What’s the matter with Wojciech Szczesny?

By Avenell Dave

Three points in the bag and we can look forward to the North London derby after a fine five game unbeaten run in the Premier League.

It doesn’t matter that it wasn’t a vintage performance, it doesn’t matter that we were five minutes away from what would be considered to be a disaster.

What matters is that we got three points, we are maintaining the pressure on those above us and after the Ch*vs defeat on Sunday, we could possibly catch them as well.

Santi Cazorla took the plaudits for a fantastic performance and even beyond his two goals.

We can lament the fact that we made some bad choices offensively – shooting when we should have passed and passing when it was easier to shoot.

That’s what happens when confidence is low. You could see in the way that Olivier Giroud continued to win everything in the air, his hold up play and flicks into the path of team-mates all neat and clever, and yet when he was close to goal, his desire for a goal meant he snatched at chances that could have ended his mini-drought.

It’s amazing to think that we have the joint third-best defence in the Premier League.

We look shaky whenever any side attacks us, a sigh of relief when we clear danger and nerves that someone will drop a clanger that will gift the opposition a goal.

After the farcical era of Manuel Almunia and brief s[ell with Lukasz Fabianski, Wojciech Szczesny seemed to be a breath of fresh air when he first got into the side.

His kicking was indifferent but he was brave, bolshy and had the air of someone who wanted to show the world he was good.

He was excellent against Sunderland a few weeks ago and probably won us the game, as was he at Anfield earlier in the season.

But all too often, he has looked a shadow of his former self, shaky, uncertain and lacking all the traits that got him to be elected Arsenal number one in the first place.

It could be argued that he made a couple of good saves on Saturday, even if on both occasions he parried the ball in an area where it was still of danger rather than away from the area.

His kicking continues to be lamentable and you do have to wonder how much he is practicing it – Manuel Neuer gave him a lesson in kicking when Bayern visited last week.

A couple of times he could have caught the ball when it came over – continuing to put us under pressure when a calm and competent goalkeeper could have taken the sting out of a Villa attack.

Of course, the worst mistake was the goal, which he should have saved with ease all day long.

Yes, someone should have made a challenge on the Villa attacker and the fact that we got caught from our own corner shows how vulnerable we can be.

A Brentford director once told me that Szczesny was the best goalkeeper they had ever had and that he would become world class at Arsenal.

That may well be the case.

Some of my fellow Addicts have suggested that he needs someone with experience and quality to put the pressure on him or even take his place, so he can learn from a better keeper rather than the sorry excuses who have previously had number one status in recent years.

Some are convinced that we’ll buy a new keeper in the summer – Begovic perhaps? We’ll see.

But if Szczesny wants to prove that he rally is a young superstar in the making, he needs to keep calm, keep focused, stop making silly errors and practice his kicking, catching and shot stopping for at least double the shifts he’s currently putting in on the training ground.