I would like to take a moment to congratulate Manuel Almunia on eventful career as he retires and thank him for so many wonderful performances while he donned the Arsenal jersey. The one performance that stood out more than the rest was the game against Barcelona in the Champions League. I forget the year but you all remember the game. Arsenal was pummeled with shots from all over the pitch and fifteen minutes in, we as fans were exhausted for the Arsenal players. All credit goes to Manuel Almunia for keeping us in the game otherwise it would have been a cricket scoreline.
Manuel Almunia had incredible reflexes and saved more penalties than he let in so why was he always a scapegoat in the latter stages of his Arsenal career? Was he really that less talented when compared to other Arsenal keepers?
I started watching Arsenal when David Seaman was the undisputed number one. To me there has never been a better keeper for Arsenal. He had the wow factor. His save against Sheffield United in the FA cup remains the best save I have ever seen. Impossible!
Jens Lehmann was a very good keeper but had the tendency to go nuts which only served to endear him more to the fans. I actually do not remember any particular save that stood out apart from against Manchester United in 2007 when he saved Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s shot. There have been others but overall his blunders were more memorable and hilarious than his saves.
Wojciech Szczesny continues to divide Arsenal fans but the one thing he does not lack is confidence. He is the reason why Wenger has refused to bring in more established names and has rewarded the manager with some impressive performances.
Looking at the keepers we have had over the years, it is a mystery why Almunia did not stay longer at Arsenal than he did. He had the skills necessary to succeed. Whatever the reason he will always be loved for the effort he gave.