Archive for October 20th, 2009

Almunia is no longer Number 1

Add comment October 20th, 2009

Tonight’s teams are in and Vito Mannone has once again been given the nod over Manuel Almunia, who remains on the substitutes bench.

No longer can Arsene claim that this is due to the world’s worst chest infection: Almunia is clearly not regarded as first-choice, and is being deliberately sidelined by the manager.  In the mean-time, Mannone is probably only keeping the gloves warm until the return of Lukasz Fabianski, who will be fit in the next couple of weeks.

It’s a very odd situation.  However much he struggled in the first few games of the season, Almunia is a more reliable, more experienced, and I would suggest ‘better’ goalkeeper than the rookie Mannone.  By not picking the Spaniard, Arsene is clearly hoping to motivate him, but I worry that it might knock his confidence sufficiently to leave him a shadow of the keeper who has kept goal fairly reliably for the last few seasons.

In Almunia, Fabianski, and Mannone Arsenal now have three goalkeepers, none of whom can make an entirely convincing argument to be first choice.

Selecting Mannone tonight is, in my eyes, a significant gamble.  For the team’s sake, I hope it pays off.

Join me for match coverage on twitter.

Team to face Alkmaar:

Mannone, Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Clichy, Song, Fabregas, Diaby, Eboue, Van Persie, Arshavin

Subs: Almunia, Silvestre, Gibbs, Ramsey, Vela, Wilshere, Merida

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