Monday, 17 September 2012

Shaky Szczesny Out Of Montpellier Clash

Wojciech Szczesny finally recovered from his rib injury to play in goal against Southampton on Saturday. Yet, unfortunately the Polish goalkeeper's return resulted in the first goal conceded for the Gunners this season, breaking the unusual - yet thoroughly enjoyable - defensive statistic that since Steve Bould's arrival at the club we hadn't conceded.

Whilst the goal was undoubtedly going to be conceded sooner or later, Szczesny's all round game seemed a bit nervous, when arguably he should have been full of confidence. Whilst Mannone had been giving him stiff competition for the number one role, with excellent displays at Stoke and Anfield, Szczesny was given an ultimate vote of confidence by Arsene who put him straight into the side on Saturday. Yet the nerves, or perhaps just lack of match sharpness, were clearly witnessed with his error for Fox's goal plus some awkward distribution.

Arsene said after the match that: "Maybe he put himself a little bit under pressure because he knows Mannone played well at Stoke and at Liverpool. I think he played better in the second half."

"You cannot change a goalkeeper every time he makes a simple mistake, because then you have three bad keepers. The confidence is needed."

Wenger is certainly right and what Szczesny needs is a proper run in the side to get his full confidence back, which is probably still slightly dented after his red card in the European Championships which arguably led to Poland being knocked out of the competition.

However the 6ft 5in keeper has been ruled out of Tuesdays clash with the French champions, with an ankle injury. It remains to be seen whether he will be fit for Sunday, and the Gunners first proper test of the season away at Manchester City, yet it certainly gives Mannone a chance to make a claim to be number one.

In other news, Giroud is not certain to start against his former side despite barely featuring against Southampton at the weekend. The French international has made a less than emphatic start to his Arsenal career so far, and is yet to score for the club, leading Arsene to question whether to start the £12 million striker. The Arsenal manager said: "What I will do on Tuesday, I honestly don't know, I felt that he is under much pressure at the moment and sometimes to get a little breather is good,"

Giroud has not had a bad start though, with some good movement and impressive attacking displays against Stoke and Liverpool - the two matches he's started, He is just not in great form, as shown by his performance for France last week too. The 25 year old is hoping to open his Arsenal goalscoring account against his former club, saying: "I hope to receive a good reception from the Montpellier fans, because I finished the top goal scorer there last season and worked hard for the title, I think the reaction will be good, but there may be some people who will boo maybe. It is always like this."

With Gervinho impressing in a striker role against Southampton, and Podolski starting to find some goalscoring form, there is definitely stern competition for Giroud.

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