - I think last season that was one of the main issues we had with him. He was really solid, and now he makes one mistake and everyone's going nuts. Perhaps it's us who are messing up the confidence in the team, other teams fans are a lot more understanding of keeper errors.
afri-gooner
I really really get sick to death of this argument that it's the FANS' fault when the team performs so poorly and this delusion that other teams have more forgiving fans. It's total fantasy.
jaelle
I didn't say it's our fault, there was a good vibe all around after Tottenham so why they played so crap is just beyond me, but as much as we take credit for generating an atmosphere that spurns the team on we have to take some responsibility when doing the opposite.
afri-gooner
What I find hysterical Amos, is that you think it is acceptable to ship points in the closing games of the season. Fact is, we barely beat off the Spuds surge at the end. If we are being "hysterical" then your head is surely in the sand.
julieloveshenry4ever
and that was really just an afterthought. My point is that Almunia is not as bad as he is made out to be. I'm not saying there are no better keepers, but let's give credit where it's due and be just a little understanding
afri-gooner
Empirical evidence of what? Rational example of what? That players clearly better than what we have were available under conditions that made sense for the club and we simply ignored them? Utter tosh. Undoubtedly we will have missed chances or simply not known of them in time to react for many different reasons. That's a hazard that afflicts many enterprises. It's always easy to be wise after an event but that isn't incompetence. The fact is that there are few teams in the world that are better than we are. Far and away the biggest single reason for that is not incompetence, wrong decisions, policy or some other failing on the clubs part it is simply that those clubs, over a longer period of time have enjoyed far greater financial resources.
Amos.
...and if we'd shipped more, not only would we have suffered the abject humiliation of finishing behind that shower, but we would've had to play the two-leg qualifier into the CL. There are NO inconsequential games when you can let the keeper flap away to his heart's content. Results come first.
julieloveshenry4ever
With respect julie, I think you're rather proving Amos' point, which isn't really a complex one. Basically we can't develop goalkeepers because we're unwilling to accept they, like all players, will make mistakes in their development. I don't think Amos is saying it's o.k. to ship points, rather our disposition of our football club is one where it is not o.k. to ship points, ergo, we can't have rookie goalies that are wet behind the ears. Those clamouring for Szczesny's inclusion on the basis of a Carling Cup game at home to a Championship side would do well to remember that.
Little Dutch
If you support the idea of nurturing keepers Julie then you have to accept that you are going to have to risk them in real games. The ones to do so are those in which the the outcome is of little or no real consequence. I suggest to take a calm look at where we were when the Wigan and Blackburn fixtures came up - our chances of finishing anywhere other than 3rd given the fixtures left to us and those teams around us. If you can do so calmly and reflectively you'll come to the conclusion that rather than me having my head in the sand you are over reacting.
Amos.
If the so-called top 2 haven't proved good enough, LD, why aren't we giving the other 2 a look-in? What's illogical about that? There's no other option until January and frankly the fans' confidence (and probably the other players) in Almunia and Fabianski are shot to pieces.
julieloveshenry4ever
So in your oppinion LD, based on the assumption that Wenger was looking for a goal keeeper. Is it just a case that we could not identify a few keeepers that fit the bill, none of those teams were willing to listen to offers, we were unwilling to pay or some other reason?
paul_ownz
"Far and away the biggest single reason for that is not incompetence, wrong decisions, policy or some other failing on the clubs part it is simply that those clubs, over a longer period of time have enjoyed far greater financial resources." -- it doesn't take greater financial resources to instill into a team over a period of 4-5 seasons defensive solidity, organization, communication and understanding between players. None of that takes a lot of money. It takes merely good, sound, basic defensive coaching--which this team is clearly lacking in. Sick to death of this incredibly pathetic loser excuse that explains EVERYTHING away due to our lack of money--esp. when we do have some money to work with. Wish I could find the article but last year I read that Arsenal are the only team in the PL that does not bring a gk coach with the team to away games. It is NOT "utter tosh" to believe that there is a fundamental weakness in targeting/recruiting/coaching gks at the club, in prioritizing the position. To the contrary, it is very reasonable to come to that conclusion. Bob Wilson himself said in the summer that AW's policy and approach to the position is not what he would wish it to be. Saying that no one better was available in these last 4-5 years is a hilariously laughable, pathetic excuse for a club of our stature. We're not some small, mid-table club, ffs.
jaelle
Amos, you are a master indeed. In the art of patronization. I just love how you consign anyone who is in disagreement with you to a band of hysterics. Are we currently in a run of inconsequential games? No we are not and with Chelsea coming up next Sunday and a very pressing need to quickly achieve qualification to the knock-out CL rounds, then we are standing on very unstable ground with these keepers.
julieloveshenry4ever
Jaelle, it's not true that we don't bring a goalkeeper coach to away matches. Gerry Peyton was signed off sick for a good chunk of last season, which is why Mart Poom was drafted in all of a sudden. Once again, the assertion we don't bring a goalie coach to away matches was not looked into, just someone prepared and determined to see the worst and not bother examining the reasons.
Little Dutch
And I say again-AW has been wholly incompetent on the gk issue--particularly this past summer. He made comments to the press confirming his search for a keeper and questioning Almunia's #1 spot. Almunia was thus made to feel confused as to his place in the team, he openly commented to the press that he didn't know what his position was anymore. AW targeted only one keeper as a possible replacement and him only because of his age and experience in the PL - because he's waiting for to Sczesczny (and Mannone?) to mature and didn't want to block their development. But that deal didn't pan out so Sczesczny didn't go out on loan and is now stuck with no regular football, and threatening to leave (which he could do since his contract runs out soon). It's a shambles.
jaelle
LD, fair enuf, I'm glad to find out that claim was inaccurate.
jaelle
I'd say LD, we ARE seeing the worst. Some of the worst keeping it has been my misfortune to witness and it is making us a laughing stock.
julieloveshenry4ever
Bob Wilson felt that Stuart Taylor should have been our first choice keepr. A nice guy is Uncle Bob, though a pretty average, but very, very brave keeper. At a time when 'Scottish Keeper' was a euphemism for complete rubbish his ancestry still didn't permit him more than a handful of games. It would be unwise to assume his pleasant nature makes him a better judge of keepers than Wengers coaching staff. I think hysterical is a pretty good description to a lot of the approach to our keeping 'crisis' at the moment. I find it hard to think of a better description. If some find that patronising then I'm happy to continue patronising them. As for the current run of inconsequential games that is why we aren't able to field Mannone and Szceszny which rather makes the task of investing/nurturing/developing players as you would wish a pretty impossible one.
Amos.
Surely Fabianski's mistakes in 'inconsequential' games against Blackburn and Wigan were a result of direct targeting from the opposition? Didn't Fat Sam afterwards admit they put players around him because, frankly, he crumbles under pressure? Therefore they recognised he's made mistakes in more, shall we say, high profile games. In the cup tie at Stoke last year, he was beaten to the ball by Fuller far too easily, which highlighted a weakness from set pieces. He has also exposed himself in a crucial FA Cup semi with Chelsea, and of course scored an inexplicable own goal against Porto. My point is, the errors at the back end of last season were the latest of a string of bad mistakes. I'm all for giving youth a chance but how long can you keep the faith? Ben Foster showed lots of promise on loan at Watford (arguably more than Fabianski has shown in his time at Arsenal) but failed to shine at Manchester United through a combination of a quality keeper in front of him and a small handful of errors. I don't watch United every week, therefore I may be wrong, but I doubt his mistakes were anywhere near as catastrophic as Fabianski's. Almunia is not as good as Van Der Sar. Fact. But it also appears Wenger is not as ruthless as Ferguson in getting rid of a player who is highly unlikely to be a regular, consistent performer. For me, it's fundamental we have at least one of these qualities but unfortunately, it appears we have neither. Now I'm not saying Almunia is a shocking goalkeeper, he's very good on his day. But you can't even play the inexperience card with him like you can with Fabianski. Again, I ask, how many chances do you give them? Whilst I agree Almunia is nowhere near as bad as the likes of LeGrove will have you believe, he consistently makes mistakes. More than Cech, Van Der Sar, Hart, Given or Reina, and they appear to be more catastrophic as well. Frankly, we won't win anything major with either between the sticks.
super_gooner
So how's Fabianski going to learn how not to crumble under pressure and when is Schwarzer going to acquire those qualities? The Ben Foster analogy is a good one and it's telling that while you have no idea whether the failings that led to him not making the grade at ManU were greater than Fabianski's you were happy to presume they weren't. It's that perception that everyone else's keepers are miles better without any real objectivity that makes it impossible for keepers to strengthen their game at this club. It's too big a goldfish bowl for any but those that bring a good reputation with them - unless we win something and then like Bob Wilson and Jens Lehmann they'll suddenly acquire legendary status and their mistakes - well all keepers make mistakes don't they!
Amos.
Well with an attitude like that Amos, no wonder you drove Cockney Rich off. You are defending the indefensible here. I didn't know that we were in the business of allowing inferior keepers to express themselves but hey, I know that now and boy am I put in MY place. Flap on, boys, flap on.
julieloveshenry4ever
Again Julie, can you not see you're proving Amos' point? You've quite literally just said everything he has! With all due respect to Cockney Rich, who seems a nice enough bloke, if having a different opinion than someone is good enough reason to leave a forum, then I'd suggest forums aren't for you anyway.
Little Dutch
Lets all live unhappily & quiet then
paul_ownz
Ok, then, here's the gist of all this: ONLY ACCEPTABLE RATIONAL, CREDIBLE ARGUMENT FOR ALL GOONERS TO TAKE: our goalkeepers are crap because the fans don't allow them to make mistakes and develop, it's all our fault. Everything will be just dandy, Almunia and Fabianski would be brilliant keepers if it weren't for the fans'. Ok, got it now. Anything else is just irrational, hysterical LeGrove whingeing.
jaelle
Jaelle that's yet another example of an hysterical over reaction. It is true that it is very difficult to nurture a keeper at a club like Arsenal. It's also true that there a few genuinely better keepers available that we can buy. To some extent it is just a fact of life at a club like ours. Or course it isn't the fans fault- not all of them anyway - and not entirely - but in situations like these you can say that a lot of them are of absolutely no help whatsoever.
Amos.
No: having the attitude of "I'll patronize who I like" and "Anyone who disagrees with me is hysterical" would ***** off any reasonable individual. While you two are- and I repeat this- defending the indefensible, cast your mind back the Arsene's body language of late. I'd call "head buried in hands" quite hysterical, wouldn't you? It seems the only two thinking "all is wonderful," are you and Amos. But nevermind, as long as LD and Amos decree it so, the rest of us can sit and watch Fabianski in goal tomorrow very calmy indeed. With a couple of Valium, that is.
julieloveshenry4ever
My point is, he's not going to learn. Not here anyway. You claim that he was right to be played in 'inconsequential' games in order to gain the necessary experience and, if you like, confidence, to succeed at the top level. But the fact is, he's only going to learn when thrown in at the deep end, right? The only truly big games I can recall him playing in are the FA Cup semi and Porto game and we all know what happened then, ergo he has failed to deliver. I do agree with you to some extent when you say it's nigh impossible to educate young keepers at a club as big as ours, and that it's harsh that keepers do not get as fair a crack of the whip as say Jack Wilshere has done, but that's life as a keeper I'm afraid. You get fewer chances between the sticks and Fabianski has not seized the opportunity. In my eyes, he's thrown it away by making some of the most basic errors. Yes, of course all keepers make mistakes but the fact that his always get flagged up by our fans, opposition fans and the media alike surely suggest that they're more common and/or more catastrophic than say those by Petr Cech, right? He may rediscover his form at a smaller club and become an all time great. But, as Eduardo sadly, yet correctly, found out, we're a footballing business, not a charity, and need to dispose of those who are no longer an asset. I have never said we should have signed Schwarzer; put simply, he's no better than Almunia. But why, when we're generating profits year on year could we not break the bank and sign, say Pepe Reina when it's painfully obvious a top quality keeper is required?
super_gooner
"But why, when we're generating profits year on year could we not break the bank and sign, say Pepe Reina" Or LLoris, Buffon, Stekelenburg, Marchetti for smaller fees.
paul_ownz
Well done super gooner for bringing us back to the point. The GK position was the first one that should've been addressed and resolved this summer and I'm not the only one that thinks it.
julieloveshenry4ever
Phew! Definitely obfuscation.
Sir Henry
Even if Almunia's injury was the reason behind the second goal, Almunia should've asked to be subbed if he felt his elbow injury would impede him but he didn't and his judgement would have to be questioned. But I don't understand the hostility towards Arsene on this issue, even if we had the billions of City its impossible to buy players like Cassilas and Cech. And even they have made as many blunders if not more than Almunia this season. Wenger clearly acknowledges that our GK is a weakness, and our interest in Schwarzer is proof of that, but what do we want from him? A public announcement saying how crap our keepers are? He is the manager of our club, his job is to instill confidence in players, protect them from the media and take the heat himself if he can and he's obviously doing a good job of that.
gronedrone
Akinfeev is pretty amazing too
paul_ownz
But waht makes you think any of those optiosn were genuinely available. Just because you can buy them on Football Manager it doesn't mean you can do so quite as easily in the real world. Maybe Lloris doesn't want to leave France or Buffon or Marchetti Italy just yet? Failure to bring someone in isn't solely dependent on the amount you bid for a player. There are many reasons. It's fanciful to suggest all we have to do is turn up on the doorstep with a chequebook and the player is ours.
Amos.
paul, akinfeev publicly expressed interest in coming to us this summer. Stekelenberg would've been a great buy too. gronedrone, actually AW this summer broke from his tradition of protecting his players when he publicly let it be known that he was looking at keepers in the transfer market and called Almunia's spot as our #1 into question. The anger toward Arsene is his consistent, abject failure to plan for/deal with such a crucial position in the post-Jens era.
jaelle
Um. Remind me what difference was between our first bid and second bid for Schwarzer, exactly?
julieloveshenry4ever
"Jaelle that's yet another example of an hysterical over reaction" - so you get to caricaturize my arguments but I can't do the same to yours. Ok.
jaelle
I used the specific example of Reina for a reason. He's played in England for, what, 5 years? Therefore he must be settled. I assume he wants to play in the Champions League, which he's not doing at Liverpool (who are in financial turmoil and could probably have done with the £15-20 million fee) and he has a Spanish teammate in Fabregas at Arsenal. Is it fanciful to suggest that had we bid for him, that he would be tempted to join?
super_gooner
Reina might or might not be tempted to join as Cesc is tempted to join Barca but it really isn't that simple is it. Even if Akinfeev expressed an interest there is no guarantee that he is available or that Wenger rates him any higher than what we already have. If so he may even be right to do so. I haven't noticed any hesitancy on your part to characterise me or my views in whichever you feel disposed to jaelle. I don't feel anymore inhibited than you do.
Amos.
Amos, no, no, no! See this is what makes me angry about your posts. I have in the past on this very site frequently made the same point you make: that good gks are very difficult to find, that it's all well and good to wish for guys like Lloris or Buffon but it's quite another to get them. They don't want to leave their clubs and/or their clubs refuse to sell (knowing how hard it is to get a top class gk) or they put a price tag that's just too damned high. I KNOW THIS! I think julie and shewore also KNOW THIS! I resent this patronizing scolding. I've posted on other blogs about Lloris whenever I read gooners demanding AW go for him--I said exactly that, that there's NO WAY Lyon will sell Lloris, stop clamoring for AW to go for him. But again, you ridicule us and reduce us to just LeGrove whingers--as if there's nothing in between them and your superior rational self. Akinfeev, Stekelenberg, Eduardo were all possible -- but it would've required splashing out some cash that we DO have. And that AW doesn't want to spend.
jaelle
Answer the question- it wasn't rhetorical. What was the precise difference between our first and second bids for Schwarzer? And when you've answered it, try and defend that as anything other than "dicking" about...
julieloveshenry4ever
As I understand it julie or first bid was more than double what Schwarzer was worth and, if the stories are true, we baulked at paying four times or more than he is worth. As for Wenger making it known publicly that he was looking for another keeper I don't believe he did (though it was a fair assumption). Had it not been for Hughes deliberately revealing information that Hodgson had kept quiet then everyone would have assumed but not really known.
Amos.
Amos, you seem to believe that not acknowledging a problem or excusing it will make it go away. Could I ask you this question; do you believe that we should replace Almunia?
Sir Henry
Jaelle, saying that there is no number one at the club and questioning Almunia's position as number one are not the same thing. http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/wenger-there-isn-t-a-no-1-at-arsenal . And it also demonstrates that Wenger was very active in addressing the GK issue, in the end the best player available was a 37 year old who's never played at the top top level. And I'm glad that Wenger decided against it, and the amount of money we bid for him suggest that he wasn't necessarily going to be number one. And people who think trying to sign Reina would be worthy effort only need to look at how difficult Fulham made it for us with Schwarzer and they're not even a rival club. Schwarzer was at the end of his contract, Reina was at the start of his. Reina at his prime Schwarzer towards the end of his career. Signing Reina would be a better sequel to Mission Impossible.
gronedrone
Whether you see my views as patronising or not I'll leave to you jaelle. If you can characterise my views that way I don't see why you should have any problem my seeing the tone of some of your posts as hysterical. Maybe no more intentionally than mine appear patronisng but hysterical they sometimes are.
Amos.
With the state Liverpool are in, signing Reina most definitely is NOT mission impossible but keeping the ball out of our own net at the moment, IS.
julieloveshenry4ever
Sir Henry - I've answered this question more often than it is possible to count. Of course I would like us to sign a better keeper than Almunia I would also be happy for us to sign a better midfielder than Cesc and a better striker than RvP - even a better manager than Wenger. We should never turn down an opportunity to strengthen our club - if that opportunity genuinely exists.
Amos.
Liverpool are in a bad state, but they don't want to sell their best player unless they get ridiculous fees. Billionaires Chelsea and Man City were both put off by the asking price for Torres. Which suggest that Liverpool never wanted to sell in the first place.
gronedrone
Stop your work Amos: in my opinion Jaelle's posts are perfectly controlled and rational. How typical, wheel out the "H" word when getting involved in a debate with a woman. You sound like Michael Winner: "Calm down, dear." Very evolved.
julieloveshenry4ever
That last remark was very slippery of you Amos. With the ambiguity, I am trying to work out whether that was actually an insult aimed at AW, CF an RVP, or a compliment.
julieloveshenry4ever
Now who's being patronising julie? :)
Amos.
Didnt you know julie, Arsene the all foreseeing Wenger didnt bring anyone in so therefore Amos must be right, there is noone better than Almunia available. And Given cant get in Citys team so he can't be any good either i guess. Forgive my tone but as an outsider looking in its like some of you darent admit Wengers failings, as good as he is at spotting a promising midfielder he's pretty shocking with regards to Goalkeepers, i'd rather have Almunia than 37yrold Schwarzer yet it seems that was the best he could think of. I don't understand why you dont think of Given that highly either, along with Friedel hes been the best and most consistant keeper in the premiership over the last 10 years imo.
HuddersfieldYiddo
You seem surprised at your own use of logic there HY - I am too. I wouldn't mind us buying Given if we could swap him straightaway for Gomes. He has his moments too but maybe that was one Wenger did miss out on.
Amos.
What I love about this thread is that it has now surpassed Saturday's match "obituary" in terms of posts! Big clap on the back to LD for that! And no, I'm not being patronizing either! We've even lured HY on :)
julieloveshenry4ever
BUT easy on HY, Wenger might have failings but they are very very very very very few and far between IMO!
julieloveshenry4ever
Come on, aint that hard, all you gotta do is write "goalkeeper" on an Arsenal site and you're away. Not that i'm taking anything away from the quality of the article.
shewore
Oh so my criticisms are hysterical, being female and all that. Sexist condescension taken, Amos.
jaelle
May I suggest we chill out for now? Let the talks continue starts Jan 1st 2011?? Right now as a fan I wish the gunners a good win without injuries at Belgrade, and hope that Wenger will fix the problem at hand (whatever it is), cause its his job after all. Even we still don't have a good keeper, I'll STILL LOVE ARSENAL FC!!!! The ups and downs, the victories and the loses, I'll cheer it and swallow it as a fan.
Malaysian_GunnerZ
Agreed, HY - there are some gooners incapable of talking about AW rationally, recognizing his blind spots and failings, incapable of accepting any serious criticism of him at all. It can be quite infuriating because you can't have a rational debate with these people and you can't be viewed as someone who's rational and reasonable, you're just dismissed and sneered at as a caricature.
jaelle
The other side of that coin though jaelle is that in some eyes it isn't possible to agree with Wenger without being caricatured as someone that agrees with every thing he does rather than simply understanding some of what he is attempting to do. There's little middle ground in your thinking either. It's a bit like believing all socialists are in favour of full scale nationalisation or all conservatives in favour of fox hunting. You can't have a rational debate with those that define all their arguments on whether your argument accords with someone else's or not rather than the strength of the argument itself.
Amos.
As for the sexist condescension slur I simply described some of your views and those of others who to my knowledge aren't females as hysterical in tone. You, and Julie decided, disingenuously in my view, that it would be a cheap get out to play the sexism card. It's pathetically silly and quite condescending in itself.
Amos.
Glad I took the evening to go to Barnet! :-) First of all, I have to ask why this always turns into an argument about who thinks everything is rosy, I've not said that whatsoever. But I guess it's easier to reduce the debate than it is to participate in it propetly. Yes, the sexism card was cheap and a bit disappointing too, you're both better posters than that. Reducing the argument to such personal slights without good reason is rather tasteless. This isn;t about thinking everything is brilliant or thinking everything is crap and I really don't understand the clamour to categorise things in this way, it's reeuctive and unnecessary. It's easy to stamp one's feet and say it's all wrong, it's a bit harder to sit and try and undersstand why that is and what processes informed the decisions that were made. This circular argument doesn't ever go anywhere and I don't really understand why people get so angry about seeing someone with another point of view. Argue the toss by all means, but is it really necessary to express frustration at someone's perceived way of thinking? Why do you want that validation so much? Can you not see that complaining about someone characterising your views and then rabidly characterising theirs is a double standard?
Little Dutch
Would Manchester United or Chelsea have put up for this long with a goalkeeper who clearly wasn't up to the mark? Silly question. You might argue that Arsenal don't want to be like United or Chelsea; to which their riposte might be, "Ok, well, we'll win the trophies then and you can content yourself with being special and different, and you lot can keep doing lots of passes and all that". Every team, no matter what their philosophy going forward NEEDS an outstanding goalkeeper. Wenger hasn't delivered this for Arsenal and that, in the end, is the inescapable truth, whatever the mitigating circumstances. It doesn't really matter what you, or I, or anyone else thinks. Some things are just true. Almunia is good, but he isn't brilliant. He makes too many mistakes for the level is he playing at. A club like Arsenal shouldn't have such problems in attracting high-calibre players.
Tony Rocky Horror
with some times on my hand i've been reading all these posts ....interesting....amos i think you should have a bit more of an open mind, you are like a proffesor telling his students to follow your instructions to the letter or be failed...acknowledging their points and almost discarding them at the same time...and brov ...you are good...answering yet not answering questions....you would make one hell of a politician...no offence meant
rovinella62spurs
I agree with you both.
paul_ownz
Amos is clearly a budding exponent of the ancient Greek art of disputation rovinella62spurs. Which college did you attend Amos?
Tony Rocky Horror
I can't see a single post of mine that tells anyone to do anything or issues any instruction. I simply put my view which by and large invites others to have an open mind and as LD says look for reasons behind the decisions even if you still can't agree with the decisions. The weakness of others counter arguments obliges them to deflect from the point by attempting to invalidate an opinion on the basis that there hasn't been enough disagreement with other unrelated issues. It's nonsense and worthy of any scorn it invites.
Amos.
Amos, ridiculous statements to say the least. A competent keeper like Frey was available for 10 million euroes. And Wenger did not go for him. What makes you sure that there is no one better available? Its as if you were the scout lol! And Im just talking from what I remember, guess there were 10 other odd keepers who were available at various prices during summer.
Sajit
Amos lets put it this way, the only reason why Almunia is still at the club is because no other club could afford his wages and Arsenal could not afford 5 keepers. And our first two were so poor no one wanted them on loan either. Thats the truth.. Nothing to do with there was no one available!
Sajit
Oh Sajit please..your early statement to Amos: "Its as if you were the scout lol!... then your second post came.. Its as if you were the manager LOL!
Malaysian_GunnerZ
I'm just going to put this out there, how on earth do you know Frey was available for £10m? It's just, he's still with Fiorentina, which suggests either a) he wasn't available at all (likely as he signed a new contract in May) or b) if he was available, nobody wanted him. There may well have been 10 odd other keepers available (not sure how you know that, but I'll play along), but a) what price were they available at and how do you know? and b), errrm, were any of them any good?
Little Dutch
Just when I was about to post "I agree with Amos" on his post about critiquing Arsene Wenger, out come both Amos and LD with moans about sexism card. Quite ironic considering one of you told me some weeks ago that I was in danger of undermining the women's rights movement by watching SATC! Now you are crying foul because Jaelle and I take exception to being dismissed as "hysterical." You both blatantly ignored my reference to Arsene's body language of late, which certainly does not suggest that HE thinks these goalkeeping misdemeanors are acceptable. Neither, Amos, did you answer my question of just how many mistakes and sloppy, conceded goals you thought Arsenal could spare this season. The GK position is too important and this club is too big to just see how it goes. After six trophyless years, the pressure on AW has cranked up to the nth degree. Yet you are taking of "inconsequential games" in which to allow clearly inferior keepers to"develop." Arsenal needs a proven, experienced, confidence-inspiring no. 1 NOW.
julieloveshenry4ever
Justifying or negating an argument on the basis of your sex is just as disingenuous as doing so on the basis of who you might share opinions with. You really don't get the point of nurturing or developing keepers do you so I'll leave that where it is. But to try to answer your question as to how many goals can we concede this season - there is no specific number. Chelsea won the title last season with the highest goals against tally for 5 seasons or more. We have won the title conceding 36 goals and have come second conceding only 17 goals. Important though he is there is much, much more to conceding and preventing goals than just the ability of the keeper.
Amos.
LD, in response to your most recent post there: you keep asking "But at what price?" Prudence is a good thing certainly and has been for the security of our club but I believe the obsession with it has contributed to the lamentable situation in which we find ourselves with the GK situation. In short, I don't believe we tried hard enough to resolve it and fell back upon quibbling over pounds and pence. If we have a problem area, which we most certainly do have, then spend the money to invest! Shay Given is worth forking out for IMO. He is available and is far better than what we have here, so we should get this sorted in January. He has been usurped by Hart for "political" reasons only.
julieloveshenry4ever
I don't think Amos' assertion of hysteria is anything to do with gender, I don't honestly think you think that either really. If you consider hysteria to be oprimarily a female trait, it says more about your mindset than the person that uses the phrase first off. I have used that phrase to describe the entire fanbase at times and I'm pretty sure Amos has as well, to reduce the argument in that way was cheap and unnecessary in my view. Once again, you're not disagreeing with what he has said about Arsenal being unable to develop a young keeper, conversely, you are completely in agreement on that point so I'm not sure why you keep raising it. You also know full well I didn't say you threatened to undermine women's lib by watching SATC, I said to consider the depiction of women in that show as a positive female image was a kick in the, errr, balls?, for women's lib. But let's not go there again. Is Arsene's body language symptomatic of the goalkeeper issue alone? Or has his body language been that way for some time? Even back in the days when Jens was in goal I recall him bawling, crouching, having his head in his hands. I'm not sure I agree that the only reason he responds in that way is purely because of Almunia or Fabianski. I think it's just because he gets wound up because he's a bad loser.
Little Dutch
We can not afford to nurture keepers when we have been nurturing all the other positions aswell. There needs to be some stability and a core of experience, people who have done it. I think with a goalkeeper you need to buy someone who is ready straight away, the risks are too big. You can nurture keepers by sending them out on loan to get experience for a few seasons and if they show promise give them a chance. Fabianski never went out on loan did he?
paul_ownz
Amos, we could be six years without a trophy here. A club of this stature has no more time left to blood in a keeper. What we have available is NOT good enough for our ambitions. If we want to return silverware, then it's high time we got ruthless and bought a player of stature, fit to keep the Arsenal net. And you are right in saying that goals are conceded by more than just the GK. But those defenders in front might be less jittery if they felt confident in the man standing behind them and his instructions. A weak keeper infects the defence.
julieloveshenry4ever
It's a valid point to say a weak keeper infects a defence, but nobody ever seems to turn that point the other way round. Why doesn't a weak defence infect a keeper? Almunia has been left with little choice but to come running out for balls in the last two home league games because the defence was completely absent in front of him. People can be as well to balem Almunia for spilling the ball into the net, which is understandable. But when we concede a horrible goal against Bolton following two of the worst defensive headers you will see this season, nobody blames the defenders for exposing the goalkeeper.
Little Dutch
LD, I said yesterday that IMO, jaelle's posts and my own were perfectly calm and controlled. The term "hysteria" refers to emotional excess, so why was that particular word persistently used. Amos effectively told Jaelle to "Calm down;" a gesture of the most excruciating condescension. But we'll agree to disagree over the intent.
julieloveshenry4ever
Don't get me wrong LD, I DO blame defenders for exposing the keeper and your point is a good one. But make no mistake, we need a better no.1 if want to win trophies again.
julieloveshenry4ever
You've agreed with my point that it is probably impossible to develop keepers at Arsenal so that criticism of the club for failing to do so therefore isn't valid. I've agreed (not that there is anyone on the planet that would disagree) that I would like to have a better keeper just as I would like to have better defenders, midfielders and strikers. The only possible point of disagreement is just how easy it is to get someone markedly better than what we have already. You say Given (who I don't think is as good as Almunia) but even if Wenger rated him there's no certainty that he was available to us this summer or would be available to us on any sensible terms in the future. So we are back to square one which is that if there were someone clearly better available on terms that made sense there is absolutely no reason whatsoever for the club not to take the opportunity. Assuming you bring yourself to credit anyone at the club with any intelligence at all it reasonable to assume that that opportunity simply hasn't existed as yet.
Amos.
Would it not also be reasonable to assume that we did not want to pay certain figures for quality because we like to get a bargain or the most for our money.
paul_ownz
Following what i said, it is my belief that we have missed out on signing players because we have a set figure in our mind which we wont budge on no matter what. Even if paying that extra cash could have made us that much stronger. The Alonso deal always sticks in my mind where we were unwilling to pay a few mil more. Obviously no one can prove that was actually the case as im sure you will tell me, but it would not suprise me either.
paul_ownz
Hear, hear Paul Ownz. And Amos, don't you dare insinuate that I have maligned AW's intelligence. No one admires him or defends him more. But I do think that he may have become obsessed by the principle of getting a "bargain" and that it may have been detrimental to the resolution of the no.1 spot. And if you believe that Given is not as good as Almunia then we are never going to agree on the issue of goalkeeping, full stop. You outdid yourself Amos. Tht entire post plumbed new depths of patronization. I always enjoy reading your opinions but sometimes Amos, you can be the most insufferable bombast :)
julieloveshenry4ever
That was meant endearingly, I should add :)
julieloveshenry4ever
I don't see anything patronising in my post though yours are veering towards the slightly hysterical julie ;) It doesn't matter at all whether you and I agree over Given anymore than it mattered that I disagreed with Wengers interest in Schwarzer (though it sort of made sense in an Almunia/Schwarzer unit being potentially stronger than an Almunia/Fabianksi one). But it isn't a given that Shay is better than what we have. As for the issue of how much we should pay for a player there is undoubtedly a price at which any player can be bought but in many cases it doesn't make any sense at all to pay those prices (particularly so with the implentation of uefa FFP regulations). As jaelle also pointed out certain players aren't going to be available whatever value we might put on them. I don't think that Wenger would baulk at paying quite a lot of money for someone he is convinced provides genuine value. The problem with keepers is that most of them are at their best from 28 onwards. Under player contract law any player over the age of 28 when he signs can free himself from his contract after 2 years. There is also the issue of residual player contract value for mature players. All of which means that you can't pay 'whatever it takes' when you are funding such purchases from your own revenues. You have to make a value judgement. It's always easier to stretch that value when you aren't spending your own money (or money that you are responsible for).
Amos.
Our club has a horrible way of promoting mediocrity. Unearned new deals mean that average players earn much more than they are worth. Just like Man Citeh had trouble offloading their superstars we find it difficult to find takers for Manuel and Fabianski. In short, we have shot ourselves in the foot. -- My only question : Did we even test the resolve of any club (other than Fulham) for a GK? Now, there could always be the argument that we may not have made it public, but considering that almost all Arsenal moves in recent past have been known - it suggests we did not. And I guess , Paul has summed it up perfectly. We have a set figure from which we wont budge. I remember crying out for Chamakh last summer. But Arsene didnt move. God knows how last season would have ended had we had him last year.
Sajit
Faaackin 'ell. All our keepers are rubbish and we should have signed Buffon & Lloris for £100 million plus Fabianski and Almunia in a uber cash plus swap deal. Wenger didn't do it cos he's stubborn and cheap and has lost the plot innit - and girls? Talking about football? Pfft *runs away*
Gunnerman
Please note, above post MAY contain irony...
Gunnerman
Debate all you like, the simple fact is we have sub standard 1st and 2nd choice keepers and EVERY player has his price. So there is absolutely NO reason for us not to have got hold of a player who will occupy the most important position on the pitch. If the manager is being frugal that's his fault. If he didn't plan properly, that's his fault. If the coaching is sub standard, again, that's the managers fault. Either way you cut it, Wenger has let the club down over this whole situation by courting another GK during the summer who was clearly going to be first choice and then being lumbered with Almunia who due to the above actions isn't his preferred choice and then making said disillusioned GK captain FFS. What a complete 'effin shambles. Wenger has royally cocked it up this summer with his actions surrounding the GK's and we ALL know it. Quote form this summer "I am not afraid of spending £20 million on a player" Arsene Wenger. Question: So WTF haven't you?
LondonGooner
Oh and when was the last time a top side apart from Madrid and Casillas "developed" a quality keeper? Top clubs don't develope keepers they buy them when they are excellent keepers or showing that promise at a reasonable age becaus ethey have money to do so. We have money to do so. Seaman - bought. Schmiecal - bought. Buffon - bought. Ceasar - bought. Cech - bought. Lehmen - bought. VDS - bought.
LondonGooner
errr, Sajit - all Arsenal moves have been known?? Did you know we were signing Vermaelen? Did you know we were signing Sagna? Did you know we were signing Kosciecny? Did you know we were signing Squillaci (til it was done) only one i can think of is Chamack and arguably the Russian.
shewore
Toldo - bought. Rossi - bought. Blah, yadda, etc.
LondonGooner
Barthez / Gordon . . . know what you mean tho mate
shewore
Shewore - What is the one thing those GK's and their respective clubs had in common? (I'll answer this anyway lol) They all won trophies and constantly competed at the business end of most competitions! Only teams with top quality GK's win the top prizes. We don't have a top quality GK and we aren't about to buck that trend. That is Wenger's look out and our punishment.
LondonGooner
There is NO such thing, to me as a fan, as a meaningless Premiership game. If it is "classed" as meaningless by others then does that mean the keepers "bottle" went in a meaningless game? WTF is going to happen in a proper game....? Oh yeah, we saw that against Porto, where Fabianski made 4 individual errors for a single goal. 4 for 1 goals, that is some going eh? Fact is, it's not good enough and we as fans and a club are suffering because of Wenger's errors in judgement and inactivity in the transfer market.
LondonGooner
So can I take it that we agree we need a better number one ‘keeper (note the word “better” Amos) and that Arsene is currently on the lookout for a new one? Although these are very rare creatures, I would think that at some point one would become available at a hefty, but affordable price. It may take a while but it’s nice to know the process has started. By the way, this has been a great thread – thoroughly enjoyable!
Sir Henry
Again, I think a number of people are completely missing the point about not being able to develop a keeper. Nobody is disagreeing here, it's a point we're all making. Mistakes will happen when young players are learning the game irregardless of the pressures involved, just as Wilshere might, I don't know, try a flick on the edge of his own box at a ground like Anfield and lose the ball, to think of a hypothetical example. Much like the fact that Bendtner's finishing was waywards at times until the end of last season when he became very clinical- that's the learning process. Though Bendtner wasn't given an easy time by the supporters, he is still granted more latitude than a keeper would be. I would also point out that, yes, of course whilst having a better keeper gives you a better chance of winning big prizes, in 2001-02, Stuart Taylor and Richard right played a combined total of 22 league games and they were both pony.
Little Dutch
Combined....so the majority of games were played by our most senior keeper then?
LondonGooner
Ok, attempt number two as that didn't come out quite right, individually our senior keeper played the most games and we won. The fact is, top teams have top keepers. We don't.
LondonGooner
...and top teams cannot afford to blood young untested GK's. Also, Jack Wilshire is 18, Fabianski is 25 years old. Comparing them just doesn't cut teh mustard.
LondonGooner
Come on mate, Bendtner, clinical, that's really pushing boundaries.
shewore
LOL He did score a hat load Shewore, often with his only chance of the match and pretty much assured us of finishing above the Spuddies....again.
LondonGooner
I appreciate in Fabianski's case, I might be stretching things a bit, but a 25 year old keeper is probably akin to a 19-20 year old outfield player. Bendtner certainly looked clinical post Burnley match last season.
Little Dutch
When you have Seaman, Bob Wilson, George Graham, Alan Smith, Ian Wright, Dixon and other Arsenal names all saying we MUST buy a keeper, you have other teams admiting they target the keeper because they see him as a clear weak link, 95 percent of Fans of Arsenal, Spurs, United, Chelsea all saying that our keepers are not good enough and you as a manager yoursef identify the position needs strengthening then surely you just sort it out. Money obviously is not a problem when he says we can spend 20m on a player and "For a while we were not investing maybe because we had built the stadium but I think our financial situation is now becoming much stronger and we will be capable to buy the players we need to buy." As a top 10 team(europe possibly world) who have money we should not have a problem findin our man.
paul_ownz
I still believe LD that the goalkeeper is one position a top club should not be gambling with or nurturing, the risks are too big. Like LG said, no other team takes these risks, they all go out a buy someone who is good already
paul_ownz
Suppose can't really have a pop at Bendtner but still wouldn't describe his finishing as clinical, scored some good goals towards the end of last season, last minute home to wolves, away to hull (?) and a consolation at Tottenham, his highlight i suppose was 5 min in the camp nou. Anyway, back on topic. Which is boring now, we have no reason to believe that there are not better accessible options out there because we haven't taken them, so why should we believe that?
shewore
The simple question must be - How many other managers at top clubs had trouble signing a top level GK, failed or then just seemed to give up or run out of options? As far as I can see, it is only Arsenal that have that problem.
LondonGooner
The years between Schemeichel and van der Sar were troublesome for United. Barthez didn't quite do it, Bosnich didn't do it, Taibi certainly didn't do it, neither did van der Gouw. Liverpool went through the Calamity James stuff and Jerzy Dudek before settling on Reina. Barcelona don't have a great keeper, Brazil have almost never had a great keeper.
Little Dutch
Yup, but united didnt hang around with Bosnich(37 appearances), Van Gouw(30 something apperances) and Tabi(4 appearances). And to be fair Barthez was really good at the start of his career. Taibi and Van Gouw were never first choices, but Ferguson kept searching until he found his man.
paul_ownz
Barcelona's GK the last 2 years has been one of the bedrocks of their success. He has played some blinders when I have watched Barcelona on the TV (from what you can ever see on the telly). Liverpool won the cup treble with Dudek and Utd found succcess with Barthez not inspite of him, because a GK makes 2-3 high profile errors should not diminsh his match winning contributions. Barthez won Utd many a match, Almunia doesn't often win us matches, it is often despite him although that could be levelled more squarely at Fabianski, as every time he plays he drops a bo**ock somewhere or other on the pitch.
LondonGooner
Although the small matter of the world and European cup of nations should also not be taken away from Barthez ability as a GK. How close did our GK's get to a national squad at the world and Euro's?
LondonGooner
And all of those LD are still better than what we have. Simply not good enough for a club our stature with ambitions for both domestic and European honours. We are effectively "hamstrung" by both dodgy keepers and catastrophic injury levels right now. Have we moved any further forward this season? Based on the precipitous highs and lows of the past 3 matches, it looks like more of the same to me and a major part of that is the lack of a imperious gloveman.
julieloveshenry4ever
Amos, I totally understand your point, and the way that you are expressing it. The arguments regarding Arsenals squad seem to have been forced into a black and white argument ( is nobody able to see that there are shades of grey to any argument that involves hindsight, supposition and conjecture?). I too lament the fact that if one counsels patience, or even trying to see things in a logical manner, one is labelled a "AKB", and conversely if one disagrees with the way things are done, one is labelled as a "LeGrove" type doom and gloomer. I think that the ultimate litmus test is this: When two scummers are agreeing with an Arsenal supporter slagging of an Arsenal player, a very wrong turn has been taken. I personally, hate the statements that "Arsene undermined the keepers' position" in the summer - show me one statement from the club, or Arsene Wenger where it was stated that our keepers weren't good enough, or that we were attempting to sign replacements. The press noise about goalkeeper tartgets came from other managers/clubs, not Arsenal. Additionally, there is another issue here - if, as has been supposed, the whole world and his brother knew we needed a goalkeeper, and that we have money in the bank, it makes our bargaining position untenable - after all, the selling club will feel that we are desperate, and hike the price to get as much as possible for their asset (Schwarzer was not worth 4 million, and if we had paid that much, the next time we were in the market for a perceived desperately needed player, we would be seen as a soft touch and the prices hiked etc) This is a very bad strategy from out point of view, and Arsene is almost obliged to put down a marker to show that we are not going to allow ourselves to be held hostage like this. We also have to remember that we do not know even half of the facts regarding what efforts were made to secure a keeper, nor do we know how many targets we had etc.
wembley79
I dont disagree with what you have said, but every club has these obstacles. It is the managements job to find away around them. So from what you are saying, to not be held to ransom by other clubs or pay over the odds we dont bow to pressure and we stick with what we have while suffering? To me this does not make sense. Sometimes you have to pay over the odds, but the rewards make it worth it. We have sold players for a lot more than they are worth, so if occasionally the shoe is on the other foot but for the greater good of the club then so be it. United spent over the odds on Rooney & Ferdinand. Chelsea on Essien, Cole & Drogba but look how they reap the rewards now. When the Petrol prices & Gas prices go up do you stop driving or sit in the cold? We all pay over the odds in most things in life, football is no different. As long as it does not happen all the time i think we can make that sacrifice once in a blue moon
paul_ownz
Wenger is paid a lot of money. To say that he tried and didnt get anyone just doesnt cut it at a club like Arsenal. Now, everyone appreciates the difficulty of getting a top keeper coz there are so few around, but there is a reason why Wenger and his staff are paid big bucks, and that is to deliver. He doesnt even need to go out and replace the GK, get someone better to coach them. Perhaps, that could make a difference. But the problem with this team is not the GK, the mentality is all wrong. The defensive mentality is non-existent and it starts with the mid field, and continues to the defence, and then to the GK.
prits
Arshavin, prior to tonight, had created 17 chances for team mates- 3 of which were converted. Arsenal have had more shots than Chelsea this season but have 7 less goals. Surely the attack is letting us down more than the keeper this season?
Little Dutch
Chicken and egg question, that LD :) But while I'm on, I WAS pleased for Fabianski last night. Doesn't change my view on the GK issue, but it's good to see something go right for him. Don't like seeing anyone suffer.
julieloveshenry4ever
To answer your question LD. For me, the attack serves a singular purpose- to win through scoring. But the GK/defence, scores a DUAL purpose: to stop the team from losing AND to protect a winning position. Therefore it it doubly important. I still think you have to build a trophy winning side from the BACK.
julieloveshenry4ever
This thread has deflected away from the overall problem of our defensive fragility focussing on just one element, the goalkeeper, albeit the most important one. Almunia is a problem but we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that the whole team is responsible for defending and this has to be addressed. Wenger has bought very well to shore up the defence with TV, Kos and Squilly and once Gibbs can become our number one LB then I think our defence is looking really good. But Wenger has to acknowledge that discretion is the better part of valour sometimes and to shut up shop rather than try to outscore the opposition. He needs to learn restraint and realise that stopping the opposition from scoring can be a huge benefit and to achieve it is a justifiable expense in both time and money.
Sir Henry
"I still think you have to build a trophy winning side from the BACK". Yup, I absolutely agree julieloveshenry4ever!
Sir Henry
 

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