Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Wenger backs short-term Szczesny, but can’t assure future

Having decided that Wojciech Szczesny will start Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Reading, Arsene Wenger has understandably backed the quality of his former number 1 keeper.

However, he was unable to give any assurances about the player’s long-term future with rumours that the club are on the lookout for a new goalie this summer.

Speaking at this pre-game press conference yesterday, Wenger admitted it was a ‘bad game’ at Southampton that saw the Pole lose his place and that he’s now suffering because of David Ospina’s form.

“I replaced Wojciech because he had a bad game,” he said. “I still think he is a great goalkeeper and I want him as well to have the opportunity to show that.

““He has trained well, and he’s very focused. As I told you many times it is our job to fight for our places. No matter how difficult it is, it is part of your job.

“I watched PSG against Barcelona and they played their No 2 goalkeeper in the Champions League game. Why? Because you need to give them competition as well.

“Take any goalkeeper at any club, you don’t have many who play absolutely all the games in Europe. They need their moments of breather where they can recharge and focus again.”

But when asked if Szczesny had a long-term future at the club, he said, “At the moment – I hope yes. But, at the moment, it is very difficult to answer that question you know.

“What is important is Saturday.”

Constant rumours about a summer move for Petr Cech might be part of that, and much also depends on Szczesny’s response to losing his place. Will he want to stay and fight, or move on somewhere where he’s assured a starting spot?

Whatever happens then, let’s hope he gets to show in at least two more games this season that he’s still a fine player.

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Gunnanarama

Sounds pretty dubious for Szczesny!

ShzMo

I am liking Arsene’s ruthlessness.

Nacho de Montreal is tasty

Yes, but to put more doubt in a goalkeeper’s mind 24 hours before he starts the second most important game of the season is not very wise. The guy may try to overdo and make errors.

Ndubya5

You might have a point, if Wenger only ever talks to his players through press conferences.

DFS

No…I felt the same way. He has been chosen for the game yet Wenger makes some needlessly vague statements about his future. It would have been just as easy to have said his future with Arsenal is secure regardless of whether he means it or not. The context being the team is in the semi-final and you want everyone feeling secure and appreciated, period. Sorry but this reminds me of the Walcott situation where it was Wenger and the club that stirred issues publicly. Why do this? You weaken the club, the players position and…if there is potential the player… Read more »

Don Cazorleone

You can’t say players must fight for their spot, and then declare their place safe regardless of how they play.

Ramesh

Very strange actually that one bad game has put Szcz in this position. Or there have to be non footballing reasons too. Surprised by Wenger’s words.

CB

He can’t drop someone with a 92 per cent win ratio.

I’m a big Szcz fan so hope he has a great future at Arsenal.

Gus Caesar

He can and he did. It’s not as if he was the only player in the 92% of games he won anyway.

CB

Ospina has a 92% win ratio. I’m sure Wenger has never dropped anyone who has that win ratio!

WengersNoseHair

Surely Lord Bendtner had a higher one?

Benis

111.5% to be precise

Gus Caesar

Ah, I see – sorry, thought you meant WS!

mashkeyboardgetusername

I’d say it isn’t one bad game, there were mistakes and lapses of concentration through a lot of the early season, games without at least one heart-in-mouth moment from chezzers seemed like the exception. We got away with most of them without conceding a goal but he’s hardly looked rock solid even in our clean sheet games.

mashkeyboardgetusername

To be clear, I think he’s got it in him to be a great goalkeeper, and even with the silly moments he’s a very good goalkeeper, I just want him to neaten up that little bit to make the step from one the the other.

Arsenes Banter

I feel that Szczensy is (compared to Ospina) the sort of keeper that, through out a season, can win you points, but also has the capability to lose you points.

Ospina on the other hand is less likely to win you pints through incredible goalkeeping, but also less likely to cost you points through the course of a season.

In very simple summary, I feel Szscensy could be thee better keeper as some of the games last season he saved our metaphorical bacon, and Ospina is the more realise, if not unspectacular choice.

Gus Caesar

If he really did win me pints then i’d be happy Wenger picked him forever! ;O)

Gary

It’s likely that ‘smokegate’ is behind this desicion and that’s absolutely fair enough. If you wish to be stupid enough to break club rules, at least do it at home. It’s equally unacceptable for shows your not devoid of common sense. A decent goalie but I personally feel that he always has a clanger in him, a moment of utter madness, therefore not world class. I would no longer be sad to see him go.

GreekTragedy

Szcz is going to be world class, one o the absolute best. He’s just had a little blip. We’ve got to do everything in our powers to keep him happy and as soon as Ospina’s form dips, get him back in. For me he’s still very much our number 1.

deji

Seriously? as soon as ospina’s form dips? Nice to know where your loyalties lie, szczesny’s agent.

GreekTragedy

If I was Szczeny’s agent I’d probably not be championing him staying at arsenal. I don’t know what it is but I just don’t totally trust Ospina. And if we lose Szczeny and Ospina starts fluffing his lines, we’re going to look rather silly.

Heroldgoon

Szczesny has it in him to put in quality shifts week in out yet no matter how hard he tries to fill you with confidence you just cant help but feel he’s going to have ‘a southampton’ sometime soon. IMO thats what Wenger is worried about thus cannot allow himself to fully bank on Szczesny.

Vítor Vittore Vitya™

This boy had a fantastic opportunity. That will have to be said if he turns out an average playing for a mid-table team in the Balkans. He had the talent. He had the father figure [not his dad], he had great players for colleagues, he was accorded patience at a level that doesn’t suffer fumbling keepers. He had it all. And poked in all away in a single game. And smoked any lingering vestiges in a puff at the washrooms.

Achira

So in the future if I say “he stood there like a Pole” it won’t be funny?

Rosicky's Boot

It’s weird how I keep thinking of Szczesny as this promising young keeper with a great future ahead of him and Ospina as an older, more experienced guy who just might still have a couple of good years left in him. I just checked and David is just a year and a half older than Wojciech! I don’t know if it’s their looks or the way they play but to me Ospina seems way more mature, way more composed and just all round better goalkeeper atm than Szcz. Still, somehow I can’t shake the feeling that Szczesny will be world… Read more »

Gus Caesar

The key words you use there are “some day”. I think he will but keepers don’t normally come into their prime until their 30s. I just don’t think we can wait that long for him to mature and improve, we need a world class keeper now.

Rosicky's Boot

But if Ospina will be getting better every day, won’t he be the solution? I think he’s pretty great already.

Did he just peak early or is everybody still worried about his height?

Dick Swiveller

Not really. Hart wasn’t much cop last season, and they won the league so we can wait a little longer for our Golden Glove winner to reach Buffon level, it’s just whether he can sort out his mentality or not.

assistantref

Ospina is the best goalkeeper in the PL this season statwise.

You can say that the stats are wrong and it’s just a fluke and that may prove to be the case but for now he’s the best keeper in the league. Seems pretty stupid to replace the best keeper in the league currently because you think he might not actually be.

Dave Gooner

There is a bit of a gulf when it comes to maturity though. Being the Arsenal goalkeeper is a man’s job, and I would take Ospina 10 times out of every 10 over Chez, much and all as I like the guy.

Hulk

All very strange. It must be down to his attitude behind the scenes. His Dad seems to get less press these days so that is a positive. Hope he gets back as he still has the potential and skill set to be one of the best for years to come. With a settled defense in front of him it could all be different.

Matin

Szczesny has to show he is committed in reclaiming his spot back this Saturday. Still think he can make it with us because of his potential, but cutting out his perceived arrogance would be a good start.

Gus Caesar

Spot on. The easy option would be to sulk and find a new club. If he’s ever going to make it at a top club he needs to accept that there’s less room for error and fiercer competition. The best players are up to a challenge. However, I actually think that Wenger might now make the decision to get rid of him in the summer. It’ll be a shame because he has such promise but if there’s a better keeper out there available then we should absolutely get him in.

Arsenal's Legend

well the new Wenger is ruthless.

Gus Caesar

I think he’s always been ruthless. He’s not been afraid to drop keepers before when they’ve not performed, Szczesny himself can vouch for that from 2013 as can pretty much every keeper since Seaman.

Hedgehog

As much as I think Petr Chech is one of the absolute best in the world, he is now 32. I’m pretty sure Wenger won’t allow Szcz too leave to be replaced by someone of that age. Thoughts?

MTZ

Pretty much. Wenger isn’t big on replacing mid-20s players with a someone in their 30s. Why bring in a stopgap? A stopgap for who? We could have used one between Almunia and Szczesney, but who would we be buying a few years for now?

Gus Caesar

Look at the age of Lehmann when Wenger brought him in. GK is like no other position in terms of age.

Gus Caesar

But keepers don’t normally come into their prime until their 30s, At 32 Cech could have a further 5-6 years ahead of him at the very top.

Left

32 is OK for a keeper. He can play at top level until 36 or 37. Look at Van Der Sar or Lehmann. Czech is a signing that could make us champions.

Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding

Mourinho will never sell to a rival. Especially one he has utter contempt for. We are going to have to look elsewhere. With that diagnostics tool that unearthed Gabriel Paulista I think we might have a good chance of landing someone better than Cech. One that doesn’t wear a rugby second row forward’s helmet moreover.

It wouldn’t be the first time Mourinho has sold a player to Wenger.

Dick Swiveller

However he wasn’t willing to even give us No Knees Ba, so he might be a little reticent to give us anything even approaching a good player, which Cech, for all his faults in the last few years, actually is.

assistantref

Ospina has been a better keeper this season than Courtois, the guy who is benching Cech. It would take a special kind of “genius” to replace the best keeper in the league with someone who isn’t even a starter.

Rozza the samourai

I have respect for Petr Cech but are we ambitious enough if we collect players that Mourinho do not want anymore ? Plus, there is an issue of pride there. I hated when Wenger signed Sylvestre after Ferguson found him below Man U level. I am not trying to lump Cech with Syslvestre but I am not comfortable with Arsenal recruiting players that are no more good for their teams unless the team is Real or Barcelona.

Gus Caesar

I don’t think that Cech is no longer good enough for Chelsea, it’s just that they have two excellent keepers and they can’t play them both or keep hold of them both forever. And in the same way that Chelsea, Man Utd and City weren’t bothered about taking players off of us, I don’t see why we should be bothered about buying their players provided of course that they’re going to improve our squad. Sylvestre was an issue because he was cr*p; Cech is certainly not and is arguably an improvement on what we have already. Don’t see the problem… Read more »

Gus Caesar

Two observations: 1. People forget the murmerings about Szczesny after he and Vermaelen were dropped for the Munich game in 2013. There was talk that Mertesacker & co. didn’t feel confident or comfortable with Szczesny behind them and that he was an unsettling presence. I think WS is a very good keeper with the potential to get even better, but communication and a good understanding with the back 4 are vital for all keepers and i’m not sure us fans know enough about that particular area of performance. I wonder whether this is more the reason why Ospina was given… Read more »

Si in Galway

re #1: I wonder how true that still is though. Obviously unless something slips out again we’ll not know, but last season’s golden gloves winner doesn’t tell the same story as a year before – he clearly stepped up that season. Seems that, as others have said, the reason Ospina was given a chance is a. That’s the point of having 2 good keepers b. Sz had a shit game c. Sz had had a number of unconvincing games beforehand d. Smoking in the showers And the reason Sz hasn’t come back, simply: a. you can’t drop someone on a… Read more »

Gus Caesar

Who knows on the communication thing? I’m only going on what little we know but the Southampton game was a good example of appalling communication between the GK and defenders. The golden gloves thing means s*d all really because it only reflects the number of clean sheets whilst Szczesny was in goal, not necessarily how good he was individually. And that was last year anyway. Cech has been winning such honours for years and knows what it takes to win league titles. I like Szczesny and would love to see him bounce back better, but there are big doubts about… Read more »

Dick Swiveller

I agree, it has the sound of something that people thought about on forums and all of a sudden it’s a fact without any actual evidence, the Internet is good at that so I wouldn’t give it any credence.

Point 2 is spot on though, if we can get a keepr that is an upgrade we should do it, I’m not convinced Cech is but if LLoris is sick of the Dark Side…

gooner1886

We won’t buy cech, just not gonna happen and really we should be thinking better than that… He’s no long term solution.

Gus Caesar

I would say Cech could be at his best for 5-6 years yet and that’s very long term in football.

tommy

Ospina is a better keeper. At 0-0 and one up, he often makes a save that Chesney would not.

How many times are we left cursing our dominance and the opposition score from their first shot in target? Ospina is rarely conceding these types of goals.

Donjo Mac

Why all these lazy sweeping statements. First shot or not, I’m all ears as to which of this ‘plethora of goals’ you think Schz could/should have kept out.

Sean

Can Szczesny really be solely to blame for those occurrences in the first half of the season? There was the odd wild run out of course but he’s not the only player in our final third when an opponent breaks on the counter-attack.

It’s easy to place the blame on the last man but our defensive shortcomings were apparent so I don’t think Wojciech deserves to be singled out.

Having said that, we currently have our most consistent keeper between the sticks at the moment and that’s the most important thing.

deji

spot on!. He is often in a hurry to release the ball even when there’s no need for it. This usually puts defenders under unnecessary pressure. Ospina just seems so much more mature and better at game management

Rozza the samourai

Ospina is benefiting from a solid defence. He was rarely exposed. Szczesny was exposed many times in each game.

Donjo Mac

I really don’t get this Schz being unreliable stuff. We really all do have very short memories when it suits us. Last season he was part of a settled defensive unit that kept the most clean sheets. This season he made big saves in almost every game while we played our second choice left back at centre back and our back up centre back at right back ahead of our back up, erm, right back. As bad as things were he was one of the constants and I remember not once, prior to Southampton, seeing a goal go in and… Read more »

Gus Caesar

You’re not wrong, he of course made some fantastic saves last season and had an excellent season last season. But, in the same way that being a striker isn’t only about scoring goals, being a keeper isn’t just about the shots you save and the clean sheets you keep. Communication and a good understanding with your teammates are also vital to a keeper’s performance. For me, the Southampton goals were not so significant in terms of what he actually did, but more about the communication within the back 5 which led to complete panic that day. To be fair, Szczesny… Read more »

Henry! Chance!! Goal!!!

Donjo, ask yourself these questions. 1. His he less talented than his peers at similar ages (De Gea, Coutouis, etc)? If your answer is no, then ask yourself. Is he as good as his peers? The answer is clear for all to see. The we need to ask why his talent level doesn’t match the performance. Szceszny is very talented but he is not dedicated to being great. It pains me to compare him to those other keepers and he seem to come short. Until he is dedicated to being great, we just be talking about his potential to be… Read more »

WengersNoseHair

Szczesny loves this club, I’m sure he’ll stay and fight.

And if someone mentions Cech again…I’ll…well I’ll…just stop it ok.

WizardofOzil

I’m surprised nobody has said this, but we should definitely check out that Czech goalkeeper Cech.

WengersNoseHair

Right, that’s it…

Just a random user

Yeah, sign that mofo and sell Szczesny to Dortmund.

Just a random user

Sell Szczesny and buy Cech.

Now that’s ambition.

Triggs

Szczesny for me is at his best when games are quiet for him and he just have to make that one or two important saves. When the sh*t hits the fan however, he buckles under the pressure, like we saw last season against City, Pool, Chelsea. But when the defense was solid, he was solid. Ospina on the other hand is used to being extremely busy in goal coming from a team that just averted relegation. He did not play all their games due to fitness/injury, but he only conceded 0.89 goals per game on average and was imo the… Read more »

Dick Swiveller

Ospina has looked great, and it’s nice to have a solid pair of ahnds to come in but can you really use *those* performances last season as evidence of anything other than our ablity to bottle? Sure, Szzcesny was part of the team then but does anyone doubt Santi on the basis of those games? Or Koscielny?

I’d say Szczesny has more of a problem in the games where he needs to concentrate, but in essence you’re entirely right, it’s his attitude rather than anything else.

dick law

Nice insight

Rozza the samourai

Szczesny is like Lehman, imo. Both are full of talent but can make you lose a game occasionally. Courtois made Chealsea lose a game not too long ago.

Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding

Arsene’s equivocal and conditional answer to the question about Szczesny’s future tells me one thing. Once our FA cup campaign is behind us, our number one’s career at Arsenal is over.

Where are the ‘he is under contract at Arsenal and we want to keep our best players’ quotes we are used to hearing?

Ricardo

I have a question. Has anyone considered the fact that the dropping of SZCZESNY may have played a part in the team’s different displays? He was a 1st choice no matter what and when he was dropped, I have a feeling players who felt invincible in the team, lost that and started playing for their lives.

For Arsenal, we need to drop a “1st team player” every 6 months to insure the whole team is playing for their lives.

welshman

A Few months ago my wife installed that timehop thingy that lets you look at old social media posts on your phone. I rarly use it, but the few times i have, and caught my feelings on a game, there was a series of posts i made 2-4 years ago. It was along the lines of “Szczesny is getting away with things that Fabianski/Almunia would have been slaughtered for”. Now, he is still having nightmare moments. Look He is a very good keeper, and i am not going to jump on the “Szczesny is shit” bandwagon. However, Almunia, Fabianski, Manonne,… Read more »

heihaci

Not sure why Mr Blogs is against signing Cech
He would take us to the next level IMO

Canuck Gunner

Ospina has really done nothing wrong and, although you can argue on how much influence Ospina has had, there is no argument that we are playing better and winning games with him in goal. For me, Ospina is our clear #1. I still like Szczesny, but I’m not as confident in him. He needs to work hard and be patient. He’ll get more chances to prove himself in cup games, or if Ospina gets hurt (this is Arsenal after all). Everyone talks about Szczrsny’s potential, but Ospina is not much older. Why doesn’t anyone consider that perhaps Ospina could become… Read more »

Gus Caesar

Good points. To answer your final question, it’s simply because so far he’s been solid but not shown the talent to be world class. Being fair to Szczesny, he was at times outstanding. If Ospina has some storming performances then i’m sure people might think he could be the long-term solution.

alx96

” so far he’s been solid but not shown the talent to be world class”.
It’s just like saying about a striker “so far he has scored decent number of goals, but none of them are spectacular.”

John Doe Gooner

Sir Chez is a good keeper with potential to be one of the very best. Ospina is also a good keeper but not as naturally gifted as the Pole. The reason it seems that Ospina is better and that the rest of the defence prefer him is because he communicates better with them. He speaks spanish and french and is picking up english quite fast.. He is also quite calm and assured though not as commanding and domineering as Sir Chez in the box . Our two keepers may not be as good as Cech is but we can still… Read more »

DuckandChips

Why sign Cech? I’m not understanding the link with him. Yes, he’s a great keeper but the reason he wants to leave Chelsea is because he’s not getting games. We can’t guarantee Cech first team football – why should/would we? Ospina has been great for us. He’s calm and seems serious. I also like the fact he’s humble and focussed on what he’s doing. What’s he done to deserve to be dropped? He’s at a great age too (to get better and cement his place). I like Szcezney and I hope he stays and fights for his place. But from… Read more »

tommy

ospina saves that

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