AS Roma may have denied that Arsenal loanee Wojciech Szczesny was dropped due to smoking again (via Evening Standard), but the fact he missed out on the weekend’s fixture due to sporting reasons may well be more harmful for a player at a pivotal point of his career.
The Poland international, who departed Arsenal in the summer on a season-long loan after the arrival of Petr Cech from Chelsea, missed the Italian outfit’s 2-0 home defeat to Atalanta days after the 6-0 demolition from Barcelona in the Champions League.
Szczesny conceded six that fateful night at the Camp Nou, and has struggled so far to really make an impression since his departure from north London. According to the Evening Standard, Roma club director Walter Sabatini suggested the 25-year-old’s omission was down to “technical reasons”, denying earlier reports on Monday that Szczesny had been dropped after being caught smoking – something he was lambasted for earlier in the year in January that cost him his place for the remainder of the season under Arsene Wenger.
Luckily for the Pole, 38-year-old Morgan De Sanctis did little to stake his claim between the sticks at the weekend and is likely to be offered his starting spot back in time.
“Szczesny hasn’t done anything wrong and he isn’t responsible for anything,” Roma’s under-fire boss Rudi Garcia told reporters (via Evening Standard). “We all need to be better, including the goalkeepers. Roma’s problem isn’t in goal.”
It is likely Szczesny’s dropping was a tactical change to shake up the defensive line after the hefty defeat to Barcelona but he still has a long way to go to prove his doubters wrong if he wants to reignite his career at Arsenal.
Of course a goalkeeper is as good as his defence in front of him (at times) such is the case against Barcelona, however Petr Cech’s performances suggest otherwise with match-winning saves becoming more regular with the defence steadily worsening as injuries continue to take their toll.
While Szczesny still has plenty of time to grow in Italy and become the shotstopper we hope he can be, the 25-year-old has a lot more to learn and find some consistency in his game.