The Goalkeeping Situation

Almunia denying Keane

Almunia in the best moment of his Arsenal career: saving a penalty from Robbie Keane, the Tottenham captain

Arsenal have a history of brilliant keepers. Jens Lehmann, David Seaman, and Bob Wilson are some names that may ring a bell in that catagory. As of 9:00 PM on May 28, 2008 we have four class keepers, with even more the Reserves and Youth Ranks.

Manuel Almunia, Jens Lehmann, Lukasz Fabianski, Vito Mannone are all class players and have the skill and to play for Arsenal regularly. Mannone and Fabianski may still need to get some experience under their belts, but that will come with time.

This season, at the beginning of the year, Jens Lehmann made two vital mistakes against Fulham and Blackburn, and one of those mistakes cost us two points, the other almost costing us all three, if it weren’t for Robin van Persie and Alexander Hleb. After these two mistakes and an elbow injury, Manuel Almunia was given a chance to impress.

After almost leaving in the summer, Almunia impressed indeed, making several very memorable moments along the way. He was immense during the Fall, and he was my Man of the Match against Chelsea, making some seemingly impossible saves, notably on John Obi Mikel’s volley, and Andrei Shevchenko’s laser free kick.

Despite that fact that the team’s form went down during the Winter and Spring, that of Almunia did not. He again was immense in an important game, against AC Milan. He brilliant saved an Andrea Pirlo free kick that looked like it was going to sneak into the bottom corner.

For those of you doubting Almunia, he is not one to be doubted, despite a rough start at Arsenal he has finally proven himself at Arsenal, just as the likes of Flamini, Hleb and Clichy have.

Almunia is a good keeper, and if worthy of starting for Arsenal. He is good enough to be our number 1, and cannot be blamed for any of this season’s disappointments. He was a great keeper for this season and should continue being our #1 keeper until the end of his career, which he intends to end at Arsenal.

After Almunia we have two brilliant options in Fabianski and Mannone. Both are young and great shot stoppers, but the main thing is that they can improve. Both are great prospects and will improve under Wenger. Only one thing is certain about them: it will be hard to decide which will eventually succeed Manuel Almunia.

Our goalkeeping situation is fine, and it is not necessary to add any new goalkeepers, even with Jens Lehmann certainly leaving.

Join the forum and have your say….

24 Responses to The Goalkeeping Situation

  1. skins says:

    We need a new keeper, period

  2. goonery says:

    disagree with all of it. Almunia has played at the level required for someone of his standing at the clu and has been average by premier league standards. One exception is the penalty save against spurs, but apart from that . . . average.

    Fabianski got found out against spurs in the carling cup and is nowhere near ready and have you seen mannone play???? he is not arsenal material currently.

    Jennings, Wilson, Seaman, Lukic, Lehman . . . . None of the current 3 can join this list

  3. alanc says:

    i see hleb says he loves arsenal now and is not looking to leave and that all the quotes are not from him and that he has contract to 2010 ps almunia is not good enough you see there are 3 types of keeper 1-they make mistakes and cost points like robbo at spurs 2-they sve points with saves-cech and 3- just plod on and do neither of the above like almunia we need the second choice

  4. Jimbo says:

    Well Almunia’s career’s gonna be 5 years longer still and i think by that time Fabianski will be better than him.

    I do think Almunia’s a good keeper but sometimes lets in goals he should save like McFadden’s free kick against Birmingham.

    He should be no.1 for at least another year.

  5. Howard says:

    Almunia is not good enough. He’s always beaten with shots near him and his near post.

    He’s very poor with ground shot. Ask Gareth Bale or Drogba. I think you’ve been watching him in tainted glasses or perhaps under some influence, otherwise you wouldn’t compare him with Arsenal greats.

    He lost us some games and couldn’t gain much points for us.

  6. Kos says:

    Almunia is a very good keeper but at Arsenal we are used to having world-class keepers like Wilson, Jennings, Seaman and Lehmann. Almunia rarely makers match winning saves and does not control his area well on crosses.

    We need a better keeper if we want to win the big trophies.

  7. Ralph says:

    Sorry mate but whilst your faith in Almunia is touching, it’s also misplaced.

    He’s a decent keeper, but no more than that. Certainly no where near as good as you are claiming. Yes, he makes most of the saves that he should but he doesn’t step up to make the great saves that win matches. His positioning is suspect and he doesn’t support the defence. Worst of all is his distribution which is absolutely woeful, and incredibly slow. The number of times you see players almost pleading for him to give them the ball while he umms and errs is frightening, and leads to the hopeful punts forward that he resorts to.

    Lest we forget this is the guy who got done at the near post (the ultimate keeper’s crime) to cost us the European Cup in Paris.

    He’s just not good enough for a top side and to put him alongside the likes of Seaman and Lehmann is laughable.

  8. the little mozart says:

    Almunia has improved vastly this season and has had a better campaign than many more illustrious and expensive contemporaries (think Reina and Cech). To sell him or relegate him to 2nd choice would be unfair and not Wenger’s style: he deserves a chance and im sure will be given one next season.
    We have greater squad needs (i.e. a big DM and and dominating CB) and our transfer kitty would be more wisely spent on these areas.
    If Hleb stays i will be thrilled, have always rated him very highly. I wonder what all the “gooners” who have been saying good riddance will say if he does.

  9. CaribKid says:

    Almunia did start out being ordinary and allowed a few questionable goals at the near post and also misjudged a few crosses.

    As the season wore on he became very steady, made some exceptional saves, positioned himself well for crosses and supported the defense admirably when they played a high line.

    Could we get a better GK? Maybe, but he was not the reason for us losing the EPL and we certainly have more obvious deficiencies which need to be addressed.

  10. Gunner4life&beyond says:

    If Hleb stays, I will say, “How long you staying for mate, and why did it take you so long to respond to what was being said?”

    I guess he was in a little village somewhere, enjoying the quiet life, so he’s probably just heard what was being said on his behalf, by his agent.

    Almunia is good, but not Cech or Reina, my gosh! I see no one agrees with you, and I’m shocked if you weren’t expecting that. and if you really meant what you said.

    I think we need a new keeper, Almunia can do ok, but if he’s injured or hits poor form, I don’t want to rely on Fabianski so soon.

  11. GoonerHoff says:

    Im a big admirer of Hleb, he brought a lot of class to our team last season and although there was a lack on end product his assists and contribution for the team throughout the year was fantastic…however, either get him to sign a new deal now or get rid of him, he will just end up being another Fla-Money and leaving for nothing. Tie him into a new deal or take the money and bring in Veloso and Nasri.

    Almunia is a very average keeper, although he performs well from time to time he is not the stable, daunting and commanding figure that Seaman was. If you look at the other big clubs with Van der Sar, Cech, Reina and then even the likes of Carson, James and Kirkland, I would put Almunia below all of these in terms of ability. We need a new keeper, somebody commanding (without being insane – sorry Jens!), bring in Frey!

  12. rig says:


    Almunia’s average AT BEST, Fabianski’s got potential but we haven’t got time to wait.


    p.s I just put a bet on hart to break Shilton’s caps record for England, watch me clean up.

  13. noppen says:

    Excellent, with some support for Almunia. He’s been superb this year, and should not be replaced. Almunia fits perfectly with Arsenals style, as he is very good(if not excellent) at playing the sweeper role. With Gallas and Toure up in the centre of the field Almunia has dealt with opposing long balls countless times. Without faulting a single one this season. Both Reina (he costs Liverpool 3 or 4 goals a season) and VDS are useless in this role and more often than not bring insecurity to the defence. Almunias distribution is also admirable, especially when kickstarting and Arsenal counterattack. There is no way we’re signing a new keeper within the next few seasons.

  14. mhammed says:

    Mate who are you trying to fool, alumina is not a great good or even a bad keeper he is average he makes saves that every keeper should, but is not spectucalor or a keeper that will win you games, he will never convince me as arsenal keeper, if we want to win the league we have to buy a high calibur keeper.

    the think is fabianski is not that good either, so wenger will keep alumina in goal

  15. charlie says:

    ha ha ha ha lol lol, man thank you for making me laugh
    your loving of alumina is rather touching, we should support our players no matter what, but the reality is almunia is not good enough, half the time he looks lost, he is not commanding enough he is an average keeper, and will remain average he is 30 years old and cant get in the spainish team, he was a keeper in some spanish team (celta vigo i think)before they got relegated,
    let me name how many keepers are better than him just in the epl vds, cech reina, freidel, Jaaskelainen,howard,lehmann,cudicini, my left leg, shall i continue shay given,robert green, gorden imagine that neraly every keeper in the league is better than him

  16. El Tel says:

    Its blasphemy to mention Coco the clown in the same breath has the world class keepers we are used to. You conveniently mention the 3 saves he made last season that as a goalkeeper he is expected to do, but you can’t remember the many many mistakes. Brum away, who really made the call to Clichy for him to leave the ball just before the pen that wasn’t. Mancs at home when he went walkabout, the numerous free kicks let in from the edge of our area, Pool, Spuds and Brum all important games. We can spend fortunes on players in other areas but it will all be wasted as long as this clown is in goal. If he didn’t bleach his hair we wouldn’t know he was playing, I can never forgive HIM for us losing the CLF in Paris, shit keeper in a great team.

  17. El Tel says:

    You are spot on Charlie and Noppen should have gone to specsavers with our Spanish waiter. Sweeper my bollocks more like poor positioning to me, that tosser is clueless and makes decent defenders look shit. Senderos got slaughtered for the Pools first goal up there in CL but did his keeper give him a call, fucking doubt it mate, the header was also from edge of the box and he still got nowhere near it.

  18. charlie says:

    Almunia is a good goalkeeper, not great, much like Bob Wilson. Wilson was a solid performer, not great. He hardly featured in the England shirt, even not on the bench. Of course one can argue that England had Banks and later Shilton. Those were the greats during that era. Seaman, Jennings, Lehmann were greats in their respective eras.

  19. Real Fan says:

    You lot are laughable, not Almunia. It’s funny how you show your footballing knowledge when you’re turning round and blamming Almunia for costing us the title and points! If that’s the case – then perhaps you should give up watching football.

    First and foremost, basic rules of defending are not allowing the oppo to get into good positions to shoot. And yet you seem to blame Almunia and not the defence?

    He made very few mistakes – all players make mistakes. The defenders such as Gallas, Kolo and Senderos made many more mistakes than Almunia did. People also seem to forget Lehmans last full season in goal was littered with mistakes too – and yet you’re labelling him as an Arsenal legend? Seaman also was guilty of many mistakes in his last couple of seasons. I’m not saying they weren’t world class but no one mentions the mistakes they make.

    Why oh why do people mention Reina as world class? NOW HE IS A CLOWN! The mistakes he makes, should put him as the grand finale in Billy Smarts Circus!

    Fact is – Almunia had a solid season. We have other areas of the squad to strengthen. Blamming him for the CL final is ridiculous – lets blame Ashley Cole then for letting the attack in down his side, blame Henry for not making it 2-0…. typical 2 faced gooners.

  20. Rudess says:

    Almunia can’t be Arsenal’s number 1 goalkeeper. He’s not good enough and it’s hilarious to read here people call him “Excellent”, “Superb”, etc…

    Almunia lacks in the basics of goalkeeper, timing of aerials, wrong decision making, don’t know to catch balls and prefer to punch them all the time, and don’t give confidence to his defence.

    We can’t blame him, that’s what he worth. He came to Arsenal because Celta Vigo didn’t have enough money to pay for Silvinho so they gave us Almunia as “change”. Almunia in Spain never made an impact, he was just loaned every season from one club to the other and was never a no.1 keeper in any team. Even in Arsenal this season, he should not have played most of the season, because it cost us. Almunia isn’t a goalkeeper that will bring us trophies and of course not a no. 1 goalkeeper for a club like Arsenal whose aspirations are a bit higher than average quality.

    If Wenger won’t wake up, we’ll end another season without trophies. Before the professor buys strikers and attacking midfields he should strengthen the defence and the goalkeeper. We have a unique chance to bring Sebastien Frey, and we should invest money into that position.

  21. Nirgoon says:

    Almunia is a class goalie. Why do you think we conceded the 2nd least amount of goals this season. And anyway who’s gonna replace him. He was 10 times better than Cech this season and he hasn’t been that bad this season which shows that Almunia has been good.
    So think about it!!!

  22. robson says:

    Have to say i think Almunia is a decent goalkeeper. But they are certainly better keepers out there. One mistake that springs to mind was against Liverpool at Anfield in the Champions League Quarter final. For the first goal he tipped a comfortably catchable cross over the bar and from the resulting corner Hyppia scored. I know Senderos is more at fault but Almunia invited the pressure by not catching the ball. These days keepers are too scared to catch it! That’s one thing i liked about Lehmann, he wasnt scared to come and claim the ball and often set up counter attacks. As for Fabianski, well he looks awful from what i’ve seen!

    Re. Hleb. He was/is typical of what is wrong at Arsenal. Lots of talent- no end product- 4 goals last season. I’ll be delighted to see him leave for 15 Million!!!! He simply doesnt compare with Ljungberg and Pires before him. Both notched at least 15 goals a season plus many more assists than Hleb conjures up. Same with Reyes and Wiltord- both considered failures but both contributed regularly on the scoresheet, i believe Wiltord hit 19 one season- not that much of a failure really when you consider what we won when he was here.

  23. Nirgoon says:

    I have to say he isn’t amazing, but he’s good enough to stay with Arsenal. And Fabianski doesn’t look very good from what I’ve seen. He’s alright but he needs to learn the basics of goalkeeping and until he does Almunia should stay in his spot.

  24. Ralph says:

    @ charlie (02:30:27)

    There was a very good reason why Bob Wilson never made the England team.

    He’s Scottish…

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