I like Szczesny. I like his positive attitude as well as his overall confidence in his ability. I also love the fact that he is Arsenal through and through and the fact that he is young means he can still improve…although I am not holding my breath on that.
The truth of the matter is Szczesny is punching way above his weight. Arsenal fans are seeing the best of his talent at the moment and it is, at best, above average. He has also proved to be error prone at the most crucial times in games, is not commanding around his area and concedes goals that his tall frame should not be conceding. His saving grace is his quick reflexes but doesn’t every other keeper possess that?
Arsenal should have won a trophy long before the FA cup last year when they met Birmingham City in the 2011 Carling Cup final. Arsenal was the favourite on the day and still ended up losing through a blunder that could have been avoided. Now most fans will point to his inexperience, the fact that the error could have happened to anyone etc etc which are all valid points until you look at the flip side of the coin.
Szczesny was about 21 years old when he played in the 2011 Carling Cup final while Thibaut Courtois was about the same age when he played for Atletico Madrid last year. Szczesny made a mistake because the pressure of playing in a Carling Cup final got to him? How about playing a whole season against the likes of Messi and Ronaldo as well as the Champions Leagues final and coming out on top? Obviously age is not a factor so maybe Courtois is more talented than Szczesny which then begs the question, ‘Why is Arsenal settling for a substandard goalkeeper?’
A goal keeper is meant to keep a team in a game when they are under pressure right? De Gea has done it for Manchester United on a regular basis this season especially when nothing was going right for them while Courtois has also made some crucial saves for Chelsea.
Arsenal on the other hand concede even after putting the other team under sustained pressure. This season, every opposition Arsenal face just soaks up the pressure knowing they will score with their first attack. What does that say about Szczesny? Manchester United is now two points ahead of Arsenal thanks largely to the heroics of their keeper and now that their strikers have found their feet, they look to have steadied the ship.
The game against Anderlecht required Szczesny to stand up and be counted but we conceded three goals after leading 3-0. Unlucky? How about when we blew a four goal lead against Newcastle? Szczesny is really not up to the task and we need to find a keeper who can win us some games singlehandedly.