Will Petr Cech make a significant difference?

July 1, 2015

I think we can all agree that Arsenal have been lacking a truly top class ’keeper since “Mad” Jens left. Some would say that the lack goes back further to David “Safe Hands” Seaman’s departure.

We’ve seen a few come and go, Almunia, Fabianski and Mannone, while a few more have stayed, Szczesny, Ospina and Martinez. All have been given a chance to make the Number One shirt their own. None of them have been entirely successful.

The signing of David Ospina during last summer’s transfer window came as a bit of a surprise to most Gooners, he had had a good World Cup, was one of two first team ‘keepers at French Ligue 1 side Nice but was not happy to share the gloves with the young Joris Delle and so signed for Arsenal for around £3 million. He had a good but not spectacular first season and now seems likely to leave for pastures new.

So we come to our latest recruit Petr Cech, one of the rocks that Abramovich’s Chelsea were built on and a mainstay of the side since he joined in 2004, his 333 appearances say a lot about his consistency as well as his talent. There can be no doubt that he played an enormous part in the many successes that Chelsea have enjoyed since Abramovich injected his roubles into the then ailing West London club.

I don’t think there can be any doubt that Arsene Wenger has signed one of the best goalies in the world. I believe that Cech will bring an air of calmness into our defence and will give some confidence to our defenders. My personal belief is that he will certainly make a significant difference to our team and it’s prospects in the coming seasons.

What do other Gooners think?

Written by Norfolk Gooner.

Is it Cech Mate against The Pole in Goal?

June 18, 2015

It is with a heavy heart today that I delve into the defensive side of our game. The Goal Keeper.

The blog world is alive with stories of the imminent arrival of Petr Cech for an apparent £14M.

Sz had an absolute stinker against Southampton for sure. Maybe he was hungover from New Year’s celebrations. The game was on January 1st after all.  Who knows. Then, of all times, he chose post match to have a fag in the shower when he was already in the dog house. Got demoted to Cup Keeper, and in came Ospina as No 1.

Thing is Arsene played Szczesny in the final. You can read that as a “thanks and goodbye” or Arsene effectively re-instating him as No1 (it’s not true AW always sticks with the Cup Keeper in the final). Either way you read that choice, a fairly substantial level of forgiveness had to be in the air.

My personal thoughts are that Szczesny still has everything to be a top keeper. He needs to grow up fast. To my mind, there are strong similarities between him and Nic Bendtner in terms of a casual professional attitude, but that is very much my own guesswork. Even top keepers make mistakes, and take away the shocker of the Southampton game, and I think our Pole had a very good season.

Would Cech coming in help, or hinder (he’ll want first team football) our own current keepers, and more importantly, the overall strength of the defence?

written by Micky Didit


Poll: Ospina or Szczesny to play in the Final.

May 28, 2015

Who would you pick?

The case for Ospina:

The current incumbent and clearly Mr. Wenger’s first choice keeper. His record is outstanding –  in 18 matches Ospina has conceded just 11 goals. He has made 48 saves and kept 8 clean sheets. Statistically Ospina is far ahead of the Pole.

A fine shot stopper who came to us following an excellent World Cup for Columbia with a reputation as a future champion, he replaced Hugo Lloris at Nice whose President considered him as good as the excellent keeper who is about to leave the N17 knuckle-draggers.

Ospina is the brother-in-law of James Rodriguez of Barcelona and is married with one child.


Mr & Mrs Ospina 

Ospina is just 26 and already has over 50 International caps, he chose Arsenal over Athletico Madrid when he signed in summer. Clearly a confident man who believed he would soon take the shirt from Wojciech – he was right..

The case for Szczesny:

Two seasons ago TPIG had the football world at his feet. He was the coming man, the man who would be the AFC keeper for the next 15 years – the next Seaman. Szczesny has the talent, the physique,  the technical and tactical nous to be a great goalkeeper. He has already played 130+ games for Arsenal. Last season he shared the Golden Glove with Petr Cech – Wojciech is no mug.

TPIG’s saves per game ratio is the same as Ospina’s and let us not forget he was the GK at the start of the season when the team was so lethargic.

Mr Wenger has shown his preference to play his second choice GK in the FA Cup and last season played Fabianski, which many believe indicates TPIG will start on Saturday.

But …. Szczesny is on the Naughty Step. After some difficult games in which his concentration wavered his mental state came into question following a “smoking” incident. Yet this is a chap with enormous confidence – some might say too much and perhaps it was his mistakes at Southampton in January which have sealed his Arsenal fate.


Mr and (the soon to be) Mrs. Szczesny

Raddy’s Opinion:

I have no real reason for saying this but I don’t trust Ospina. His silly errors vs WBA worry me – he just doesn’t seem to have control over his area. His lack of height could be costly against the aerial power of Benteke etc and Ospina will need to be a damned sight better with his punching from corners and crosses, TPIG is better in the air than Ospina as he has shown many times. He seems to be a good shot-stopper and his distribution is certainly better than Szczesny.

The problem is that I don’t trust Szczesny either. He has the potential to be a world class GK but seems to be undone by a flaky head.  If AW was going to play him at Wembley then he would surely have started vs WBA ( Fabianski played the final game of last season pre-Wembley).

The scale just about tips towards the Pole – he is due to play a solid game, he is better in the air than Ospina, he missed out last season and this could be his final appearance in an Arsenal shirt if (please, please, pretty please) Cech comes in summer. And sentiment rules – so my vote goes to Szczesny.

This is not an easy decision. What do you think?


written by Big Raddy


Arsenal’s best keeper for next season is ……….

April 13, 2015

Apparently David Ospina has the highest win ratio (92%) in Premier league history after 11 wins from 12 games played. Obviously this is a meaningless statistic since when he came into the side other factors will have influenced our current run of 8 games unbeaten in the EPL – not least the emergence of Le Coq as the midfield enforcer we always wanted.

But I have to say that I am mightily impressed with Ooooospinnnaaaaa (that makes me laugh every time I hear the crowd sing it :D ). For a guy who is 5-6 inches shorter than the likes of Courtois and De Gea, he certainly makes the most of his attributes. As our resident GK expert GiE has observed, it is Ospina’s calmness and the timing of when to come out for the ball that make him a better keeper than Szczesny at this particular time.

I have heard us being seriously linked to Petr Cech recently as he has been consigned to the bench by the emergence of Courtois. Now Cech is a good keeper and a very decent man – but is he a better keeper than Ospina? Moreover, we are second in the table to Chelsea, why would we want to enlist their second choice keeper if we aspire to be better than them? It makes no sense.

What also makes no sense to me is why we didn’t go for Lloris a couple of years ago. I can only assume Arsene had hoped that Szczesny would iron out some of the rough edges to his game.

So the question I ask is, who would you like to see between the posts for Arsenal next season?


Goodbye Wojciech Szczesny

January 29, 2015

Many regular readers of this blog will know that I have never been a great fan of my compatriot Wojciech Szczesny. There were many reasons for my disapproval of him, but most were based on the knowledge of his father’s career – average keeper, arrogant and mouthy. From the start Wojciech reminded me of his Dad. But I am a fair person and decided to give him a chance and it seemed he rewarded me for that. Since replacing Fabianski in goal, he has grown from strength to strength and most fellow Gunners were delighted with his performances.


Exactly 4 years ago he became our new No 1. Since then we have witnessed a true rollercoaster of a career, culminating in his disastrous performance against Southampton earlier this month. Rumours followed that Wenger had dropped him there and then as our first choice keeper and that was confirmed by Ospina’s appearance in the next few fixtures while Szczesny returned in the FA Cup. As we know Wenger always plays number 2 keeper in FA games. Do we have a permanent new No 1 or will Szczesny return to reclaim his place? And most importantly – do we want him to return?

The media and the fans have  varied views on Szczesny’s career. It has almost become a norm that after a few good games he fails completely – stupid mistakes, lack of concentration, wrong decision or  even a red card. Other players cannot possibly feel safe in front of a goalie with such a poor level of consistency.

Some claim that he is suffering from the same virus that made van Persie and Cesc move to clubs where they have better chances to achieve full potential and win trophies (more money). Others argue that Wojtek is an average keeper and will never be world class. He still makes the same errors as he did 4 years ago and his personality will always get in the way of true progress.

Psychological profiling is nowadays a part of the modern selection process for all top professionals, including footballers and I am sure that Szczesny must have been assessed too. I therefore wonder if his temperament has been ignored or deemed as no issue. Or did Szczesny became nervous after joining the Arsenal? By the same token we can discuss our previous number one, Lukasz Fabianski nicknamed ‘Flappy Hands Fabianski’. Lukasz seldom appeared cool, calm and collected while at the Emirates. Yet he seems to be doing well at Swansea.

Szczesny’s last EPL appearance was a complete disaster. His performance was below par and he cost us valuable 3 points. His body language after the game and failure to even look at the defenders were a sure sign that he knew he let us down. To calm the nerves he had a fag in the changing rooms, right under the nose of Wenger, known to be obsessed with a healthy life style of his employees.  Was it a provocation on WS’s part? Does he want to leave?

The Pole signed a new 5 year long contract in November 2013 making him one of the best paid goalkeepers in the world. Wenger was happy, we were happy and I am sure Szczesny was delighted. But that was more than a year ago, a long time in the short career of a footballer. This time last year Szczesny’s stats were better than De Gea’s, but this certainly is not the case this season. Even Fabianski and Vito Mannone seem to be outperforming Wojciech.

I don’t think I need to say anymore on the subject. I think that Szczesny should leave, don’t you?

Written by Eddie

Redemption Song

January 11, 2015

6/12/14. The Potteries: The first half on the slime covered fields of Middle Earth was embarrassing. Three down to base level tactics, which must have been discussed endlessly during the week prior to the game, the players shamed their fans and their manager. Second half we were by far the better team and had we not been chopped by a homer referee we may well have won.

What infuriates more – their gigantic violent defence or their gigantic violent attack? Crouch should have been sent off for continual use of the elbow, Adams should have been imprisoned for GBH on Alexis. Anthony Taylor (the idiot ref) must be enjoying his new gold Rolex.


Anthony Taylor’s Nice Little Earner

11/1/15. A chance for the team to make reparations to both the fans and the manager.

Let’s start with the man who could be at the centre of the game, the referee, Jonathan Moss. In 17 games this season he has given out (why is a card always brandished?)  58 yellow and 7 red cards including sending off the miscreat Puncheon at The Emirates in August.

Stoke: On an unbeaten run which includes both us and MU. They cannot be under-estimated. But …. they are Orcs and have an odious manager. If the world was a fair and reasonable place, they would both be languishing in the lower regions of the Northern Premier League but it isn’t and Stoke continue to assault all who play them, aided and abetted by The Chief Orc, Sparky Hughes.

I don’t want to write about their players, they are all shitehawks apart from the diamond in the rough, Bojan – what is this superb, gifted player doing in Orc central? From the Nou Camp to the Britannia – the mind boggles and one can only hope he finds redemption come seasons end.

It has been raw weather this weekend which may prevent Stoke from playing hoofball but I doubt it. A couple of weeks ago West Ham sent in almost 60 long balls into our penalty area. That is one every 90 seconds!! Expect much of the same today.

Arsenal: The 7th cavalry are on the horizon as Ozil, Ramsey, Flamini etc return from injury. Walcott has had a run about and Giroud is off the naughty step. We have our first choice back five playing together for the second time this season. It augurs well


Proof Ozil exists

I wouldn’t start Ozil, Ramsey or even Theo; this is a game for fighters and men who are 100% fit. Why risk the returnees?

My team:


Debuchy     BFG     Koscielny    Gibbs

Ox    Flamini    Rosicky    Cazorla

Alexis   Giroud

Not much height or heft but much pace and ingenuity. If Santi and Alexis can continue their wonderful form the Orcs will be bamboozled. With Theo to fly past Bardsley for the final 20 minutes and Ozil to get perhaps 15, we should be set up for the trip  to the Champions next weekend.

Given Szczesny’s excellent judgement of the high ball at WHU he must start today; the aberrations of his Southampton performance should be forgotten and forgiven and  having Ospina on the bench will energise him.

A first league win in 2015 would be a boost especially given the Hapless Hotspurs loss and the disturbing improvement of Liverpool.

The first half at Stoke was our worst performance for many a season, this afternoon the team have a chance for redemption. Let it be so.


written by Big Raddy

Arsenal’s Goalkeeper – Stick, Twist or Bust?

January 7, 2015

Our beloved club has struggled to find a suitable replacement for David Seaman as a GK. Some may argue that Lehmann was that man, but I believe that except for one season, Lehmann was erratic and unreliable and did not offer enough guarantees. We had placed high hopes in Fabianski but they faded quickly. We then placed our faith in the Sczecesny, also know as the Pole in Goal (PiG) and despite some improvements, he still fails to reassure us and this season he has been quite horrific (check link: http://www1.skysports.com/football/news/15118/9634573/premier-league-arsenals-wojciech-szczesny-is-struggling-for-form-but-will-arsene-wenger-wield-the-axe ).

Should we continue with PiG as our Nr. 1 GK for this season or shall we test Ospina who is a fine Colombian international over the next few games? Also, would you consider selling PiG this summer and if so, would you like our club to purchase if Ospina does not offer enough reliability as Nr. 1 GK?

Written by RC78


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