Thursday, 10 March 2011
Goalkeeper worries, Sometimes Alex Ferguson gets it right
Wojciech Szczesny's injury the other night has put Arsenal in a spot of bother. With Fabianski already out and Vito Mannone injured on loan to Hull we are suddenly very short of numbers. The other goalkeeper involved with a matchday squad this season is young James Shea, currently also on loan, but not really a genuine option for Premier League football. Last season Man City were allowed to make an emergency loan signing of a goalkeeper, outside of the transfer window. With the precedent set, Arsene Wenger confirmed today that he wants to do the same. Wenger has said that he has someone in mind but doesn't want to say who it is. It is obvious that we will not get anybodys first-choice goalkeeper to come to Arsenal, but there is one man out there with unfinished business as far as Arsenal are concerned. Ideally we would be looking for someone with Premier League experience, a winner, and someone who could genuinely challenge Manuel Almunia for his place. With the return to fitness of Gianluigi Buffon there is a goalkeeper currently kicking his heels at Juventus, and he is a man we know well. Thirteen years ago, at about this time of the year, Alex Manninger came in to the Arsenal side to replace the injured David Seaman. When Seaman got fit again he immediately replaced the youngster and a great talent went unfulfilled. For me it was a massive mistake by Wenger. Manninger's performances won Arsenal the Double that season, and he should never have been dropped - however good David Seaman had been he was certainly in decline by 1998 (and somehow he did another five years as Arsenal Number One). I must admit that I don't know what rules govern the emergency loan arrangements. It could be that any loanee has to be from a Club in this country, which would make Manninger ineligible. If it is allowed I would have no qualms with bringing Alex back to Arsenal, and letting him play ahead of Almunia. I thought Manuel was amazing on Tuesday night, but we know his next chronic cock-up is just around the corner - and that is a massive concern as we get to this most crucial phase of the season. Almunia is a good goalkeeper, a fine reserve, but we simply can't rely on him to be consistent.
Alex Ferguson has been roundly chastised by the press for his refusal to speak to them either side of the Liverpool match. He already chooses to ignore the BBC as we know, but his complete press blackout (and refusal to let any of his staff talk on his behalf) was a big step further. Personally I don't have a problem with Manchester United's stance. Why the hell should Alex Ferguson be EXPECTED to come and talk to a bunch of no-mark reporters, who know nothing about football, only to see what he may or may not say land him in trouble with the FA suits? Why should a press reporter, who may be slagging off players/managers in their column on one day, get the chance to question those same people on the next? There have been many times when I have questioned why Arsenal allow certain reporters access to the training ground for press conferences or, worse still, access to the stadium for matches. An example of the sort of person I'm talking about can be seen in today's Sun newspaper. His name is Antony Kastrinakis and you can read his "piece" here. Mr Kastrinakis is able to get away with this sort of crap, but he will still expect free entry for the next home game (and access to the complimentary sandwiches), and to get to question Arsene Wenger after the game. Why should Wenger have to speak to him? The only people that the likes of Arsene Wenger and Alex Ferguson are answerable to are the fans and the shareholders/owners. The press have no right to speak to any of them, and I was certainly impressed by Ferguson taking a stand. I just wish Arsenal would do the same - permanently.
I'll post a preview of the Manchester United FA Cup game tomorrow.