Manuel, your time is up

By Avenell Dave

You've got to laugh, haven't you?

Poor old Manuel Almunia admits he's distracted and perturbed by rumours linking Arsenal with a new goalkeeper.

Forgive me for my observation Manuel, but you seem distracted and nervous at the best of times.

No wonder Jens Lehmann felt frustrated watching Almunia take his place a few years ago.

Jens went on to maintain his high standards back in Germany while we have been subjected to the worst goalkeeper since George Wood.

We've seen what Manuel is capable of - against Manchester United away in the Champions League a couple of years ago and then against Barcelona last season.

But we also saw his weaknesses against Barca and rarely does the defence look assured that their keeper will take control and make the right decisions.

Against Liverpool on Sunday, some have argued that he could do nothing about Ngog's goal, others that he should not be beaten at his near post.

Great keepers might have let in a shot of that power, to be honest.

But it's easy to criticise Almunia because, as with his hapless flap in the first half from a routine cross, he puts the fear of God into fans and team mates alike.

I've no doubt Almunia is a really decent bloke and it's a shame that he's been exposed at a club where higher standards are expected.

That he has never even been called up at any level says much of his status in the game and it's fair to say that playing for Arsenal is simply too big a job for him.

He's benefited from having two rookies and the useless Lukasz Fabianski behind him at the club, extending his participation in the first team.

While every Addict and his dog would love to see Shay Given join us, let's face it, Mark Schwarzer is a far more likely option.

Whoever comes in, 'Safe Hands' David Seaman must be scratching his head at the slipping standards in the Arsenal goal.

Seaman played for a number of clubs before making his name at QPR and it's true when Arsene Wenger says goalkeepers get better with age.

But I've heard nothing bad about Wojciech Szczesney and if Iker Casillas and Gianluigi Buffon can make it at big clubs at an early age, why not our own big goalkeeping hope?