Almunia is a goner, not a Gooner - Wenger

By Avenell Dave

We all know the goalkeepers at Arsenal aren't good enough.

We all know that the simple mistakes that both Manuel Almunia and Lukasz Fabianski have made over the last 12 months have cost us games rather than won them for us.

One of the questioners at the AST Q&A with Ivan Gazidis earlier in the week made the point eloquently - top class goalkeepers win you 10-12 points a season and our keepers have cost us as many points as they should have earned.

Gazidis was not going to confirm or deny any transfer strategy or his own opinions on players but perhaps Arsene Wenger has done that for us with his comments yesterday about the areas of the club where we need to improve.

Wenger said: "If you divide the season into two - going forward we have done very well but defensively we have been average. When you concede 40 goals you don't win the championship and I want to rectify that.

"My transfer policy this summer will be to keep our strengths going forward, add one player, and add more defensive strength to our team. The turning point was at Birmingham. We couldn't afford to concede that late goal when we had come back into the title race."

Who was to blame for that late goal?

Well you could point the finger at Theo Walcott who, I seem to recall, tried to attack rather than retain possession as the seconds ticked away.

But in all honesty, Almunia was at fault by palming the ball up and allowing Kevin Phillips to follow up and score. I still can't watch replays of it, it was such as horrible goal to concede.

I've said before that the Gallas/Vermaelen partnership was not the right blend and for those of you who disagree, just look at the games where both played and we got torn apart.

If Gallas wears an Arsenal shirt next season, I'll be surprised, especially after Peter Hill-Wood's comments and there's no doubt a big bruising centre back would be a more suitable partner for the Verminator at the heart of the defence.

Do we need a new defensive midfielder to provide added protection as we had in the days when Manu Petit and Patrick Vieira provided an almost impenetrable wall? Possibly.

But I don't expect Wenger will sign more than two players in addition to Chamakh and in that case, reading between the lines, the goalkeeper has to be one of his priorities.

Wenger never criticises his players in public but is there a more damning rebuke from Le Boss towards a player than saying that our title hopes ended when they (Almunia) made such a basic and glaring mistake?

There are those of you who want us to sign Joe Hart or Gianluigi Buffon but I suspect our new keeper will be someone less expected, whose wages perhaps fit in with the rigid Arsenal structure that Gazidis spoke of as a necessity to ensure the club lives within its means.