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By DJ Dragonfly
What do the following goalkeepers have in common? Edwin Van Der Sar, Petr Cech, Pepe Reina, Iker Casillas, Victor Valdes, Gianluigi Buffon and Julio Cesar? All of these goalkeepers can be classed in the world class bracket. Would you put Almunia in the same category as the aforementioned players? Most people would say no and I would have to agree with them.
In recent times, we have had the likes of Seaman and Lehmann between the sticks and not only have these guys produced match winning saves for us and can be classed in the world class category, they have also managed to pick up trophies along the way and have protected the defence with great authority. I can’t say the same for Almunia.
A goalkeeper in my opinion has to have the following attributes:
- A very good organiser and communicator when it comes to organising defensive set-pieces (e.g. setting up the wall at free-kicks, organising marking at corners etc).
- Excellent kicking ability (able to kick the ball with both feet).
- Excellent handling ability.
- Able to start quick attacks from the back.
- Provide a calming influence to the defence.
- Excellent judgement when it comes to intercepting crosses into the box.
Almunia has improved his game (slightly IMO) since the 2007/08 campaign; however I still think he needs to progress on all of the above elements in order to become a really top drawer goalkeeper for Arsenal, however I can’t see him doing so.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s free-kick in the 2nd leg of the Champions League semi-finals last season is a perfect example of poor organising on Almunia’s behalf when it came to setting up the defensive wall and poor judgement when the ball came into the box. Another example of poor judgement was Pompey’s goal at The Grove when the ball came into the penalty area and Almunia failed to jump for the ball, which allowed Kaboul to head in a soft goal.
Lukasz Fabianski is the current number two behind Almunia. He clearly has a lot of potential, however I don’t think he is ready to be our number one at present and I am not convinced that by him having Almunia as a role model to look up to will improve his game.
In the Premiership alone, I would have the following goalkeepers instead of Almunia:
Van Der Sar
Do you think Almunia is the right person to be in goal for Arsenal FC? I look forward to reading your feedbacks in the comments section.
Mean Lean's Response
Personally I think Almunia has been under par so far this season. His performances do not currently match that of his back four who have looked in very good shape but I do feel that he performed at a good level overall last year. His decision making last season was good for the most part apart from a few mistakes which all the top keepers made.
Ole Gunner made the point that Wenger should bring in a third goalkeeper and I would have to agree. We need someone to push both Almunia and Fabianski as I feel the latter is not quite ready for a long run in the first team right now.
Almunia is a good keeper but will certainly need to improve his performances so far. I suppose finding a keeper good enough to be prepared to sit on the bench is another question.