Beware the Keepers of March

There’s no other way to put this so I’m just going to be blunt: if Arsenal don’t sign a gods damned keeper I’m afraid that the club will have a Gooner revolution on their hands.

Now, before you jump on me my regular readers know that I’m not a gloom and doomer, chicken little, or nattering nabob of negativity. I can be negative, but mostly I’m a bit Pollyanna at times and have even described myself as a wild-eyed optimist. In truth I have been all of those in the past; negative, positive, and occasionally even realistic.

On the one hand, I understand those who get down on the club because their criticisms always have a kernel of truth. Wenger doesn’t spend and it is frustrating to see other clubs buying up the best players in the world and then going on to win things. So, I can see where they are frustrated with the club over the last 5 years as we blew up arguably the best team that the Premier League ever saw and replaced gods like Vieira with pass-masters like Denilson.

At the same time, I also understand the people who are wildly optimistic about the club. We have some of the best young English talent to come through in decades all the while building a brand new 60,000 seat arena. If Jack Wilshere can somehow escape the leg breakers in the Premier League and continue to learn the touch and movement in Arsenal’s game he has a real chance of becoming the player that everyone thinks Joe Cole is. Throw in the fact that Arsenal are the most financially stable team in the league owing to the new stadium and I agree with them that the future is bright.

The truth is that both views of the club are right; Arsenal are both frustrating and satisfying. Arsenal football club is frustifying.

That said, in reading the opinions of Gooners from all walks of life, the one thing I can say that every single Arsenal fan agrees on is that Arsenal need a new keeper. If there is a soul out there who would like to write an impassioned defense of Almunia or Fabianski I would love to read it.  Please, post it in the comments.

For me, Almunia has never really been convincing. He had a good season two years ago, but since then he’s been very shaky. On the positive side he gets down very quickly, his reaction times are very good, he saves penalties, and he plays the Arsenal Sweeper-Keeper role well. On the negative side, he freezes on corners, couldn’t clear a dirty dish, and lacks any kind of solid presence in the back. None of which mentions the mental errors that he makes consistently.

Fabianski is young and like Almunia he’s got great reaction times but his flaws are deeper than Almunia’s, if that’s even possible. Fabianski’s biggest problem is that he hesitates with his decision making on corners and set plays. This leaves the defense helpless on set plays and not knowing what to do. Oh, and he’s highly error prone and doesn’t organize the defense on open plays, set plays, or really any plays. In his defense, he’s young, and keepers learn those qualities over time, so maybe he’ll be the world’s best keeper — in 10 years.

Mannone has all the same problems that the others have. In fact, I see him in the same mold as Almunia. Great shot stopper, but incapable of organizing a defense or commanding his area.

Sneezy… you’re kidding me if you think we are starting a 20 year old in goal, right? That’s just crazy.

So, realistically, we can’t possibly start the season with any of those players in the goal for Arsenal, can we? Well, we can but only if Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal board wildly underestimate the growing tension among the fan base around the goalkeeper position.

Who is available? Well, the word is that Fulham’s Mark Schwarzer is Arsenal’s only target and that we’ve offered the 37 year old a position as keeper/coach. As a player he is inconsistent and Australia’s World Cup performances (I actually watched them all) showed that he’s a lot like the keepers we already have. Maybe he’ll be a great coach, clearly our current coaching staff aren’t cutting it.

But the whole way that this is playing out is a bit worrying. I keep hearing talk about how we don’t want to stunt the development of our young keepers but what could be more stunting than giving them dross for competition in practice and losses when they get out on the pitch? You want Sneezy to develop into the world’s best keeper? Make him compete against Neuer or Handanovich in training for a starting spot. Having him break into the first team because Almunia and Fabianski make gaffe after gaffe on the pitch is hardly “developing” his young talent.

So, I think the club have a really big problem that they need to deal with. More than just getting a keeper in who can win us a few games Arsenal need to get a keeper in who will show the players and fans that they are serious about winning. If they don’t and come matchday against Liverpool we see Fabianski lining up in the pink and black I suspect that there will be more than a few angry voices on this blog and all of the other 10,000* or so Arsenal blogs that are out there.

My advice to Arsenal is to buy a damn keeper and buy one now. Hell, buy two, just in case the other one breaks. You have the money, so think of it as an investment in supporter’s good will. Because if Arsenal don’t buy a keeper and start the season struggling with error prone players in defense, there will be a flood of negativity that even a Pollyanna like myself will be incapable of holding back.

*It’s true, I get about a request a day to link to someone’s Arsenal blog. Pretty soon, I suspect that every Gooner will have their own blog.

61 thoughts on “Beware the Keepers of March

  1. Vote -1 Vote +1Aman

    I have no clue why we can not sign a Decent keeper. We have the money we have ambition to win things. And a keeper would not be enough , we really need a CB who can start in EPL , Koscielny and Djourou needs some time and they will be skinned if they are our first choice.

    I have no idea why Arsene is overlooking Defensive weakness of our team.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Steve

      Problem is if a keeper is worth 5m, we bid for him and his price will go to 10m as everyone and their dog know we’re desperate for one, and we all know Mr.Wenger will not pay inflated prices.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Tim

        @Steve, You pay the £10m because losing out on the Champions League is worth £30m. You pay the £10m because dropping to 6th or 7th place in the League drives Cesc’s value down by at least £10m. You pay the £10m because having a half-empty stadium and empty box seats will cost Arsenal £100m.

        In short, pay the £10m or suffer the consequences.

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1Steve

        I agree mate, but does Arsene? It’s as if he has some kind of irrational fear of being ripped off.

      3. Vote -1 Vote +1Gooner Mike

        @Tim,
        as much as I agree with your sentiment Tim, you sound like a moaning adolescent rather than the insightful poster I know you are. Where are all these keepers u think we can sign just by turning up and flashing cash? If you ask any of your friends if they were offered a new job abroad for more money would they leave without thinking? No and nor would you. What makes you think footballers are so different? Yes, we definitely need a GK but in an age when Chelsea will start the season with Hilario that tells you everything.

      4. Vote -1 Vote +1Teampossible

        @Steve, Then what is your suggestion, we don’t bid for no one? :) In this case, we continue our policy of buying unknown talent and hope they turn out to be world beaters. In case of players, this is a risk I would be prepared to take, since there are 9 other beside him on the field and his mistake doesn’t have to cost the team the game.
        In case of the goalkeeper, unfortunately this is not the case,
        as we saw last season with Fabianski against Wigan and Almunia vs Everybody.

      5. Vote -1 Vote +1Steve

        God no, I’d pay the money, but I’m not the man in charge… all I’m saying is that over the years Arsene has shown in his transfer dealings is that he will not pay over the top, no matter what the consequences are

      6. Vote -1 Vote +1Aman

        , Arsene has all the cash that he needs. We should go after a decent keeper no matter if it costs us a little. when we can splash around 10M for koscleiny then why not for a keeper like Handanovic ?

        We will loose Cesc next season for sure if we have this defense and then it will be hard to keep worldclass talent at Emirates.

  2. Vote -1 Vote +1Morriisset's Love Child

    I think your assessment of Almunia, Flappyhandski and Don Manonne are pretty much spot on. I was behind the goal for the Barcelona Game, and even though it was Almunia’s best 45 minuets in an Arsenal shirt, I was amazed at the reaction and attitude that Gallas, Vermeulen and Sagna had with him. They clearly had no faith on him at corners and free kicks. They where shouting at him telling him where to be! I like the idea of an experienced keeper coming in for 2 years whilst Chesney gains experience, but then what happens if Chesney ends up like Flappyhandski and is all potential. We back to square 1. I do feel a change in keeper coaches might be a help. It couldn’t be any worse

  3. Vote -1 Vote +1Teampossible

    Well, I think I remember Handanovic’s agent saying that Arsenal apparently told him they were not in the market for goalkeepers. If this is true, it is really messed up. I don’t want to start the new season getting used to being disappointed again. I think Almunia’s confidence must have dropped when word got out we went for Sorensen in December. And with all the rumors about goalkeepers joining us this summer, not the mention every newspaper and blog highlighting his deficiencies, he must be feeling lower than a man being rejected by a prostitute. And being that he is bad at goalkeeping even without the pressure, I can see him flip-flapping our title challenge even before the game against Birmingham.

  4. Vote -1 Vote +1simmer10

    There was a poll on Arsenal.com about what position needs to be strengthened and keeper was #1 by a mile. .com is trolling for what the punters are thinking. I would be surprised if we do not see a new keeper soon.

  5. Vote -1 Vote +1Yan

    That’s just so logical, that is probably overlooked: You dont learn replacing poor competition. You learn and develop watching the best at their best.
    I remember once Tim you mentioned GKs shattered confidence as the main reason for the costly mistakes. Also, you have to think what kind of relation did gallas have with the rest of the backline. If you’re Fabianski, would you dare to yell at him when needed?

  6. Vote -1 Vote +1Stu

    Brain Clough’s philosophy on building a great team, which served him extremely well, was to get the best keeper, central defenders and centre forward that you possibly could, then fill in the other slots with what you can. It seems that Arsenal have great players in those “fill in” positions, but are weak in the positions that score you goals and stop you conceding goals. Sure, we’ve got some useful strikers, and one quality CD in Vermaelen, but we are still lacking another top notch CD and goalkeeper at the very least.

  7. Vote -1 Vote +1Bala

    20 years of age might be young for a goalkeeper but casillas and neuer has showed us age doesn’t matter.For me if chesney is good enough he can be our No.1 this very season.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1ArseChicago

      There will be revolt if Fabianski or Almunia start the season as the #1 GK. If Wenger rolls the dice and puts in Sneezy, I think the revolt will wait, but the torches and pitchforks will be very close nearby.

  8. Vote -1 Vote +1gooner6868

    your right we seriously need to get rid of almunia and fabianski, they are both too error prone, like you say great shot stoppers but goalkeeping isnt only about stopping shots its about commanding your area aswell, and neither do that well, the defence has no confidence in these two at all.
    schwarzer isnt the answer either, bring in a solid keeper and have mannone and yes szczesny as backup.
    but i fear we will still have almunia and fabianski as first and second, god help us if we do

  9. Vote -1 Vote +1Chief Gooner

    now i love arsene, and i was convinced he would make the signings we need, but the longer it goes the more doubts i have.
    being completely honest if we go into the season without a new keeper and another centre back then i dont think he should manage the club anymore because that clearly shows that he is not capable anymore.
    we’ve heard the same excuse about injuries at the end of every season for 5 years now but then he doesn’t sign anyone. how many times does it have to happen before you learn?
    look now we’ve sold eduardo we’re back at the same number of strikers as last season and last season we played 1/3 of the season without a recognised striker. today arsene says we have enough strikers! perhaps he doesn’t remember having to play a midget up front last january.
    i can handle no signings when money is tight but we all know there’s cash available. if he actually thinks we can challenge for a title with almunia or fabianski in goal then he has lost it.
    we’re constantly being promised the team will be strengtened. if i look at the squad right now i would say its weaker than last season. come on arsene, please get it done

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1ArseChicago

      While I don’t want to say yet whether or not the team’s weaker, I think it certainly isn’t stronger. The good news is that neither are Liverpool, Chelsea or United stronger (yet). City will be in the top 4 this season and, like it or not, Spudwacks have a fairly talented side and apparently some more cash to burn, so if we want to capitalize on the financial constraints afflicting Liverpool and United, we better get a little more aggressive.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Chief Gooner

        @ArseChicago, ya sometimes you just wish he would make a move in the market to turn a few heads. i know its easy to sit at home and play championship manager but it just feels like our squad has a stale feel to it.
        cska is apparently interest in rosicky. we should try and do a swap deal for honda.
        arsene needs to bite the bullet and spend 25million on a keeper and another centre back.
        i’m tired of arsenal being the shopping equivalent of the bargain basement hunters at walmart. lets head for the designer stores and get some class and quailty. we are apparently the third richest football club in the world after all

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1Chief Gooner

        @ArseChicago,
        also just look at what the signing of joe cole has done for liverpool. its given them a huge lift and gerrard has committed his future. they look a much more confident bunch than 2 months ago.
        quality signings give a huge boost to the morale of the squad. thats what we need

    2. Vote -1 Vote +1Aman

      @Chief Gooner, I`m having same feeling. This season our squad looks weaker than season gone by.
      Seriously would like to know now when we have money why Arsene is deluded into thinking that we can win things with this Defense?

  10. Vote -1 Vote +1ArseChicago

    I think someone commented here a short while ago wondering whether or not we’re all getting ahead of ourselves in terms of anointing Sneezy (I like that, Tim) as God’s gift to goalkeeping, and I thought that was a fair observation. Going into the offseason, I thought it would make perfect sense to buy some 35-year old GK to keep Sneezy’s spot warm for a few years while he gets a little more experience before taking over the #1 spot. I’m incredibly desperate in wanting Sneezy to live up to the hype, but life doesn’t work out that way. Perhaps maybe we should be a little more ambitious and spend more than 10MM on a keeper in his 20s and worry about the problem of when to put Sneezy in later.

    As someone mentioned, it hurts our bargaining position to have everyone know we need a goalkeeper. That’s why I think a little more time will pass before any team will cave in and sell. Arsene’s playing poker at the moment and I think it’ll work out. Is it worth playing this poker right now? Probably not, particularly if it’s the difference between paying Fulham 2MM and 4MM. On his own, Schwarzer might only be worth 1 or 2MM. But just like how some companies might be worth more to one acquiring company versus another, Mark Schwarzer would not have a greater impact or importance anywhere else than he would at Arsenal. Fulham knows this; that’s why it’s taking awhile. City is facing the same thing. Aston Villa knows that City needs to spend its money; that’s why they’ll rob them when they sell Milner for a ridiculous price.

  11. Vote -1 Vote +1Akash

    What I find interesting is everyone thinks they know exactly what Wenger is doing? Everyone seems to know that he is infact not looking for a keeper. Everyone also seems to know who the best keeper as a replacement should be.
    And everyone felt the same about the DM position this time last year. Everybody seemed to know that Felipe Melo and Lorik Cana were the best fits and that Song had no place in the team. A year everybody except Wenger has been proved wrong about the DM position.
    So when everyone is going mental about the keeper situation, I think we just need to take a step back here.
    I personally feel that Fabianski is really good. He is just a little low on confidence. And Wenger is right on backing him and sticking by him. Almunia on the other is really poor. I think he will be a backup keeper in the case that he doesn’t move on.

    PS: I know I used a lot of “”Everyone” and “Everybody”

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Chief Gooner

      @Akash, fabiankski is too light. he might be a good keeper in italy or spain where he’ll be protected but at places like blackburn and wigan where they just push you into the net if they can get away with it then he’s not going to cut the mustard

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

        @Akash, Wrong.

        Many, many people were defending Song during the season that he and Denilson played 38 games you just didn’t hear it over the din of people saying he’s crap.

        But let’s assume you are right and Fabianski is the greatest goal keeper in the world. If so, a little competition in the form of Handanovich will only bring out the best in him, not stunt his growth.

        Getting an automatic first team sport because the other three keepers around you are either rubbish or unready is not the way to encourage growth in a top athlete. Only competition does that.

        Look at Song, Song grew because he had competition for his spot in the form of Denilson. Denilson is now out of favor because Song is so good. Song won and made himself number one and got better for it.

        Now, if he could add long distance goals the way Denilson does, he would be perfect all around.

    2. Vote -1 Vote +1ArseChicago

      Well, that’s what blogs are for, right? People opining on things? People thinking out loud in writing? I don’t think many people, if any, are suggesting Arsene’s not looking for a GK. People are just expressing their frustration as to why it’s not been done yet. I fully believe he’s looking for a keeper. For whatever reason, he hasn’t been able to buy one.

      As for your opinion of Fabianski, do you rate him more than Cech, Reina, Van der Saar or Hart? Because those are the goalies for the teams likely to challenge for the title this season (and every season going forward).

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Aman

        @ArseChicago, tHankyou for saving few keystrokes of mine.

        We need to compete for title till the end and need a defense that does not leak goals easily.

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1Akash

        @ArseChicago, Not more than Cech no..
        I don’t rate Reina or Van Der Saar.
        I think Fabianski is just as good as Joe Hart if not better.
        Besides Joe Hart really caught everyones eye playing for Brum no Man City. Obviously playing for Brum is hugley different than playing for Arsenal. Fabianski has hardly had a run in to build his confidence. He’s always been throw into a must win game (like an FA cup game or Champions league game).

        @ Aman – Keep the faith and we’ll defintely win something this year. Even if its only the Mickey Mouse cup.

      3. Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

        @Akash, Pepe Reina is one of the best goal keepers in the world and the only reason he’s not a starter is that Casillas is just better.

        Joe Hart is better than Fabianski for several reasons: he is a commanding presence and he’s English. Like it or not, refs will let Stoke push Fabianski and Alumina to the ground but will blow for any foul on Hart because he’s English.

        Yes, I am aware that I just said that English refs are racist.

      4. Vote -1 Vote +1Akash

        @Tim, City aren’t selling Hart.
        I don’t know about Reina. I have never really rated him. Maybe cos I don’t watch many Liverpool games (Its not cos I hate them but cos they are so boring). The ones I have watched, I have never been impressed. But I think, you stick Reina in our goal and he’ll just turn out to be another Almunia.
        No non-english goalie at Arsenal is ever going to receive a favour. And there aren’t any good English goalies out there who we can get.

  12. Vote -1 Vote +1jack king

    It all could have been so different if Seaman hadn’t taken the greed option and signed for Leeds instead of staying, completing his contract and then reverting to coaching as Bob Wilson had intended him to.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Simon Says

      @jack king, I just looked it up and Seaman never played for Leeds. He signed for Man City the year after leaving Arsenal but retired halfway through the season in January because of injuries.

      Also, Seaman doesn’t have an official coaching role with the Club but in this interview he did with Sport.co, he says he helps out at the club with coaching goalkeepers.

      You turned down an opportunity to become the goalkeeping coach at Arsenal when you left the club in 2004. Would you go back and help if they called on you?

      “I turned it down as the chance came straight after my last game for Arsenal which was the FA Cup final against Southampton. I wasn’t ready to retire at that time so I turned it down. I haven’t been offered anything formal since.

      I still go and coach the young goalkeepers and help out Tony Roberts who is the full time youth team goalie coach. I go in on my own time and just try and pass on a little bit of advice. At the moment I’m enjoying my life as it is and don’t really want to get into full time football hours.”

      http://www.sport.co.uk/features/Football/1020/Sportcouk_meetsDavid_Seaman.aspx

      In Lee Dixon’s interview with Sport/co, he mentions that he asked both Bob Wilson and Seamen if they rated Almunia/Fab and they said they didn;t think they were good enough. In Seamen’s interview he does not deny saying this and avoids answering it by acknowledging that they both have talent.

      http://www.sport.co.uk/features/Football/989/Sportcouk_meetsLee_Dixon.aspx

  13. Vote -1 Vote +1nycgunner

    Tim, as I have mentioned many times in this blog, I, for one, am not in favor of bringing Schwarzer. It doesn’t make sense to me. He is going to keep Sneezy’s position warm? He is 37 years old. Even by a goal keeper’s standards that’s a couple of years past his prime. A guy his age is more susceptible to injury. In terms of quality, sure he is better than Almunia – but is there a gulf in class? Absolutely not. All it will take is a gaffe similiar to the one in the world cup and I can see him having a run of bad games – something we just can’t afford. What we need is healthy competition for the number one spot. If Sneezy is 20 now, he will be 22 in two years – still a very, very young age by GK standards. So what the fuck is the problem is bringing in a younger guy who will compete for a position over the long run? And heaven forbid, what if Sneezy does not turn out to be the success story that is being foretold here? Do we go out and get another keeper at a much higher premium – cos that’s what we will need to pay as clubs will know that we dont have ANY keepers. So why not make that investment now? That’s why this whole Schwarzer saga is completely non sensical to me. I shocked, flabbergasted… I am shockergasted!

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1NSGooner

      I agree completely with this one- how is Chesney any different from Mannonne and Fabianski? I know he’s supposed to be spectacular, but the two others were supposed to be good as well, they just couldn’t handle the pressure. Who says Chesney can?

      I still want Sebastien Frey. He’s 32, CL experience, and a damn good keeper. Not to mention Fiorentina just signed Artur Boric from Celtic, which me might not be too fond of. If we have to spend 15MM on him, then spend 15MM. He would probably want to come as well, as there is more competition for him in Italy, plus no CL this year.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1mark

        @NSGooner,

        I agree that Frey would be a great addition. A couple good things about him. He is French so he can communicate with the whole back line and seems to be the maniac we need on set pieces.

  14. Vote -1 Vote +1Yan

    Well, AW is well aware of our defensive problems. He said that you can’t win trophies leaking as many goals as we did. I want to believe that he is actually addressing those problems, whether with inside or outside solutions.

  15. Vote -1 Vote +1dilshan

    this is the only point I ever disagree with AW, we need a very good GK and I suspect once we do that we will start to realise how good our defenders are as well, currently every single mistake they make ends up being a goal and they do not seem to get the protection they need, which then results in hesitating. We have noticed both Sagna and Cichy hesitate a lot last season and I think it has a lot to do with them lacking confidence on the man behind them, not the only reason but a big reason. I hear how much trouble Ajax are in financially and I will take their and Dutch no 1.for a top club in financial trouble selling their GK oppose to a offensive player, who will also sell shirts ( Suarez) is a better option and I am not sure if they will be able to turn doen a 7-8 mil deal for Skeleternberg and even throw in a player, 7-8 mil plus Aluminia could make a good deal for both parties

  16. Vote -1 Vote +1Brahmabull

    This season will be very very interesting.

    Liverpool will improve under Hodgson, because Benitez, for my money was a fucking garbage manager.

    Chelsea will be Chelsea – they will slip from form last year (especially since the average age of the team is still very high) but they’ll be in the hunt.

    Man City will be the real deal – the off-season signings they’ve made (and are rumoured to be working on) have been good ones. Boateng? Silva? Good stuff. They are definite top 4 next year (unfortunately – don’t get me wrong, I still hate them).

    Man United will slip, Rio one year older, Vidic likely on his way to Madrid, they are one significant Rooney injury away from a minor collapse.

    Tottenham will be decent, they’ve got some horses in midfield and up top to run with the pack, although I think they had a big run of luck last year to get into the top 4, and their defense is still piss poor.

    So, Arsenal are in tough. I would not say we are are a pre-season lock to be top 4. I hope Wenger sees this… consistent results come from defense, offenses, no matter how good, can be streaky and reliant on chemistry and momentum. We need another CB (not just Sol), and a goalkeeper as you say, and I wouldn’t mind a partner for Song as a deep midfielder i.e. Melo if he’s still out there.

  17. Vote -1 Vote +1Patrick

    I think we just need to put Almunia in solitary confinement for a few weeks. Make him a little insane. He just needs that edge that makes a great keeper. You know, the sort of edge that makes the other team (and our defenders) fearful of what he’s going to do next.

    Keepers need to be friggin’ bonkers.

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  19. Vote -1 Vote +1Breezy

    How Almunia got to be our number 1 is beyond me, I was under the impression that he would always be a number 2 first Lehmann and then the next guy who came in (which turned out to be nobody) he just looks likes a number kind of like van der Gouw was a United all those years back. I am baffled as to why wenger stuck with him for so long,, it’s cost big time. As for Fabianski, I reckon he could be a good keeper, but needs to get gametime,so I think a loan to a Championship team or a lower Premiership team would really help him, maybe somewhere like Blackpool, he’ll get plenty of practise there!!!

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

      @Breezy, At that time Lehmann was beginning to make sloppy mistakes and Almunia became #1 because he did not. Lehmann moved on in an unseemly fashion and here we are today. This past season, Almunia , Farbianski and Mannone have all made the kinds of mistakes that got Lehmann bounced. We are in big doodoo with these guys unless one catches fire.

  20. Vote -1 Vote +117highburyterrace

    Well, I’ve read Tim’s post (which I mostly agree with) and all the comments, and not one of them has mentioned the idea of Schwarzer coming in as a player-coach…with the emphasis on COACH. ArseChicago came closest in suggesting that Schwarzer has value to us which goes beyond his ACTUAL value and I think this is true. Morrissette’s Love Child (hmmm…), who was at the Barca match, noted the very strange communication at set-pieces with Gallas barking at Mooney about positioning. One of the lingering images (for me) from last season was Sagna miming towards Fabianski (hand doing an impression of a speaking mouth) about the need to communicate with his defenders after his (2nd) gaffe away at Porto.

    Schwarzer, while not inspiring for a very weak Australian team at the WC, did lead Fulham on a very positive cup run. His role at Arsenal would be to instill, through his play (hopefully) AND his coaching, a new and much needed communication, in English, that would become the standard for Flappy, Manny and Sneezy (whose names sound a bit too much like those famous dwarfs….Mooney, BTW, sounds like he will be gone…) I’d suggest that with Gallas gone and our young central defenders needing guidance out there, the time is more than ripe for such a move. Given the prejudices of English refs, I think we need to abandon the idea that a French keeper, speaking in that language, is remotely acceptable.

    Finally, I think we also need to be cognizant of the different sorts of keepers out there. The top teams give up far fewer chances and their keepers need to stand tall at those moments and be (extremely) resilient if they do concede–in a way that communicates itself to the entire team/supporters, etc. They also need to be particular strong at set pieces, so that defenders are comfortable putting balls behind or making the “professional” foul outside the box. Lower teams offer an opportunity for keepers to show off their shot-stopping reflexes and their aerial prowess, etc. If they keep an occasional clean sheet against a better team (with numerous good blocks) it balances with the days they leak 2 or 3 or 4. My point is that being “good” or “impresssive” for an underdog team does not translate into what we need at Arsenal. (Witness the trouble with the English GK situation, for example….) Truly quality keepers, I think, are few and far between and would cost very big money, and could always go down to injury, etc. It’s an even bigger risk than signing a top striker, IMO….

  21. Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1297235/Yaya-Toure-Barcelona-said-I-crazy-leave-join-Manchester-City.html

    Two things struck me in this article. For those of you who follow ice hockey, you know one of the biggest unwritten rules is you never, never, ever touch the Stanley Cup if you’ve never won it. To do so will doom you to never winning it. Kolo is touching the “big ears”. He is doomed to never win it and hopefully that means Man City is doomed as well.

    Yaya then takes a shot at Arsenal when he says that there are big clubs in the EPL and he pointedly includes Sp**s while leaving us out of the conversation. He then goes on to say that he would like to get third or fourth place.

  22. Vote -1 Vote +1Ronnie Rooke

    I have followed the team for 65 years. In that time IMO we have only had 5 world class goal- keepers. Swindon, Kelsey,Jennings, Wilson and Seaman. Top keepers are as rare as rocking horse s**t. What we need is a first class goal keeping coach and some one who can coach a defence G.Graham?, perhaps. Because Arsene can’t. I think that Arsene needs to take a hard look at his first team coaches, me thinks they have got stale and possibly a bit complacent.

  23. Vote -1 Vote +1Akash

    So now Barca new boy David “pu**y tickler” Villa is in on it. He thinks he will score more goals if Cesc joins them. Well how about scoring a few goals first and then think about scoring more goals. Jeez these barca players all have their head up their arse!!

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Akash

      @Akash, I really wish we meet Barca in the group stages of the Champions league and give them a real good hiding. And Cesc scores!!

    2. Vote -1 Vote +1Chief Gooner

      @Akash,
      has he even trained with them yet? what a muppet. he is kind of insulting busquets and the other muppets in midfield with those comments

  24. Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

    Henry gave the NYRB a 1-0 lead then the NYRB defense took over and gave the game back to Sp**s, 1-2. Modric was eager to get Henry’s shirt at halftime.

    Henry looked decent considering it was his first game since South Africa. His team mates don’t yet have a clue as to what he’s trying to do but they better catch on quick.

  25. Vote -1 Vote +1LeProf

    Mad Jens will always be our best keeper ever. To be fair Scwharzer performs well at Fulham because of good link-ups with Hangeland. But still, Schwarzer simply half decent of what Mad Jens used to be unless Wenger bring Hangeland as well. Then our CBs (Kos,Verm,Sol,Hangeland,JD,Nordveit) would be well covered and rotated to prevent more injuries and fatigue.

  26. Vote -1 Vote +1jack king

    /Users/leonardking/Desktop/xavi-puyol-pique-gay-spaniards.jpg

    This was on The Canon blog this morning

  27. Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/teams/m/man_utd/8850768.stm

    The season of discontent comes to roost at Man U. Man City is suddenly packing them in like flies on shit. I guess spending a boat load of money on new players tends to ‘energize’ your base as they say in US political circles.

    I really hope Wenger knows what he’s doing with these goalkeepers. The Emirates Cup will be a telling event. Will Almunia start? A mistake free tournament will seal the deal for Almunia. A reprise of last seasons mistakes by any goalkeeper and the howls for a new goalkeeper will be deafening. Then we might see the typical Arsenal last minute scramble to bring in someone at the most inopportune time.

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