Season Assessment: Goalkeeper

Dust has settled, we have silverware, no CL, the manager contract is signed. It is time to look back …

Let us start this series at the back and the men between the sticks.

Prior to the Back 3 experiment our keepers were under pressure as we conceded goal after goal. I will question why when critiquing the defence, but the fact remains that we conceded more goals than any other season of AW’s reign apart from 2011. Were the Keepers at fault?

I have to say No. There were times when mistakes were made but nothing in the Fabianski-mould. Conceding 4 goals from 4 shots vs Liverpool in our opening match may bring the GK into question but they were all unsaveable. Or the 10 vs BM? Again one should look at the men in front of the GK.


Cech:  IMO he had a fine season belying his advancing years. A difficult start to the campaign ended with perhaps his best performances for Arsenal in the run-in.

I love to see the urgency Petr has with the ball in hand; his first thought is to get the team  on the front foot and his distribution is superb.

I am sure he would have been disappointed when missing the FAC Final but Petr must have known about AW’s Cup decision from season’s start and he seemed genuinely delighted at the final whistle (and got another medal for doing nothing).

How long can Cech continue to be excellent? He is 35 and probably has, at best, another season or two in him. Both Seaman and Lehmann were kept for too long. Will AW give more game time to Martinez or sign a top young GK? We shall see.


Ospina: Difficult to criticise despite him picking the ball out of the net on too many occasions . Our Cup GK  and as we won the Cup it must be successful season. We were never going to win the CL though David must have been embarrassed to concede so often. Given the open spaces in our defence this was rarely his fault.

Leaving the club this summer. We must be grateful that such a fine GK chose to ride the pine at AFC since 2014 as this is a man who has been on the Ballon D’Or long-list and played 77 times for Columbia!

His two superb saves in the FA Final will live long in the memory. Thank you David.


Martinez:  Is he good enough to be Cech’s understudy?  I have no idea. 2 PL and 3 League Cup appearances is not enough to judge, but what I have seen is a man who looks comfortable and is well prepared for an exciting future. Emiliano has been at AFC since the age of 17 and at 24 he needs to get more games or leave and develop his career elsewhere.

I expect him to stay, join the first team squad  and get more games next season.

Summing Up. Responsibility for our defensive frailties cannot be laid at the hands & feet of our goalkeepers.

written by Big Raddy

73 Responses to Season Assessment: Goalkeeper

  1. mickydidit89 says:

    Ok Erik, a series, this is an outstanding start to the day.Many thanks.

    As you know, I am a world expert when it comes to the business end of a team, or attack. However, the further back we go through a side, the more my interest wanes and with that my knowledge becomes poorer and poorer.

    Therefore, on strikers I’m superb, attacking midfielders very strong, defensive midfielders the interest fades, defenders exceedingly poor, and goalkeepers fail miserably, no idea whatsoever.

    For example, I still think Szczesny is/was just fine

  2. mickydidit89 says:

    Talking of whom, isn’t he just on loan to Roma?

  3. chas says:

    Excellent stuff, BR.
    I agree that the keepers can’t really be blamed for the vast majority of our goals conceded.
    Cech will be fine for another season.
    I love Ospina just for the chant when he takes a kick.
    Like you I hope Martinez gets more game time. He looks very confident when he does play.

    It sounds like Szcz is off to the Old Lady. He must be ok if they’re planning for him to succeed Buffon. His tweets are always very pro-Arsenal and he despises the spuds, so he can’t be all bad.
    Though it does seem as though he’s burnt his bridges at The Arse.
    Too many fags in the shower.

  4. Rasp says:

    Thanks Raddy, we haven’t had cause to blame the keeper since Almunia … and he was such a nice guy it felt mean to say it … but that Danny Rose goal!!!

    Yes, Cech for another year, Martinez looks like the real deal to me and certainly capable of being a No.2, but let’s not make the pressure of expectation burden him.

    Ospina can leave with his head held high, I really like him. I imagine we will look for a replacement … but for 2nd or 3rd choice… who knows?

  5. GunnerN5 says:

    who knows?

    “Arsene knows”

    🙂 🙂

  6. GunnerN5 says:

    Great idea Raddy, the tacticians among us will have a field day with this as we go through the team.

  7. fred1266 says:

    Such Such shame every time our keeper wins the FA cup they leave

  8. GunnerN5 says:

    Personally I’ve had no issue with our goal tending in the last season but I would be surprised to see all three remain. Cech still has a few seasons left at the top and Matinez has been high quality – so in my mind it seems to leave Ospina as the odd man out.

    If Ospina leaves I would expect AW to (be himself and) bring in a young prospect to understudy fr the future.

  9. GunnerN5 says:

    Club bids farewell to four players

    Yaya Sanogo and academy players Stefan O’Connor, Kristopher da Graca and Kostas Pileas will leave us at the end of their contracts this summer.

    Yaya made 20 competitive appearances for us, including a key role off the bench in 2014 Emirates FA Cup final as we lifted the trophy in his debut season.

    Young defender O’Connor made one senior outing for the club – against Galatasaray in the Champions League in 2014.

    Both Da Graca and Pileas represented our under-23s last season.

    We would like to take this opportunity to thank Yaya, Stefan, Kristopher and Kostas and wish them all the best for the future.
    Benfica (h) – Highlights

    iCopyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source

  10. mickydidit89 says:

    “goal tending” 🙂


    Morning GN5 🙂

  11. GunnerN5 says:

    England win the U20 World Cup
    FT: Venezuela U20 0-1 England U20
    Calvert-Lewin opens scoring (35)
    Penaranda misses penalty (75)

  12. GunnerN5 says:

    Hi Micky, lovely morning here it’s going to be 35c today. But I’m going to be hiding away in the air conditioning and will watch the Mens grand slam tennis final in France at 9;00 am.

    This evening we have the Canadian F1 race and Lewis Hamilton is first on the pole – should be very exciting – enhanced with a few glasses of the best red.

  13. mickydidit89 says:

    35c!!! Are you sure? Only yesterday you were snowed under in -35c

  14. mickydidit89 says:

    Re F1

    Have to say, the modern cars don’t exactly get my nipples hard, if you get my drift.

    Kinda always preferred the sports cars, as in Le Mans style, and even then, up to about mid 70’s latest

  15. GunnerN5 says:

    Micky I feel that F1 is the leading edge in car body, tire and engine design and technology. It’s racing the best against the best and “on the edge” racing.

  16. Big Raddy says:

    I didn’t write about TPIG because I cannot see him returning to AFC. Though I would like him to.

    F1. Like the first few corners then it is a snoozefest

  17. GunnerN5 says:

    It’s hard to disagree Raddy – so I usually have a crossword at hand and glance up when/if it gets exciting.

  18. Aaron says:

    Szcz all day, everyday and Sunday!
    Cech can play cup keeper.
    Roma were just a few points from Juve and beat them 3-1 late in year, and gave me pause about their chance in CL title game.
    Best keeper in Serie and we can get him cheap.

  19. chas says:

    Beware, exceedingly bad language.

  20. chas says:

  21. VP of Oz says:

  22. fred1266 says:

    Our players really doing good in international

  23. chas says:

  24. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Ramsey is full of confidence. It requires bottle to take a penalty like that

  25. Big Raddy says:

    Are 8.35 and 6.54 linked?

  26. mickydidit89 says:

    Morning all

    On the back of the GN5/Erik conversation yesterday, I watched the Grand Prix, and very exciting it was too

    GN5, I don’t doubt the incredible technical side of the F1 cars, my point was simply from my own aesthetic angle, the wind tunnel killed design and there was more diversity

  27. mickydidit89 says:

    ..more diversity before them
    more coffee

  28. Eddie says:

    no time or inclination to blog lately.
    Cech is the best keeper we have had for many seasons, I hope he stays. Ospina is weird, does too many odd random runs for my liking. The young kid looks promising, you are right raddy, let him play more games next season

  29. Eddie says:

    don’t know about you guys, but I don’t think I can listen to the horrid Scottish woman as well as the equally awful northern irish outfit. And that is on top of the boring Mrs May. Corbyn sounds a better proposition, I should have voted Labour

  30. GoonerB says:

    Thanks BR. Cech has still been performing at a world class level this season and if Buffon is anything to go by we may get another couple of seasons out of him at the highest level.

    I find the GK position the hardest to gauge in how it should be approached. Essentially you want a world class keeper and excellent back up behind him.

    The problem is that the number 1 GK is rarely rotated so I think it is difficult to retain excellent back up because those players can be a number 1 somewhere else. I wonder if more than any other position you just need to get a new world class number 1 at the time it is needed, as it is harder to prepare a new world class keeper from within.

    There are hallmarks of the Courtois vs Cech situation in the Szczesny vs Cech situation with us now. Cech will not play second fiddle at this stage to another keeper but similarly Szczesny has now likely progressed to the level where he will not either.

    Szczesny had a lot of world class qualities (when he was playing number 1 for us) as a keeper IMO but needed to iron out some basic errors. If he has done this, is it then the right decision to let a 27 yr old keeper slip out of our hands at the expense of a 35 yr old?

    Tricky one, and I can only assume that AW and his coaches don’t feel Szczesny is of Cech’s quality and never will be. In which case why are Juve (who would have seen him close up a lot last year) so keen?

    For similar reasons I can’t see the likes of Pickford or Butland coming to us unless it is to replace Cech as number 1.

    Ospina leaving I can understand. I am not too sure about Martinez and whether he will be able to step into Cech’s very large shoes eventually. There is a big difference between having decent talent and promise and being a world class keeper.

    Being pragmatic I can only say that I am not overly keen on pinning our hopes on a keeper that has only had very limited 1st team experience at the top level (whether with us or on loan) and feel he would be a big risk to pin our hopes on right now.

    I think we need GIE to talk us through this one.

  31. RC78 says:

    Cech – Excellent start and then a dip in form before regaining a good level BUT not decisive enough to my liking

    Ospina – won the FA Cup so it is a decent season but his outings in the CL were at times poor so I would say “OK season”

    Martinez – too little games to say but did OK I suppose

    Ospina is leaving, Scezesny is leaving so I would suggest getting a strong GK to challenge Cech even in the PL. Forster or Butland could be decent ideas?

  32. GoonerB says:

    As I was saying RC, will the likes of Butland come to us to “push or challenge Cech”?

    I don’t think so. I think at this stage he will hold out for a bigger club than Stoke to come in for him who want him as first choice, not to go somewhere and try and challenge an existing first choice, especially not one of Cech’s quality and reputation.

  33. VP of Oz says:

    Today in Melbourne we’ve just had a public holiday to celebrate the queens birthday even though its not her birthday. I put it down to the aussie “any excuse for a day off”

  34. fred1266 says:

    All Arsenal players scoring on international where was that last season

  35. mickydidit89 says:

    Eddie oh Eddie

    The answer for you is simple, stop voting. It upsets you.

  36. Big Raddy says:

    Fred. They are getting ready for next season.

  37. GoonerB says:

    But with which club Raddy? 🙂

  38. GoonerB says:

    I have been having some thoughts on our team, and some of the different options we could look at to ensure we have a top level title challenging side next season in the 2 scenarios; with Sanchez and without Sanchez.

    A couple of the suggestions are from slightly more left field. Should I just make it a comment at some time or make it a post. That question goes out to you Raddy, as I don’t want to upset the season assessment series you have started.

  39. mickydidit89 says:


    I have a wee suggestion too that could tie in both the Erik Magnum Opus as well as any GB thoughts

    A quick poll first. I’ll set the bastard thing out and peeps vote on which two positions need upgrading. I say two, working on assumption AW will buy three players and one is already in the bag

    This idea assumes a vote can cope with people placing two ticks

    I’d do it now if wanted

  40. GoonerB says:

    I’m thinking that Erik should just get the next installment up Micky….as in pronto… in tonight.

    We need to rattle through all the GK and defence assessments ASAP Micky and get to the proper juicy stuff in quick haste. I know you know what I am talking about Micky.

  41. mickydidit89 says:

    I’m a bloody expert on juicy stuff, GB, it’s my thing

  42. mickydidit89 says:

    Maybe Erik likes some relaxation time between endeavours

    Perhaps my idea of a poll so soon after Eddie’s election disaster will put her off the blog forever, and we cannot have that

  43. Eddie says:

    micky – I didn’t vote.

    there has been a lot of talk about Joe Hart who is without a club now (??maybe, maybe not an answer to aging Cech??) and about Dale Ally. Apparently it was David Platt (another bloody Judas) who convinced Levy that he just had to buy the player .Thanks David.

  44. Big Raddy says:

    WTF Eddie didn’t vote .People fought for centuries to have the right to make decisions about their future.

    Ms Pankhurst would be furious.

  45. Big Raddy says:

    I will get up a post about some of the defence asap but please write as many posts as you wish. It will not hinder or pre-empt my scribblings

  46. chas says:

  47. chas says:

    The original East Stand Highbury from outside

  48. mickydidit89 says:


    Your surf vid at 9:22. Bit nerdy but Peru has the longest surf break in the world. Over a mile long.

  49. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh God Erik, seeing your voting comment to Eddie and mention of Mssss Pankhurst, you’re not actually one of those that really believe women should have the vote are you?

    That is just sooo left wing 🙂

  50. mickydidit89 says:

    Shame France England tonight is a friendly. My goodness France have some exciting players and many many I’d love to see in an Arsenal shirt.

    Talking of expensive French forwards, Martial hasn’t worked out too well. Mmmm

  51. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Micky. Guilty as charged.

    6.46 &.49. Those were the days

  52. mickydidit89 says:


    If the game was a qualifier, I’d say it merited a PM, but even as a friendly it’s definitely worth a sneaky look for transferable assets

    ps I’m beginning to think footballers should be called assets
    Maybe I watch too many CIA’y films

  53. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. Get writing …

  54. mickydidit89 says:


    I’m off in five, but back at 11:30
    Happy to do something then, but prefer a paragraph from RC78
    He knows about these things

  55. Eddie says:

    we need a clock showing how many more hours before the charity shield game ko

    in a meantime I binging on Breaking Bad, almost finished season 3. Very good. I am just uncomfortable feeling sorry for the drug dealers/manufacturers. Surely I should hate them?

  56. Big Raddy says:

    I am struggling with Breaking Bad. Got through 3 episodes and am undecided – all the characters are so unpleasant

  57. mickydidit89 says:


  58. mickydidit89 says:

    I managed four Erik. Couldn’t stand the bloody thing.

  59. mickydidit89 says:

    Guess I missed my own deadline 🙂

    Re tonight’s game:

    Anyway, France England tonight (and on proper telly) in a friendly, and oh garcon, do they have some good footballers.

    Looking through their squad there are quite a few who I reckon would look excellent in an Arsenal shirt, and don’t forget, the list does not include Benzema or Martial.

    Hugo Lloris

    Defenders: Lucas Digne, Christophe Jallet, Presnel Kimpembe , Laurent Koscielny, Benjamin Mendy, Djibril Sidibe , Samuel Umtiti, Raphael Varane, Kurt Zouma

    Midfielders: N’Golo Kante ,Blaise Matuidi, Paul Pogba, Adrien Rabiot, Moussa Sissoko , Corentin Tolisso

    Forwards: Ousmane Dembele , Olivier Giroud , Antoine Griezmann , Alexandre Lacazette , Thomas Lemar , Kylian Mbappe , Dimitri Payet , Florian Thauvin

    Personally, I can’t stand England because of the filth that follow them, so couldn’t care less who wins, but I will watch with my Arsenal eyes glued to the French.

    Guessing we’ll buy three players this summer, and with one excellent looking signing in the bag already, I would be very happy to select two more from that French lot.

  60. mickydidit89 says:

    Mmmm, Rabiot and Mbappe 🙂

  61. Hi gang

    Just found a post from micky in email ………………….. is it time sensitive?

    Breaking Bad …………… you have to stick with it, it’s so engrossing, you end up having empathy for characters you know you should despise because of what they are doing …………… it really is very very good.

  62. France has to be our alternate International team non? Although I do have to follow the USA due to baby spud connections 😦

  63. It’s published …………… We have a New Post ……………….

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