As the Arsenal Turns: Arsenal’s goal keeper soap opera has 8 more months to run

I don't want to play with goal keepers!

No soap opera would be complete if there weren’t multiple story lines. Arsenal is no different. The main plot is and will be Fab’s role on the team: will he or won’t he? And of course how will other players react. Nasri made his feelings clear: I think he impregnated his shirt after he scored a penalty against the tiny Totts. Yes, you’re a Gunner, we got it. But the most recent subplot to unfold is yet another summer story come to pass: the goal keeper. Unfortunately, this story is more fodder for everything else. Anyway, go grab your notepad, because walking through this plot ain’t easy. Thanks Arsene (sarcasm).

It's not easy being turquoise

Since last year, the audience has been screaming for a new keeper. Less the evil character that fans love to hate, Arsenal’s goal keeper Almunia was more the buffon that people felt brought down the show. Always a stickler for the script though, Arsene resisted the pressure to bring in a new actor. Almunia he hoped, would make it through one more May sweeps. Maybe no daytime Emmy was in store, but no debacle either.

And in reality, the audience knew why. Just a glance at the talent ready to take Almunia’s place would make most teams pee a little. After Almunia, we have Fabianksi (25). Although prone to errors, he’s still young in the world of keepers and has moments of true quality. Then we have Mannone (22). Don Vito is just 22 but has already acquired a cool nickname. After him, Arsene has Szczesny. Often referred to as not just the Club’s but the world’s next top class keeper. Behind him, Arsene has James Shea (19), a stalwart and well respected player, in the Reserves. Then, just when you thought all was finished, Arsene goes and signs the next wunderkind, apparently the future Argentina #1 Emilio Damián Martínez (17), a 6’3” man-child.

Feed me Seymour!

Take a second and review: Arsenal have two young potential super stars (Szczesny and Martínez); two top class stalwarts with long-term potential (Mannone and Shea), one 50/50 starter Fabianski, and the current starter, Almunia, that only plays because he has experience and is over 30.

But it gets better.

Not many people makes this look cool

Unhappy with Almunia, Arsene made a clear move to get yet another keeper. Now he’s poaching from other shows and networks. Everyone knows about Schwarzer (37); but Arsene also went after Marchetti (27) as well. Marchetti went so far as to have a falling out with his club Cagliari. I don’t think he’s played this season as a result. That means Arsene bid for at least two other keepers. Schwarzer made sense, he only had a season or two left; but Marchetti is 10 years Schwarzer’s junior. The guy’s pushing to replace Buffon on the Azzuri. He’s a starter, for years to come.

Dove Arsene!?

Anyone following Arsene these last 8 months could be forgiven for being confused. The plot line is more like Lost in season 4 than a carefully crafted day time epic. At this point, Arsene’s outfoxed Arsene, Alumnia and the rest of the goal keeper stable. He’s playing too many head games. And to be sure, that’s what we’ve got here.

It seems, it’s apparent, I think, perhaps, humor me, that Arsene doesn’t want Almunia, but he pretends to want him to keep the man’s confidence up. In fact, it would seem, it’s apparent, I think, perhaps, humor me, that Arsene doesn’t want Fabianski anymore as well. If he did, Arsenal never would approached Marchetti, now out of a job, to challenge Almunia or Fabianski. Their ages are too close.

As for Mannone, your guess is as good as mine. He seems like a perfectly solid #2. But with Fabianski there, it’ll never happen. Yet only Szczesny seems to be making a fuss about not playing. A competitive attitude that Arsene supports. Huh?

So Almunia wants the love, but doesn’t get it. Fabianski knows he’s on the outs, but thinks Arsene might like him if he tries really really hard. Mannnone just has a crush, but won’t say anything. Szczesny wants Arsene’s attention, to which Arsene pats him on the head. Oh, then we have the new South American star Martinez. Sorry James Shea? Who?

So that brings us back to Le Boss, does he have a plan? Does he know what he’s doing? Normally, I defend the man. Normally, I point out that none of us knows exactly what’s going on in the practice field or the back room offices and in negotiations. But this time, I don’t understand the picture and I don’t think Arsene does either.

Any move for a keeper in the middle of the season, absent being ravaged by injuries, is unlikely. This means Arsenal are stuck with a Almunia, or waiting for Fabianski to push him out, since neither Mannone nor Szczesny have gotten a chance to.

The recent Carling Cup game seemed to indicate Arsene’s inclination. By all rights and purposes, Szczesny or Mannone should have started that game. Playing Fabianski seemed to be a signal that a change was underway. And, after Almunia’s “lets spot WBA two goals and see if you boys can catch up” howlers, it would appear another 2 month chest cold is upon us.

Fingers cross and all that. But it appears we have another plot to our season long soap opera.


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