Arsenal goalkeeping woes – the empire continues crumbling

Perhaps it’s just me. Perhaps I’m just seeing things that aren’t there. But after yet another familiar defeat for The Arsenal, things seem to fall under the microscope a little more, as every Arsenal fan becomes more introspective over where the team is failing.

Today it feels like the goalkeeping and after 7amkickoff did his usual ‘By the numbers‘ bit on Arseblog, comments came out from Szczesny about the lack of development whilst he was at Arsenal. 

The downward trend on Cech is probably no surprise given his age and it’s only natural that we should experience a goalkeeper that doesn’t get to the balls that he would have got to ten years ago, so I don’t blame him per say, but it’s more the club and their approach to the goalkeeping situation that feeds yet more worry.

I said on Sunday that it feels like Cech just gets to the balls you expect him too. John Terry famously said that Cech will get you between ten to 15 points a season but whilst that may have been true three years ago, I think it would be a stretch to suggest that now, and Cech looks like a ‘keeper who gets to what you’d expect him to and doesn’t save what you wouldn’t expect him to.

Behind him we have an average ‘keeper in Ospina and an untested and unconvincing number three in Martinez. Wenger’s history is hardly stellar when you think about that position either. He inherited Seaman, Lehman proved to be a good choice for three seasons before he declined – about the same age as Cech is now incidentally enough – Almunia was a car crash, Szczesny was good but ill-disciplined.

And it’s the last one that is most worrying, because him talking about not developing at Arsenal should be the most worrying comment of all. Many Arsenal fans have known that he didn’t get on with Gerry Peyton but it’s become clear that the set up isn’t working for some time, as no goalkeeper at Arsenal ever seems to get better.

Yet we stick with the tired approach that we’ve had for god knows how long, with no change and no desire to change; and I find myself coming back to Wenger and his regime.

We were promised a ‘catalyst for change’ in the summer but what have we seen? Placating tactics to bring in well-regarded names like Jens Lehman in the back room staff. But nobody has properly outlined – that I can see anyway – what his role is. He’s not working with the goalkeepers. He’s occasionally on the bench but usually in the stands next to Boro Primorac. So what is Jen’s being tasked to do?

Obviously I can only speculate, but from what I can see he’s been tasked with being in pictures during training talking to Wenger or players, in some sort of PR role that looks like Arsène is trying different things.

He’s not. He’s going for it again in the same way he always has. He’s had a look at the way everything has structured and thought “nah, it’s everyone else that’s wrong, not me”. He’s decided that any kind of revolution is unnecessary and despite recent years being quite clearly evidence that something isn’t working at the club, he’s decided that he’ll carry on and everything will be right.

Which is why we have a goalkeeping coaching set up which is clearly failing and now we’re even hearing it from people like Szczesny. We can’t even put it down to any kind of bitterness on his part because if you read all of his comments it becomes clear that he has such a fondness for Arsenal. He admits he’s a fan. He’s probably hurting as much as the rest of us that we seem to be slowly disappearing away from the top table of English football.

It’s sad because no real Arsenal fan wants Arsène Wenger to crumble like his regime is doing now, not after what he’s given to the club, but he’s a tired old professor who dare not relinquish power and be challenged. So he surrounds himself with his old generals. People who continuously do what they’ve always done and get what they’ve always got. Except as each year goes by they seem to get a little less than they got last year.

So we continue to lurch towards mediocrity. A laughing point for other fans who put things like “waiting for AFTV” and accompany a Michael Jackson gif of him eating popcorn. If it was happening to another club we’d be doing the same. But it’s not. It’s happening to us and we’re powerless to do anything because of the cancer that is Stan Kroenke and the old man who is Wenger.

I’ve spent the last two days telling you I’m a bit bored with it all. I’m still bored. But the more I read about these types of stories from players like Szczesny, the more my boredom is tinged with sadness, at a once glorious empire in tatters.

Catch you tomorrow.

About the Author:

Gooner born in 1982 from Harlow, Essex, with a love for Arsenal that knows. I’m not an AKb, nor am I an ‘In Arsene we Rust’, but I like to think that I can tip-toe between the two, occasionally veering into both camps.

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