Arsene Wenger knows very well that his young goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was at fault in last weeks defeat to Swansea, but he says there is not a perfect goalkeeper in the world and he can’t be judged on just one mistake.
“He knows that,” Wenger said. “But a goalkeeper without any mistakes does not exist. Even great goalkeepers like Pepe Reina can concede a goal like he did against Man City where you would expect him to save. It happens to any goalkeeper. What you try to rate is the overall quality and performance. And I must say up until now we have had a good season with him.
“He is very young remember. So is De Gea at Manchester United, who is very talented as well. These young keepers, 20 or 21, are under a lot of pressure because everything is analysed, every single decision. The game is so quick now that if you make one decision in the fraction of a second, you are caught.”
Szczesny was “caught” eight times the last time he faced Man Utd, but Wenger doesn’t think it affected the young Pole at all! “Wojciech has a high level of resistance to stress,” Wenger said. “In the game at Manchester United, he only conceded goals that you would not even consider a goalkeeper having the chance to save. They were all in the corner. On the day I think Manchester United just had the magic to hit those unbelievable goals. I didn’t think he was at fault for one.
“But games like that can affect you and I believe a goalkeeper becomes vulnerable when he thinks he has let the team down. They go home, analyse it and think ‘what could I do there?’
“However a top-level sportsman always has a good evaluation of his performances – an objective one. When they honestly feel they have nothing at fault, they get over it quickly. In this case, I don’t think there was too much work to do with him.”
He’s a tough cookie, young Szczesny, and it will take more than a little 8 goal reverse to knock his confidence! Let’s hope he has a little more luck today……