Monday, November 05, 2007

Welcome back Manuel. I've been expecting you.

Oh dear.

Call it blind optimism, but I was almost beginning to believe; and then it happened, the inevitable: Manuel is back. The panic-attacks have resurfaced.

I admit I got carried away. In last week's blog I even admitted I might have got things wrong. Maybe Manuel was the solution to our goalkeeping problems. Who knows, maybe he still is.

Indeed his abilities as a shot-stopper have never really been in doubt; fire in a shot and Manual will probably, and athletically, save it. Moreover, and unlike Jens, pass the ball back to him and he's likely to clear it without giving us any heart-stopping moments of idiocy.

But put pressure on Manuel, pass the ball around the edge of the box, hit it long so it's almost close enough for him to get it - but actually still too far - and the problems begin to arise.

United should not have scored their second goal, and even if Almunia cannot be held completely to blame - where was Ronaldo's marker, after all - Manuel's propensity to panic, to rush off his line and unnecessarily expose his goal, is all too familiar. He did it more than once on Saturday, and he could have cost us more than one goal in an otherwise fine defensive performance.

If it all seems rather familiar, that's probably because it is. Cast your mind back to 2004/5. After a series of costly mistakes, culminating in a series of blunders in Greece during a Champions League match, Jens is dropped. Manuel comes in and, initially, plays well.

But then the big game; then the blunders; then the moments of panic that cost us. Any who recalls the 4-2 drubbing we received at the hands at United at Highbury during that season will remember how culpable Manuel was for most of those goals.

Once recalled Jens was superb, right up until his mistakes at the start of this season. He saved penalties to win us an FA Cup final; and, notwithstanding his red-card in that final, he was absolutely vital to our Champions League run in 2006. And he really wasn't that bad last season.
The question remains therefore: do we persist with a keeper who can't win us big games? And if not, what do we do? Do we recall Jens? Do we throw in young Fabianski? Do we have a goalkeeping crisis on our hands?

Who knows, maybe Manuel will battle back and prove me wrong again. But it seems the negative side of his game is back, and Arsene has to ensure this doesn't cost us. Because to lose out on trophies this year because of a dodgy trophy would be a tragedy.

How many chances does a person get to show they've changed? I suppose we'll soon find out.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

Don't be ridiculous

Anonymous said...

one game...

Anonymous said...

OK. Manuel made an error. In fairness to the guy the defence has been playing well and he is an instrumental part of that defence (organising etc). Mad Jens made 2 in 2 games earlier in the season. I think we are all a bit worried because of his reputation from a few years ago but overall I think he's done well and it would be harsh to drop him. I'm not saying he's the future but he's as good if not better overall than most goalkeepers in the Premiership.

Beardy said...

I've read stacks of comments today about how the second goal was Almunia's fault. Does anyone really believe that if Manuel had stayed on his line that Ronaldo (unchallenged in front of the penalty spot wouldn't have buried Evra's cross anyway?

Trough said...

I agree. Manuel is doing well. It wasnt a clanger. Maybe in hindsight it wasnt the best decision he's ever made but certainly wasnt a clanger.

Anonymous said...

There is no crisis! Jens has been a super saver since Seaman left. If anything we done pretty well to get where we are. also almunia has played well but then what would happen every time we drop our keeper after a few blunders? I think we have a superb squad in terms of goalkeeping and we've still got fabianski who will live by the 1st three letters from his surname.

Anonymous said...

id like to point out that arsenal have conceeded the least amount of goals in all compititons this season. with Jens, Al and Fab in goal. Point Taken. oh and still unbeaten. plus who ever thought we could ever replace seaman???

Anonymous said...

Jens' errors were true mistakes that we've never seen him do before and never will again. Almunia, on the other hand, keeps making the same bad decisions over and over again. Almunia's errors aren't mistakes but bad goal keeping.

If Almunia had stayed on his line then he would have made that save because Clichy was coming over to cover Almunia's far post. A keeper shouldn't just leave his goal unattended and hope for the best. You allow your defenders the chance to do what they do, tackle. A keeper should do what he does, make saves. You can't make saves if you're not in the goal.

Everyone knew this time was coming.

Sue said...

Oh give it a rest I'm fed up with people slagging off Almunia. Lehmann not only cost us a few matches he cost us the Champs League as well.

Anonymous said...

You must be joking, if you think Almunia is capable enough to go through the season, he is not a big game player....... and as for the comment about the Champions league do you really think Lehmann was to blame for the two goals, I am amazed he was not given more stick for the two goals that night!
I agree Lehmann is not upto it.. but neither is Almunia. He's a good goalie, but not a great one.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, Almunia, gets regularly beaten on his near post, I amnn sure he's a lovely bloke, but he's a disaster waiting to happen, we got away with it Saturday, as we have done with him at Tottenham, but one of these games, and it will be a big we will be punished.

Anonymous said...

Sorry do you mean Lehmann was to blame for thos two goals in the Champions league final or did you mean Almunia?

Anonymous said...

Sorry obviously I meant Almunia.

Anonymous said...

Its extraordinary that nobody has pointed out Lehmann's dangerous propensity for rushing out his goal! Does anyone seriously believe Mad Jens would have been rooted to his goalline in that situation!! I guarantee he'd have been in the same place Almunia was. Difference is, he might has conceded a penalty, got sent off to boot, and lost us the game just like he did in the champs league final. Don't forget that was a game between possibly the two best purist football teams on the continent, and he ruined it as spectacle. And ultimately lost it for us. Far from his worst mistake, but more evidence that he's not a man to stay on his line...

Anonymous said...

Almunia had better pray last Saturday's performance is history.
I recall Seaman in the 2003 season
let in a few howlers and I dare say had peter Czech been in goal Arsenal could have retained the title.Retaining the title seems a problem with Arsenal which one red nosed/faced old F.. Scot seems to delight in highlighting.
He would,in my opinion,earn more respect instead of his mind games.
He is nothing but a senile arrogant AH who was once upon a time lord of the manor but finds his empire under serious threat compared to pre 1998.

Anonymous said...

The latest by the s(silly,senile)os fro ot seems to be that Arsenal had better start producing homegrown players. Fifa would do well to restrict the number of bought players to a minimum of three which would affect the sos more.
He would earn the goodwill of more people were he to mouth less otherwise one of these days he could suffer from cardiac seizure causing other especially Arsenal to seize his title.
All good thing must come to an nd. Look at Liverpool. Once upon a time all conquering. The day is not far when the owners of Ot could be over burderned by debt and look and behold another Accrington Stanley who have become history.

Richie said...

As soon as I saw Manuel leaving his line I knew it would result in a goal, he made Evra's mind up for him. I agree with a previous comment that he's ost likely a sound enough bloke and a pretty calm keeper overall, but Cech is the benchmark for a championship winning team. Think of the advantage that Chelsea have in that position alone when we take to the pitch against them. The next best keeper to him at the moment in the UK is Boruc at Celtic. That's the calibre of keeper we need to attract to the club. The back four would feel pretty invincible with him as the last line.

Anonymous said...

Lehmann was right al the time when he said Almunia hadnt won games for us (and Im afraid he never will). I think its vital that Jens is reinstalled soon, he is world class and wins games. Arsene has never to my mind realy defended Jens in public, my opinoion is that he hasnt treated Jens to well in his time at Arsenal. Jens is probably a dificult personality, but he is by far our best goalkeeper

Anonymous said...

Way to over react there mate.

Anonymous said...

So Lehman is past it as long as Almunia doesnt make a mistake. As soon as Almunia does then Lehman should be brought back in. Now i see how it works

Anonymous said...

What most of you seem to miss is that Almunia IS NOT and will NEVER be a world class player or matchwinner. He is a big game bottler and all those saying it was only one match seem to br suffering some kind of collective amnesia. How many times has he been bailed out by defenders, just this season only? I'm afraid I must totally agree with the post, BRING BACK THE MAD JENS!

Anonymous said...

Almunia has the worst decision making of any goalkeeper in recent Arsenal history. Richard Wright and Stuart Taylor were better options. While he can no doubt stop a shot or two, he just isn't good enough for a team supposedly looking to win the league.

He got away with charging out against sp*rs but didn't on saturday. He's a time bomb waiting to go off.

Anonymous said...

Some people do not have a clue about football and the guy who wrote the article is one of them.

Anonymous said...

It was not only one game. He made the same mistake three times against Manu and he made them in other games this season as well, had some weak and shaky performances, conceded soft goals and stupid kreekicks and got his behind saved by the back four numerous times. He just finally got punished for it and will get punished again because the team has improved but Almunia has still the same problems he had in the last couple of years. Bring Lehmann back!

Anonymous said...

Almunia has played a handful (less than a season of games) over several years and has a decent amount of clean sheets to his name. No keeper can be world class if they only play 20 games in 3 years. It was not a terrible mistake and Jens would have done the same thing as would Cech. They have to try and cut the ball out early otherwise they have no chance.

Don said...

The writer does not have any sense . iam not disappoited , he wrote rubbish

Anonymous said...

Slagging Manuel again eh? Do you all honestly believe that if MA had stayed on his line the shot could have been saved. There were 2 MU strikers waiting for the cross which MA tried to block but failed. Why don't you all slag off Walcott for not tracking back. With his defensive capability he should never be our winger. Put him in the center and if he does not score the next 3 games sell him as he is a liability as he cannot score and cannot defend. Use the same measure then on AW for his subsitutions and tactics. It was poor to leave Ade alone.

What about Gallas not spotting Rooneys run in time , should we also drop him. It cost us 2 points.

MA is an easy target for all of you. Lay off and let AW decide.

Anonymous said...

Rubbish rubbish rubbish I am so incensed by this blog and today's writing plse stop calling yourself Gooner anything. I am not longer coming back here. You wrote a bunch of pathetic bang wagon jumping rubbish

Anonymous said...

Some of the comments defending AM are delusional, we would all like him to succeed but the reality is he isn't upto it, his mistakes in the Champs league final (beaten at the near post) are typical of his inabilities as well as decision making on coming out to an on rushing attack, plus he cannot organise a wall properly (not that I'm blaming him for Liverpools goal, but it was another free kick scored against him). It is true that he has kept quite a few clean sheets but the reality is he has not had much to do, usually because the team has defended and attacked well during those games. He's a good keeper but not a great keeper and I genuinely hope I'm wrong but I cannot see us winning the league with him or Lehmman in goal. We need to buy a quality keeper, finding one will be the real problem.

Anonymous said...

almunia is not arsenal grade despite his decent performance in lesser games

* clean sheets more to do with our attacking play working well; when he dashed out before manu' 2nd goal i instinctively felt it's trouble (just a mental reaction) and it shows lack of confidence form many -- if we were playing chelsea and ade were cutting in like evra and cech was coming out i'd feel ade wouldn't be scoring just somehow cech would get a touch on the ball

* yes, if almunia didn't dash out the goal could have been prevented - exactly as mentioned by one post that clichy had to move away from the 2 manu strikers to try in vain to cover the near post, and was it gallas or sagna was very close to get a tackle in on evra so why the heck almunia came out-- lack of judgment (it could improve with time but we can't afford to spend it!) where as fabregas has judgment from early age something just come with intelligence

* notwithstanding blunders several years ago, almunia tends to rush out at wrong time wrong places - many this seasons though he got away with several due to not so quality attackers - but frankly not when we played manu their strikers are good

* almunia let in goals betw legs or at near post(S) like in CL final - if lehman were still on the field both goals could have been avoided - ifyou got hold of a clip showing eto from behind you see how bad almunia's position was with such a large gap begging at the near post and that's exactly where eto sent the ball; ditto the 2nd -- this despite almunia was not the only one to blame of course but if it were lehman or cech we just might have won the CL final that year

* not having a good alternative does not mean we could not criticise almunia - lehman or not, almunia isn't good enough - i feel wenger would be happy to pay 20m for petr cech (assuming his head injury has no issue) if he's for sale - only wenger knows if fabianski is ready and goalkeeper might be the only slot that you could use a new person in Jan without too much impact so long as the person if already well established at a leading league with big game exposure

* still losing too many goals at home though we have played many home games todate

Anonymous said...

I've never read such nonsense - by the way in the CL final they would have scored in the first half had Almunia not made a stunning fingertip save, which seems to get forgotten every time people lay into him for the second half goals

Anonymous said...

For fucks sake the guy is doing well in a winning team. He kept ample clean sheets and is part of the first 11 that has done so well against the top sides.
Half of you are clowns blaming almunia when theo walcott was at fault for not tracking back in the first place!! Which is a scool boy error as we are taught even in ametuers from a wrong age that you have to track your runners - esp if you play in midfield. No-one says anything about theo but almunia gets it!! and technically gallas was at fault for the first goal cause he let rooney in front of him for one split second - even though he recovered and was unfortunate not to make the tackle.

another thing its a team game - if some one makes a mistake upfront then the whole team has to work hard to rectify, same goes for midfield through to defence and keeper. its not a blame game but a team game.

so stop getting on the mans back - who knows with a bit of support and belief from the fans he might well turn out to be what we need.
The manager believes in him and i think he is a better judge than half of you lot

Anonymous said...

The one guarantee with arsenal fans at the moment is everyone is a bloody anoying critic!!!

Arm chair critics at that

Its almost laughable some of yous lot

Anonymous said...

anonymous @ 6:25, you are bang on. Theo should have tracked evra's run rather than just watching him burst into the space behind sagna (rosicky did exactly the same thing at emirates last season when evra crossed for Rooney's goal incidentally!) but no one lambasts them for it. personally i don't think we have a good enough keeper at the club at presen, but you don't change a winning/unbeaten team too much. we now have 3 relatively easy games (with all due respect to Wigan, Reading and Prague) before we play chelsea. Wenger sees more than we do, so i trust him to keep almunia in until at least January, obviously depoending on what happens between now and then.

Anonymous said...

Yep Al made 3 errors. Did any of them cost us goals? - questionable.

At the time I was pissed off with him (and with the other 2 occasions he came racing off the line to no purpose) but, as has been said, when you analyse the play even if he'd "stayed home" the goal was inevitable due to the generally poor covering.

Everything else he did was fine, including a number of tricky back passes (an indication that the defence has confidence in him)that Jens would undoubtedly have served up on a plate to the mancs.

For GB to suggest " Jens was superb, right up until his mistakes at the start of this season" is absurd.

1st game last season against Villa - mistimed run at a corner = 0-1 (and just about the only save he had to make) is "superb? I think not. He cost us at least 5/6 goals through errors and the defence had no confidence in him which cost us more.

2 additional points - 1)I didn't forget my ticket - unlike some people - but did make it home in time to see BBC's "Final Score".

They showed the aftermath where Al was clearly trying to apologise/explain the 2nd goal to Bill who (admittedly on a high from his goal) could be seen to be saying "Forget it". Basically the team do have confidence in him.

2) In the warm up Jens preferred to play keepy uppy with the other subs rather than the standard work out with the 1st choice keeper. Pathetic. Thanks for the good times Jens but in view of your recent behaviour I never want to see you in an Arsenal shirt again.

In closing if someone has a line on the new Cech then let Arsene know now. Otherwise shut the fuck up and get behind Al or Fab.

Clay said...

We can argue all we like all but we know the truth we need a better goalkeeper, one we can win leagues with. To be fair Almunia is a pretty decent keeper but not good enough. He has made many mistakes and the reason why some people tend to forget them is because his defenders have covered up for him. Remember the time he rushed out of his goal only for Kolo to cover for him after he fucked up. Almunia is decent nothing else we dnt need to get emotional about it we just have to look at his perfomances. Its same argument pple had some time back about Adebayor. if we want to win something our players need to be more than decent.