It has been a testing time for everybody concerned with Arsenal Football Club this season, but the players made sure that it finished with a bang by beating Newcastle United at St. James' Park yesterday. You could see the elation and relief on the faces of the Gunners and the Gooners who had traveled to see the game, but we really must do better next season.
It is being reported in Portugal today that Arsenal have had a bid of 10 Million Euros rejected for Sporting Lisbon Keeper Rui Patricio. The bid is worth around 8 Million Pounds and was rejected immediately but Sporting have told Arsenal the player will be available if the price is right, apparently.
There have been hundreds of Arsenal transfer rumours linking the Gunners with every available keeper in Europe ever since Arsene Wenger first dropped Wojciech Szczesny for the Champions League game in Munich, with most Arsenal fans expecting Wenger to bring in an older more experienced keeper to keep the Pole on his toes.
A Defence To Rely On? That Doesn't Sound Like Arsenal... by DG
In recent years, Arsenal's defence has become somewhat of a stereotype to beat us with. Since the glory days of Adams, Dixon and co have passed, we have struggled to put together a truly dependable and cohesive back line that could be depended on week in week out.
Now this is a very interesting conundrum for Arsene Wenger as he ponders who to put in the Arsenal goal for next Tuesday's game against Wigan. Wojciech Szczesny was dropped for the Champions League game away at Bayern Munich after some inconsistent performances and was swiftly replaced by Lukasz Fabianski who went on to perform well in five wins in a row (conceding just three goals) before being cruelly injured against Norwich.
So in the end, as our goalkeeping seer Wojciech Szczesny predicted, the Spuds didn't have the quality to overcome a Chelsea side at Stamford Bridge for the first time in 23 years although a few Arsenal hearts must have been beating extra fast when Bale, who had been kept quiet for most of the match, lined up to take that edge-of-the-box free kick deep into injury time.
The Polish keeper Lukasz Fabianski was plunged back into the Arsenal side in the impossible-looking away game at Bayern Munich but managed to come back with a clean sheet and it looked like he had cemented his big chance to replace thev out-of-form Wojciech Szczesny for the rest of the season.
But as usual he got an injury and Wenger had to choice but to reinstate Szczesny in the first team, and he has also seemed to come into some good form when called upon.
All of the Arsenal fans love Wojciech Szczesny and most of us think he has the abilty and potential to be one of the best keepers in the world. Up until a few weeks ago, though, his future at Arsenal looked uncertain after his form tailed off dramatically in a season to forget for the Polish international.
Andre Villas Boas has responded to accusations from Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny that his side lack quality saying the criticism would have more effect if it came from a fan. After the Poland international chose to speak out against Spurs, Villas Boas questioned whether a player was entitled to harbour so much hatred towards his [.
Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny has taunted north London rivals Spurs, claiming they do not have enough quality. The Poland international reckons the Gunners will secure another season of Champions League football by finishing in the top four and he seemed to indicate that they will be joined by Chelsea.
It is an often used adage in the world of football that goalkeepers have to be a little bit crazy, and the Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny can certainly tick that box on his c.v. You have to love him, though, because he often comes out with things that most other players would not dream of saying, whether they think it or not.
This is exactly the kind of headache that Arsene Wenger would like to have in every position as he now has to decide whether to keep Wojciech Szczesny in between the sticks now that his compatriot Lukasz Fabianski is fit enough to be reinstated in the Arsenal starting XI.
In the run up to the QPR game, Wenger said of Fabianski: "He is still unavailable.
I think I would perhaps be enjoying this fourth-place run-in a bit more if Arsenal were a little less in the wanting zone. I'm finding it hard to prefer this new-found gritty football ('unremarkable' as the Independent have it, though they also admired our ruthlessness) over its free-flowing predecessor.
Arsenal may have gone into this game thinking that their north London rivals had dropped points and left the way clear for a top four finish, because the spuds' game kicked off half an hour late. Maddeningly, though, Gareth Bale rescued his average team again with a late winner out of nothing. Whether the Arsenal players knew this or not is unclear, but we started with purpose and got ahead straight away.
Arsene Wenger usually keeps his Arsenal team selection close to his chest, so it was a bit of a surprise yesterday when he issued a statement that clearly intimated that he would be playing the German international striker Lukas Podolski as the centre forward in the absence of Olivier Giroud. The tall French front man has two more games of his three match ban to go before he can return for the final day trip to Newcastle United, so Wenger was asked whether he had confidence that Podolski could fill in successfully.
In the early years of Arsene Wenger's reign at Arsenal, the press liked to make fun of the things on the pitch he "didn't see". Although it became something of a standing joke, I doubt many Arsenal fans really minded that much.
Over the years, however, I suspect those following the Gunners may have become more than a little concerned about Arsene's real blind spot.
The Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny can count himself lucky that he got his starting place back from Lukascz Fabianski. It was only the rib injury to his Polish international team mate that let Szczesny back in. He could have been in the same situation as the Gunners captain Thomas Vermaelen, who has played just once since the derby defeat by Tottenham and that was because Per Mertesacker was suspended.
One of the advantages of training with Robin Van Persie for years is that, faced with a free header from the Dutchman, Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny knew exactly where to put his face. The Poland international received physio treatment after taking the Manchester United striker's bullet header straight to his schnozzle.
Wojciech Szczesny may have the next four games of the Premier League to prove himself once again at Arsenal but, even if he produces four faultless displays, it is still likely that Arsene Wenger will bring in a new keeper in the summer. This season has proved that the Polish international needs to be pushed for his place to keep him on his toes.
The Express has today reported today that Arsenal have opened talks with Barcelona and the appropriate agent over the possibility of Victor Valdes moving to North London with the Gunners this summer.
Arsenal are notably looking for a new keeper with Fabianski likely to leave at the end of the season, as well as Mannone, and so Arsenal have identified a few goalkeeping targets and 31-year-old Valdes is reportedly one of them.
Wojciech Szczesny can probably not believe his luck, while you have to feel sorry for his main rival for the number one shirt at Arsenal. Lukasz Fabianski has cracked a rib, which has put a stop to his run of games in which he was finally shaking off his unfortunate nickname of flappy-handski. After being on the sidelines for so long, Fabianski stepped up brilliantly after Szczesny was dropped for the Bayern Munich match.
The Polish international and Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny has certainly not had a good year and it may be on the verge of getting a whole lot worse. The Gunners have been linked with a number of keepers, including Pepe Reina and Victor Valdes. It was thought that an older experienced keeper would be brought in to challenge Szczesny and provide cover while being a role model for the 22-year old.
The game at the Emirates tonight between Arsenal and Everton could have a massive say in which team will be playing in the Champions League next season. Arsenal are in cracking form, with all four of the Premier League games since the north London derby going our way. Everton are also in good form, though, with three wins and a draw since going out of the FA cup to Wigan.
Arsenal vs Everton preview, predicted line up and score line prediction by KJ
This is going to be arguably the biggest match in our final run in. We are both top 4 contenders and a win for Everton blows everything wide open and makes sure that the race for top 4 is not in our hands.
Arsenal are set to face Everton at the Emirates tomorrow which will surely be one of our most testing games in the end of season run in.
Arsenal are currently in 3rd place, whilst Everton lay in 6th. Everton's league position show that they are not going to be easy and the players will need to be ready to face the tough challenge in what will a yet another nail biting 90 minutes.
Many Arsenal fans wanted Lukasz Fabianski to be sold last summer after his many moans about being left on the bench behind Wojciech Szczesny, but since being given the first team jersey the Gunners have registered five wins in a row and he has rarely put a foot wrong.
Wenger put Szczesny back into the reserves for last weeks 3-2 defeat by Liverpool and it is possible that the Frenchman meant it when he said that Szczesny just needed a rest, but what possible reason could he give if he dropped Fabianski after this fantastic run?
The amount of Arsenal rumours concerning goalkeepers, coupled with Wojciech Szczesny's demotion to the reserves, seems to confirm that the Gunners are definitely looking for a new shotstopper this summer.
Most of these rumours seem to point to either Stoke's Asmir Begovic, Sunderland's Simon Mignolet or QPR's Julio Cesar.
Suddenly Arsenal have gone on a winning streak to make their usual last-minute gasp into the Champions League places (Oh if they had only played like this in the beginning of the season!) and it all began with that sensational 2-0 away win over Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena.
Mikel Arteta thinks that the reason is simply that the Gunners have started talking to each other on the pitch!
There has been many Arsenal rumours this season speculating that Arsene Wenger has been actively searching for a top goalkeeper to give some serious competition for the young Pole Wojciech Szczesny, and this view has been given even more credence since Wenger dropped Szczesny from the Gunners First XI.
There was a lot of talk in the build up to Arsenal's trip to White Hart Lane a month ago that the derby could be a turning point. A win for the Gunners would have halted Spurs' run of form and lifted Arsenal spirits after two poor games against Blackburn and Bayern effectively ended the trophy dreams for another season.
Whatever Arsene Wenger has said and done with the Arsenal players since losing to Tottenham a month ago, it seems to have worked. I just wish he had done it in August. However, three wins on the spin and much better performances have given Gooners the belief back and indicated that another season in the Champions League is not just a distant dream.
There does not seem to be any lingering problems between Arsene Wenger and Wojciech Szczesny. The usual Arsenal number one has not played for the last two games against Bayer Munich and Swansea City because of a dip in form and what Wenger referred to as having problems`mentally`.
An astonishing outburst by the keeper's father followed, in which he slated Wenger and the club, but Szczesny quickly distanced himself from those comments and professed his love for the club and his respect for Wenger.
Wojciech Szczesny has issued a clear and heartfelt apology to Arsenal and the fans following his dad's incredible rant this week. The 22-year old keeper is currently with his Poland team mates for the international break, but he has taken the time to issue a statement distancing himself from the views of his dad Maciej, who was a keeper himself for Poland and is currently working as a coach for Korona Kielce.
The latest rumour in the Arsenal goalkeeper situation by SS
There is an Arsenal transfer rumour that Arsene Wenger could be ready to make a surprise bid for Reading's Alex McCarthy who has earned his first ever call up to the England squad this week. McCarthy would not become the top goalkeeper at the club but would instead be used as emergency cover and loaned out to other clubs with a recall option, similar to the arrangement Fulham have with David Stockdale.
A lot of Arsenal fans have been buoyed by the recent performances of Wojciech Szczesny in the Gunners goal and convinced that Arsene Wenger no longer has to sign a new keeper in the summer transfer market. The Polish international is still only 23-years old and is showing again the talent and potential that made us believe we had a world class player on our hands.
Arsene Wenger has revealed that Lukasz Fabianski has suffered bruising to his ribs and could be doubtful for tonights crucial match against Everton, but he will not decide who plays for Arsenal this evening until the very last minute.
But he has made it clear that whoever takes the pitch will have his complete confidence to get the job done.