Wojciech Szczesny admits being dropped last season was exactly the kick up the arse his game needed after letting his standards drop.
The Polish international was usurped in favour of Lukasz Fabianski for five games following a downturn in form and only regained his place after a rib injury ruled out his compatriot.
Having kept four clean sheets in the final six games of last and seen that consistency roll over to this season, the 23-year-old believes he’s found a new level of focus which he hopes will stand him in good stead for the future.
“Looking back now it was a good lesson for me, one that I needed at the time,” Szczesny told press ahead of Tuesday’s game with Borussia Dortmund.
“I definitely have got sharper since then, I have worked harder in training. It worked back then for me and I have carried on doing it.
“I am feeling like I am a bit more consistent at the moment. I am trying to do the same thing all over again and it seems to be getting the best out of me.”
Strangely, despite the fact he and the defence have earned praise for providing the solid foundations on which Arsene Wenger’s side have risen to the top of the Premier League and their Champions League group, clean sheets have been few and far between.
Indeed, in his 13 appearances so far Szczesny has conceded a total of 11 goals denying only Fenerbahce (twice), Spurs and Napoli.
Analysing the figures, the Pole, who in fairness hasn’t been responsible for most of the goals, noted:
“I would have preferred a few more clean sheets, but I am just delighted with the team’s form, how we have been playing and getting the results.”
Szczesny also took the time to praise Polish teammate Robert Lewandowski underlining how much he’s relishing the prospect of facing one of Europe’s top strikers for the second time in three years.
“Certainly Lewandowski is one of the best you can find in Europe so he will be dangerous, but we played against them before [in 2011] and we’ve handled him quite well so I hope we can do that again.
“Me and Robert [Lewandowski] are very good friends, we speak on a daily basis and he’s excited to come here, I’m excited to play against him and it will be a good challenge. We will forget the friendship for now and I’m sure it will be fine after the game.”