FanCast guest columnist Peter Browne feels it is time
that Almunia started to get the credit he deserves at Arsenal.
You may love him or loathe him, and I know there is
a huge lobby of people that do, but even his harshest of critics will have to
concede that Manuel Almunia has kept our football club in Europe last night.
It was inspirational display, Seaman-esque, and I
hope finally this will be the moment that his doubters start to appreciate his
abilities as a goalkeeper, get behind the guy and stop using him as the
scapegoat for some of our performances. There is a train of thought that our
poor defensive displays and shakiness at the back at times was little down to
the fact Gallas and Toure cannot play together, but they simply have no faith
or confidence with Almunia behind them. It is a view that has manifests itself
in time and brought about the calls to install Fabianski as first choice.
Although injury forced Wenger’s hand in giving Fab his opportunity, his
performances in that fortnight left us all with little doubt who is our undisputed
was excellent,” said Wenger
“It was a
top-class performance from him. His reading of the game was fantastic and his
sharpness was superb.” (PA)
I have to concede that I didn’t hold out much hope
when the draw was made and refuse to buy into Wenger’s optimism about this
being our season or anything like that. Last night I feel it has made us all
change our thinking and a realisation that there is a distinct possibility of
us going on and reaching the Champions League final again. I really believe we
can actually overturn United on Tuesday night and should we end up lining up in
Rome alongside either Barca or Chelsea, then we know this individual
performance from Almunia last night was the defining moment in getting us there.
It is time he was given his dues and the respect his abilities deserve.