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