Aquilani v Mannone v Almunia – Wenger’s conundrum

AlmuniaFootball FanCast guest columnist Lee Ashcroft looks at the goalkeeping dilemma facing Arsene Wenger.

They say a top-class goalkeeper can be worth anything up to 15pts extra a season; however finding one is a difficult proposition. Where over the years Arsenal have been blessed with the likes of Jennings, Lukic, Seaman and Lehmann in the past 25yrs, the goalkeeping area has become something of a grey area in the team and one that causes concern. I don’t know the last time I sat comfortably at the Emirates when a cross or set-piece is whipped in, as the lack of a commanding goalkeeper always seems to leave an air of uncertainty among the players.

While the order of keepers when fit is Almunia, then Fabianski and Mannone, I personally find it difficult to choose who I’d prefer given that all have displayed the odd moments of brilliance, only to be coupled by the occasional howlers. It is their lack of consistency that leaves me undecided, and why it may be unfair to judge Mannone so soon, given that he has only just made a step up to the first team, his two seniors don’t inspire me with any great confidence, or have shown enough to suggest that they are the right men to be between the sticks.

So the big dilemma facing Arsene Wenger is who he chooses out of the three going forward. If Fabianski is the keeper that Wenger has high hopes for then shouldn’t he be given a run in the first team to prove his apparent worth? Are we better off with the more experienced Almunia, despite being prone to errors, or should he put faith in Vito Mannone?

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