Seems things are finally starting to come together for Arsene Wenger and in more ways than one. The Arsenal manager says reserve goalkeeper, Vito Mannone was free to leave the club in the off-season and he was expecting the Italian to do just that before the season started. Luckily for Wenger, Mannone stayed and Arsenal are the better for it.
Mannone was sent on loan to Championship side Hull City last season and, despite impressing at the KC Stadium, Wenger did not appear to see a future at the Emirates for the former Atalanta trainee. But injuries to Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski have opened a door to Mannone into the first team this season. The Arsenal 3rd choice keeper has had an impressive season thus far, leaking just two goals from four games and will hoping to continue his good form when the Gunners take on the Blues in today’s clash.
“He always believed in himself and was ready to show me that but he had no real opportunity to play,” Wenger said. “Szczesny has the number one shirt and it is up to the others to win it. He has not lost it but there is competition now.’
“When I sent Mannone to Hull, I watched him every single game and all the reports I had were very positive. I was quite surprised no club went for him because I would have let him go.”
“The goalies need competition but also confidence. It is a special position where, if you are challenged every time, if you change every time, you cannot be good. If Gianluigi Buffon makes a mistake he knows he will play for Juventus the next game and if Joe Hart makes a mistake he knows he will play for Manchester City the next game.’
“That’s important, but if, over a period of time, their standards drop, and somebody comes in, that’s different.”
I think in all honesty, Szczesny will reclaim his place when he recovers from his injury but it’s fair to say, that Arsenal have been lucky to have such a good replacement in the mean time.