Monday, October 26, 2009

Indecision is final: the goalkeeping crisis rumbles on

The goalkeeping dilemma has turned into a bit of a farce. Mannone is only 21, that's young for a goalkeeper, so mistakes are inevitable. He should be making those mistakes and learning from them in the reserves or out on loan somewhere.

The fact that he's doing it in the Premiership and the champions league betrays Wenger's loss of faith in Almunia. A lot of people feel he's not good enough to be Arsenal's number one, but it's frustrating that Wenger seems only to have developed that attitude, mid-season and outside of a transfer window, rather than seeing it and addressing it in the summer. Again, a lack of decisiveness, of action, looks to be costing us dearly.

Maybe he sees the returning Fabianski as the answer. Anyone who saw his horrendous error gift chelsea a place in the FA cup final last season will be sceptical.

So all in all more disappointing lack of foresight from Wenger. That was seen in microcosm in the game against West Ham aswell when he didn't replace the awful Eboue with an efficient right-winger to help us kill the game. Instead he fell back on negativity and only reacted when the damage was done at 2-2.

For a man renowned for keeping faith with players- Diaby springs to mind, as do Eboue, Song and a few more- he's never been shy of making a scapegoat of a keeper. Ironically enough, this was how Almunia first got his chance in 04/05, when Lehmann was harshly dropped after the "Untouchables" rediscovered vulnerability. Now Almunia falls victim to this policy. As then, I think it's a bad move by Wenger. I don't rate Almunia but nor do I think we're any better off with either of our current alternatives. Now, if Almunia comes back in and this figurative kick up the hole has forced him into improvement, I'll laud Wenger, but I'm not holding my breath. More likely a mentally fragile and fairly limited goalkeeper has had whatever confidence he held before destroyed. To me, a fit Almunia should have been restored, and proper competition, or indeed an immediate replacement, sought in January.

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