There has been a lot of talk this week about Arsenal players who are apparently not good enough to play for the club. One of the more surprising names on that list is Polish keeper Wojciech Szczesny.
Szczesny, once rated as one of the finest young goalkeepers in the world has apparently become so unreliable that Arsenal are now considering buying a replacement in the guise of Liverpool’s Pepe Reina, Sunderland’s Simon Mignolet or Barca’s Victor Valdes.
Szczesny’s critics point to an indifferent season blighted by industry. Some even suggest that the player’s difficulties stem from the Euro 2012 competition where he was sent off in the opening game against Greece and didn’t feature again for his national side. He hasn’t been the same player since.
Personally I don’t buy it. I am with Wenger on one thing and that is Arsenal needs a British core at its heart built around Wilshere and Waclott and I would include Szczesny on that list too. Sure I know he is Polish, but he has been at Arsenal since 2006 and in many ways he is a core part of the young British clique at the club.
Also I don’t get a lot of the criticism of the player. I think the weakest part of his game is his distribution which is admittedly poor, but this is a small part of being a goalkeeper and is something that he can work on and improve.
Where I think he has suffered this season is being the last line of defence with an indifferent group of players in front of him. he has certainly been busier than previous seasons and that may have made him look like a weaker player.
TalkSport have compiled stats for Szczesny and compared them to Reina and Valdes. In almost every area the young Pole more than holds his own. His shot stopping is very good and his record at catching the ball as good as his rivals.
Ultimately what Szczesny needs is better protection and that means Wenger looking again at the form of his trio of centre backs.