At first glance Arsenal’s goalkeeping situation seems rather straightforward, with Petr Cech well established as first-choice, while David Ospina, his deputy, will seemingly get playing time in the Europa League.
Beyond that, however, questions remain. It is over two weeks since Emiliano Martinez joined Getafe on loan and there haven’t been any murmurings that Arsenal are looking to bring in a new third-choice goalkeeper, indicating that Arsene Wenger would be happy to let one of the club’s young prospects assume that position.
Matt Macey, who has been named on the bench for the first-team on several occasions and impressed while on loan in League Two with Luton Town last season, would seem the natural choice to be promoted but there is an important point that needs to be taken into consideration.
At the age of 22, Macey is no longer classed as a youth player, meaning he would have to take up a senior squad spot for Arsenal if he was to be eligible for involvement in both the Premier League and the Europa League.
Given that Arsenal already have a large amount of players in contention for inclusion in their 25-man squad for both competitions, there may not be sufficient space to draft in Macey.
That means Ryan Huddart, who is 20 years old and therefore still seen as a youth player, could be given an opportunity to step up.
Huddart was named in the starting line-up as Arsenal U23s started their season with a 3-2 victory over Derby County on Monday night, whilst Macey wasn’t even included in the squad.
Although he conceded twice, Huddart emerged with credit after making a fine double save that helped Arsenal to prevail. The youngster, who had a difficult loan spell at non-league side Eastleigh last season, certainly seems to be making a good impression and now seems to be in pole position to earn promotion.
Huddart has long been highly rated by Arsenal and made the bench for two Champions League games against Anderlecht when he was just 17. Now he will hope that further opportunities are, after a lengthy wait, going to come his way.
A tall goalkeeper with excellent reflexes, Huddart has developed well at Arsenal since joining as a schoolboy from Charlton Athletic.
In normal circumstances the third choice goalkeeper won’t be involved much in the squad, if at all, but you never know what may happen. In the 2014/15 season, for instance, Martinez found himself thrown into Premier League action.
Huddart will hope that he is called upon again when Arsenal take on Manchester City at U23 level at Emirates Stadium on Monday night. A good performance in that game, in front of a watching Wenger, could well tip the balance in his favour in terms of becoming Arsenal’s new third-choice goalkeeper for this season.