Arsenal interested in Tasci + Introducing Guest Post Tuesdays

Good afternoon Arsenal FC Bloggers.

I’ve picked up a fairly nasty cold over the past couple of days so today’s post is a bit of a sniffly one. It’s also full of guest-posty goodness – something I’ll talk about shortly – but before then I have couple of quick Arsenal-related news stories to get through:

  • Theo Walcott and Kieran Gibbs played in the U21 Euro Championship Final overnight but their English side were absolutely smashed 4-0 by Germany. You can see all the goals here.
  • Apparently we’re showing some interest in 22-year-old Stuttgart central defender Serdar Tasci. Whether the speculation has some legs is debatable, but with Thomas Vermaelen arriving unless one of William Gallas or Kolo Toure leaves there’s probably no need for another defender. A central midfielder on the other hand…

And that is that for news. Now to the good stuff.

Guest Post Tuesdays

As I mentioned earlier, I’m excited to announce that today’s post will feature the first article of what will now be dubbed Guest Post Tuesdays. The idea to let readers have their say via article writing is something that I’ve been wanting to start for some time now, and I’m happy to say that Guest Post Tuesdays will make that a reality.

Each week I will be including an opinion piece from various readers of the blog in order to give you guys more of a say and give myself a bit of a break on what is usually a very slow news day. It’s a win-win.

Basically, if you feel you have something worth saying about Arsenal and the writing skills to back it up, I’d encourage you to send an email to guestposts[at]arsenalfcblog[dot]com (just remove ‘at’ and ‘dot’ and put in the appropriate punctuation) outlining your idea or if you’re really keen, including a completed article. Alternatively, you could get in touch with me via Facebook or Twitter to register your interest.

You’re piece will likely be seen by 3000+ readers which is certainly no kick in the teeth if you’re a budding writer or blogger, or even someone who just likes to feel popular. And let’s face it, we all love to feel popular from time to time.

Today’s guest post comes from John Law, an Arsenal fan and regular reader of the blog from England with a soft spot for Manuel Almunia. It’s a lovely piece and I’d encourage you to let John know what you think in the comments. Enjoy!

* * *

Almunia enjoyed a fine 08/09 seasonManuel Almunia: Arsenal’s forgotten role-model by John Law

If there is one man at Arsenal who does not gain the recognition he deserves it is Manuel Almunia. What this man has achieved when one considers his ability is something fairly unique and phenomenal. Fellow Gooners may well look at his CV and put him alongside goalkeepers at other top clubs such as Buffon and Casillas and think what on earth am I going on about?

Take yourself back to 2004 where he signed as a keeper who had previously been loaned out by Celta Vigo because he was not good enough to make their bench! He arrived at Arsenal and did not play for a while. Once he did play he gifted Man Utd a 1-0 win in the Carling Cup and made an error against Rosenborg in a Champions League match where we were lucky enough to put 5 past them.

Who would have thought that back then we would see the Manuel Almunia that we do today? I know I could not have imagined it and I doubt many other Arsenal fans could have either.

I think the first thing to note has to be the clear improvements he has made as a goalkeeper. When playing as a second choice keeper he obviously didn’t get many games. But in just a handful of games back then than over the course of a season such as the one we have just had. Other essential factors to being a goal-keeper such as his shot stopping and distribution have also seen clear improvements. These are things which can only be achieved through dedication and hard work which is why he finds himself in complete control of the number one jersey at Arsenal.

Something else which he must be commended for is the manner in which he conducts himself both on and off the pitch. When playing second fiddle to Lehmann, never did he speak out of turn. If a journalist asked him on the matter he would be confident about it but never arrogant, malicious or bitter.

Having cemented himself as the 2nd choice keeper he still had to wait until October 2007 to have a real crack at becoming Arsenal’s number 1 between the sticks; having improved throughout each season. It was a chance which he seized with both hands in spite of constant jibing in the press and no doubt at the training ground from mad Jens (who by the way I am also a big fan of but he certainly made life difficult for old Manuel!). Not only did Almunia cement his place as first choice keeper but he is now without doubt one of the senior players in the side who any youngster must surely look up to, even skippering the side on several occasions.

When dealing with the press he is superb and with quotes like this after a 2-0 loss to Porto, one cannot help but feel the man is a genuinely decent human being who knows how lucky he is; something a lot of modern day footballers appear to lack. These comments seemed to echo some of Gallas’ thoughts but were simply put in the right manner:

“I was very frustrated after Porto because no matter what team we put on the pitch, everybody has to give more than they did. I don’t care that we had already qualified for the next phase, it’s a Champions League game. The club gives us everything that we need. Every time we lose, we should feel responsible. The club makes every effort to spend money for us to be comfortable everywhere and we love to win for the club. I hope that everyone realises we need to give more on the pitch to stop us having another poor result against Middlesbrough.”

If only more footballers were like this; gentlemanly, hard working and honest.

Another clear quality of his in my opinion is his dignity. When the chips are down, whether it is individually or the club as a whole he will make his contribution in bouncing back. You can bet your life on that. His only really poor Premier League game this year? Against Spurs of all teams! Yet look at the season he had after that game. When things are going well he remains calm and is one of the few who appears to not get carried away and is only too happy to be gracious towards his team mates.

I could also not write this without mentioning his performance against Manchester United in the 1st leg of that Champions League tie. I realise that we all would like to hear less about this however, it confirmed completely my view of Almunia as one of the Premier League’s best goalkeepers and that he fully deserves his number 1 spot at Arsenal. To keep a side in a tie single handedly against Man Utd at Old Trafford really is some achievement and anyone who saw the interview he gave after would no doubt have seen the dignity of the man again.

What has to be even more impressive this season is the consistency he has shown week in week out. Something which can only be achieved through sheer dilligence, hard work and intensity. It is one thing to gain the number one spot, to maintain it is another.

I am not going to sit here and say Manuel Almunia is one of the most talented keepers we have seen at Arsenal. That, in my opinion is a completely incorrect statement. I will however say that in sport and more to the point, life in general, you can only work with what abilities you are born with and it is down to you to make the best from it. To me Almunia is a prime example of that.

Having fully established himself now at a top four club in the best league in the world, it would be foolish to think that at 32, he is anywhere near done. For someone who probably does not have the ability of certain other keepers we have seen at Arsenal (Seaman, Wilson, Lehman etc), he more than makes up for it in other areas and I think if he has one more season like last, he will have earnt the right to be put alongside keepers such as Reina, Valdes and Dida. Furthermore, he is an absolute credit to Arsenal and football in general.

Hopefully this article has taken a small step forward in helping him obtain all the credit and recognition he deserves.

Manuel, I salute you!

Have your say on John’s guest post or anything Arsenal by leaving a comment.



  1. almunai u are good and wenger plz sell sylvestre and senderos ,rosicky they waste player
    buy melo ,tasci,hangeland,chamakh,

  2. A funny position to be in today for me, I must say. But a welcome one 🙂

    My feeling is that John’s hit the nail on the head. Almunia is an underrated part of our team and it is full credit to his dedication and attitude that he has made it so far at Arsenal. I now rate him as highly as any of the other goalkeepers in the Premiership and always feel safe when I see him between the sticks.

    Well done on your article John. A really nice start to what should be a great addition to the blog.

  3. good post Ive always thought was underrated.

    Wenger might sell adebayor and use the money to purchase benzema for 30m pounds.
    Well done gilberto, melo surely will be coming to the Emirates where coincidentally, his international career kickstarted in the 2-0 win over Italy.

    Wow, the prospect of Benzema, fab, shava and melo makes my excited!

  4. I cast my memory back to the Paris CL final ’06 when I was so disappointed that Almunia let in such soft goals. I couldn’t bring myself to dislike him but his positioning was a shambles and I felt he was not requisite quality and would never be an Arsenal no. 1.

    3 years on I wouldn’t swap the man for any other GK in the premiership. I’m serious. People point to the Bentley goal and the Ronaldo goal in the CL semi-finals. I believe these people are trying to find fault in Almunia and that both strikes were actually absolute crackers. Sometimes you have to concede that players hit unstoppable shots no matter the distance, Manuel was barely at fault.

    It’s no coincidence that his absences last season coincided with us shipping goals. Honestly, would you swap Almunia for Cech? for Reina? They make far more blunders yet Arsenal fans condemn ‘Manuel Faulty’ despite the vast improvement he has made.

    Terrific article John, we need more gooners like you who appreciate the quality players and people at our club.

  5. Very good article John and a very good idea SF. I must admit that initialy I thought Almunia wasn’t good enough for Arsenal but last season has changed my opinion. All goal keepers make mistakes, the good ones just make fewer ones, and I don’t think Almunia makes any mistakes. I am not sure about all this play for England nonsense, I know he is now eligable but I don’t think he should play for England. Any opinions on this?

  6. @ Dally – I wouldn’t like to see Almunia play for England but a couple of my mates would love to see him step out for the World Cup in South Africa.

    Wouldn’t that be something?

  7. Almunia is a great goalkeeper and I dont think anyone can argue about that. But the goals he concedes (Ronaldo FK, Robinho, Bentley) make him seem like an ordinary keeper. His performances against Fenerbahce and Man United however show what a shot stopper he can be and general leader on the pitch. When Manuel is on form, I am not worried but I worry the defence will concede instead of Manuel, hopefully our defence will be stronger meaning Almunia will be stronger which may see Manuel get the recognition he deserves.

  8. Nice one John.
    I must admit, after the 06 CL final, i didnt want to see him between the sticks agian, he was awful. But now the man is one of the best shot stoppers in the EPL, i now only rate van der Sar and Cech higher than him. Who wouldve thought?

  9. Lovely piece, John. Another good season for Almunia will place him firmly in the loving bosom of Arsenal fans I feel. I notice he was voted 3rd in’s Player Of The Season which is damn good for a goalkeeper. But he does need another good season. In fact he may even be standing on the threshold of ‘greatness’. I think there is something of the Bob Wilson about him.

    On another subject – I missed the ‘Polarizers’ debate so just wanted to add my two’pennath. In order of merit (and at the risk of invoking the ire of ‘Denilson’s agent’ Tom14):
    1: Alex Song. Went from zero to hero over the season and is now a player to be respected. If he can gain confidence from that the up-coming season could be huge for him. A keeper.
    2: Johan Djourou. I expect more from this chap – and I’m not getting it. He was okay this season but you can’t really say much more than that. Where’s the aggression? He’s a big man – over 6′ 3″ – but he’s like Frank Bruno – too nice. A substitute.
    3. Denilson.I feel sorry for this guy I really do because he seems like a nice kid but he looks lost and uncomfortable on the pitch. You wouldn’t think he was Brazilian would you? I have never watched an Arsenal game he was in and thought afterwards – ‘Denilson really dictated that match?’ And isn’t that his job? Needs a year out to find himself or find somewhere else.

    PS – For defenders of Denilson I say where are the offers flooding in for him from other clubs? How many opposition fans do you hear saying ‘We need a Denilson?’ ‘Invisible wall?’ I got news for you – the invisible wall isn’t there.

  10. Good post. I think that Almunia deserves to be recognised as one of our best players along side of Sagna. THe only consistent performer, and without a doubt best defender all year. Almunia kept us in the game many of times. Alot of criticism has come about suggesting that he is a good keeper, but not good enough to be part of the top 4. I think he changed that with the last season, and performed as well as both Reina and VDS who themself had a incredible year.

  11. Nice article John. And very good idea Spanish. You’re getting your readers more involved and they’re going to love it. I love the way you have started a community of Arsenal fans; made up of people of all races and genders from anywhere in the world. I don’t think any other bloggers emphasise the community aspect as well as you do; I hope the guest posts prove to be a big success.

    Onto Almunia, I agree that John has it correct. I was majorly put off by Almunia when he had about six games in the team the season after the one in which we were unbeaten. And then in the CL final I have to say I just didn’t have the confidence in him and I don’t think he felt that he belonged on that stage. He went on to concede at his near post. But it was a tough game and we had ten men for most of it.

    Then in 2007-08 he came to the fore. The run in the team was all he needed; even with Jens putting the pressure on Manuel was assertive and came to the rescue many times as John notes in his article; Spurs penalty at home for example. To think that there are still fans doubting him seems strange to me. He has become a number one finally because he now feels like one.

  12. Nice post , Almunia is a world class gk and a blessing to arsenal , come next season wit d new addition to d defence, he will be great. Pls mr wenger you need to add a little steel to d midfied with players like (xabi alonso , melo ,jeleon lescott

  13. @ TDP – Thanks so much, that’s really nice of you to say that. I really love the community on this blog – it’s going to be an exciting 09/10 season, trust me. Lots of little goodies planned.

  14. Just on the guest posts, a couple of people have asked what to submit and how they will be chosen. Essentially it will be like this:

    (1) If you submit an article on something topical and it’s good, I’m going to post it. No questions asked 🙂
    (2) Otherwise, if you have a great idea for an article topic and are confident that you can write it well, email me/Twitter me/Facebook me to let me know.
    (3) Essentially each week it will be first-in, best dressed. I’m not expecting to be overwhelmed with offers but I wouldn’t be surprised if I got one or two each week.
    (4) If no-one submits or contacts me with an idea, I’ll post as usual.
    (5) The best article length is generally around 600 words, although anything from 500-1000 will work. John’s is quite long and you don’t have to go to the same lengths but of course you can if you want!

    Cheers, I hope this clears a few things up.


  16. thanks very much for the feedback guys. I urge you to all get involved in writing for the guest post section. I enjoyed it and i’m sure u guys all would. If theres anything u think I could improve on please let me know. Cheers for your feedback again.

  17. great post john….while i must commend you on ur insight and loyalty to manuel i must say i still have my doubts…the best keepers in my opinion this season were vds,given,swarzher,friedel,reina,james,almunia,cech
    almunia has had his best season ever and changed the fans opinion of him through his loyalty and humility which are to be commended but he simply has not got the presence or ability of a top top keeper…..the qualities as listed by john are in most of those keepers iv mentioned as wel as,i believe,more composure,ability and positional sense.what we saw against man utd was his best and a truly great display…but he hasnt been near to that standard as regular or consistant as lets say shay given who at a lesser club for years performed heroics on an almost daily basis,this can be reflected in his departure resulting in their relegation….also compare his performance in the mauling vs liverpool where he was awarded man of the match after conceding 5 and i think ul find it was better than manuels vs utd
    im not tryin to discredit or belittle almunia,i like the guy and commend him on his professionlism and work ethic but unlike some of our supporters the off season does not wipe clean my painful memories of seasons past and i think we should all get real now as to our weaklinks in comparison to our rivals and make the necessary adjustments…dat is if we are serious about winning trophies

  18. Well Melo aint signing for anyone. Just signed a new deal with Fiorentina (one year extension) and I for one believe that we were never interested in him.

    Denilson is more likely to start there than anyone, and he will prove the doiubters wrong, as long as they watch OTHER teams play, to have some sort of compariosn between players.

  19. I don’t think we will get anyone – and that is not just me being pro-Denilson and Song – I just don’t see the point.

    We will sellA debayor and replace him with Chamakh, and possibly get another attacking midfielder depending on Rosicky’s fitness.

    The onlt DM we would sign is an obvious back up – like a Gilberto figure.

  20. Superb post John!

    Almunia has been patient and never complained and now that he has his place as our number one he remains humble and loyal. I’m so pleased that Almunia has won us all over and I have no problem with him in goals (anymore).

    Also, he is a gentleman and is always happy to sign autographs, often spending the longest time doing so out of all the players, so well done for mentioning his down to earth personality; spot on!

  21. Not really forgotten…
    Ask most forums, a part from Arsenal-Mania, and majority would of given him Man of the Season….

  22. @ Tom14 – Thanks for the info re: Felipe Melo. I have to say I’m a little disappointed after watching so much of him at the Confeds. Ah well.

  23. we will sign benzema for 26.5 million pounds his clause is 30 million but links bewteen the clubs can get the fee down to over 26.5 which arsenal woyuld get back in shirt sales alone with his name on the back surely this year wenger will get us the new french wonderkid/guy and i feel adebayor to milan for 24 million is gd buisness benzema is 10x better and as for almunia he maybe dedicated but he is world class i watched the team train last december on private pitch and hes amazing and the youngster james shea is shocking he wouldnt even get in spurs thats how bad i thought he was!

  24. Well the good things about melo is
    1. we didn’t get drawn into a transfer battle and pay over the odds.
    2. It didn’t drag on like the sharva debacle.
    3. We would of had to wait 6 months for him to get used to the prem.
    4. The last and my favourite is we might end up with cahill or alonso.
    Also sf it was an awesome idea to do a guest post and tdp hit the nail on the head, as this is the only blog I bother with. I’m glad there’s none of this 1st crap plus there are not many haters out there and even rival fans like ronaldo7 (wonder if he’s going to change his name?) are good fun to have on this site. You should be really chuffed with yourself mate and can’t wait for the silly season to be over and start watching games again as my wife wiped all the games off of my iq and I’m getting withdrawls from arsenal.
    Just like to add John’s post was really good and it’s so easy to say why they hate a player but it’s so much harder to praise someone especialy Almunia as he is really good or very average but with Almunia as a no.1 fabianski will learn a lot and maybe be a better keeper when he gets his chance.

  25. SF, honestly? Melo was poor in the Confederations Cup. And Gav, that is just plain stupid.

  26. Well said John,psonally I appreciate Almunia’s work plus his maturity.He is a good keeper

  27. @ butterfingers – Thanks dude. Really appreciate the kind words. I think Ronaldo7 was holding out to become Villa7 but it didn’t really work out for him. He might just turn into Valencia7 now.

  28. Good read John and very fair to Manuel

    For what it is worth I doubt that his lack of respect as a keeper or affection is down to his ability but rather to him being a pretty quiet,undemonstrative kind of guy. You would not know he is there.

    A short course on arm-waving and foaming at the mouth required before his true contribution is recognised 🙂

    ( Might be an idea for Denilson too ? )

  29. Excellent, well written article and superbly on point.

    you have echoed my sentiments exactly, keep it up.

  30. @ SF – really? Nobody I know on ther whole Arsdenal blogosphere (and I get around) thought he played well. maybe he was not played in his best position (having a DM in behind him rather than being the sole DM) but he was poor.

    @ anicoll5 – Denilson does need to foam at the mouth more lol

  31. Almunia is good is only let down by slopy defending of our defenders,hope the arival of Thomas will make him even stronger.

  32. He never comes accross as being as vocal as Lehmann on the pitch, however, I reckon he is still worthy of his place. Now that he has Fabianski to contend with, that too will give him an edge. Yes dear ol crazy horse almunia (one would have to be to dye ones hair that colour) is not a bad 1st choice , lots of other clubs would be glad to have him.

  33. @ SF – Gunnerblog thinks that Xabi Alonso would be a good defensive midfielder for us, so maybe we should not take his opinion that seriously?

    He clearly has not watched him, and if he did watch those matches and compare him to Yaya, he is blind, because he does not look anything like Yaya.

    I cannot comment on his form in the Italian league, he could be fantastic, but in these particular matches, he has been poor.

  34. Completely agree with the Almunia article.

    One of the things which many people fail to note is how good he is in the air. Rarely if ever does Almunia come off his line and not collect the ball from a corner or cross. Last year VDS and Cech both looked utterly lost during many corners whereas Almunia was spot on each time.

  35. @ Tom14 – Good to see you back stirring things up again, this time someone who does not concur with your opinion is “blind”.

    Personally, I wouldn’t say no to Alonso sitting in behind Cesc and I don’t have a white stick. I would have been pretty pleased with Melo too. But neither will come, that’s for sure now.

    At least you’ll be happy.

  36. @ Dan – you may say that you would want Alonso sitting behind Cesc, but you really must not understand what a player has to do to play that role well.

    Because Alonso has never once, in his career, played that role for any length of time.

    He plays in the Cesc position at Pool and for Spain. He has Mascherano or Senna/Albelda doing the work for him. He rarely tackles and he does not sit back and intercept.

    Top top quality player, but you are wrong to consider him a viable option alongside Cesc. Melo, on the other hand, is a player who at least plays the position, he may not be that good at it, but at least he can play it.

    I do not try and stir things up, I just don’t accept dumb opinion.

  37. Cant disagree Almunia still number 1 for arsenal. But some thing need to be sorted out as soon as possible. Our 4 important CDM target are all going.
    1)Melo is now untouchable.
    2)Toure Yaya has also singed for Barca
    3)Came to know that Spud are after Cana as give and take option with Roman P going the other way.
    4) Alonso will go but I can’t see him coming to arsenal.

    What we have left with us is Diaby and Deni,Song. Still I have some doubt about them can they be consistent through out the season. Defense needs to improve for us next season if are to challenge the MANU,Liverpool,Chelsea. T.V was an positive signs for us. But we all know that CDM was the most important position for us to fill in.
    Mean while i was looking around found this MANU transfer target called Douglas Costa just check him out he is fantastic. I think if AW wants to be favorite again among some of the Arsenal fan who are against him he needs to bring player like this

  38. It seems Melo has a buy out clause in his new contract, but if he wanted to leave why sign an extension? May be to put his sell on price up!!!Looking at the new shirt on the your website reminds me that I am annoyed, living in Turkey I pre ordered the new shirt but it will take some time to get here. I had to go home to England last week for a funeral, obviously not planned, went in to JJB and there it was and I could have bought it for 1p less and no p&p. On the plus side I am going to get an arsenal beach ball, an arsenal wallet and an arsenal bag, I can’t wait.

  39. AL, not everybody thinks we need a DM. In fact, if everybody watched all of our games again, trying to be open-minded about the idea of Denilson being quite good, you would maybe realise that he was great last year.

    The Media, who do not watch all of our matches, will say we need a new DM purely because of the whole “We had Vieira” nonsense, and the fact that we concede goals as a direct result of us not having a good enough player in ONE POSITION. As if it was all down to Denilson/Flamini for asuccess/failure.

  40. Nice piece on Almunia. His detractors are simply ignoring how well he has played since being #1. If we had signed him as a “big name” keeper for 20M last year, they’d be touting him as an Arsenal Legend.

  41. @Tom14 me to an fan of deni would also be optimistic that he progress well this season. But my point is what happen when is over burdened we play hope so CL,EPL,FA and even Carling Cup. I was so happy with him all the assists and his positioning through the start of the season. But it all faded at the end of the winter break. Never doubted the talent in him but he be consistent at his age is my big worry. And the other option of song is good and improving but diaby is just what i can’t understand what is he ST,LW,CDM,CM,CAM. I think Diaby is nothing to me

  42. @ Tom14 – If Gerrard and Alonso can play together then why not Cesc and Alonso? Anyway it’s pointless as we will never get Alonso. But our of interest, which positions would you strenghten this summer?

    @ Dally – brilliant post – the joys of living abroad. I had the same thing in Manila.

    Incidentally, I personally can’t see me getting much use out of a beach ball and wallet up in Scotland, where the weather is cold and we don’t like spending money!

  43. @ Dave – Gerrard and Alonso do not play together, Gerrard plays off the main striker. Mascherano plays alongside Alonso and allows him to go forward. Alonso is not a DM.

  44. Don’t alonso and cesc play together in the spanish team? Proberly not as thats why alonso tries to kick the f$#k out of little cesc in epl games and training for the spanish team.
    @ dalley are there many arsenal supporters in turkey? I always thought the turks hated us and leeds after all that trouble years ago in the euro cup and that was another sad blight on world soccer but glad it never carried on.
    @ dalley my old parents are scottish and it is bloody cold but maybe you could always put the beach ball away for when you come over to oz to watch the world cup and catch up with us ozzie gooners for a few beers.

  45. Who is Dave?

    I never said Alonso was a DM. I said he would fit in well behind Fabregas in our midfield. Better than Denilson does (at this stage in his career).

    Besides, Gerrard has only started playing off the striker since Torres joined Liverpool.

  46. We do have to agree one point as per the
    blog that leaving G.Silva was an mistake. Quite rightly
    @SF F.Melo doesn’t excite me much as well. Thank fully he singed an contract with Italian club hopefully we will get an better CDM. If any body has watched the important matches of brazil then they would have said Melo was ordinary. I thought Gilberto was fantastic in the final. Was joining the attack as well defending when required.

  47. @ butterfingers – Thanks mate. I’ll get to Oz one day. Nearly made it last year.

    I don’t know if you know him but David Neitz (used to play Aussie rules football) is my cousin and is keen for me to get over to visit the family. He visited us earlier in the year and I tried to drag him to Newcastle away game!

    But yeah, i’ll keep my beachball wrapped up until then!

  48. Sell Diaby please..he is crap..stick with song..he was the most improved player last season..he deserved the chance to play in the first team more than not trying to say that denilson is not good enough to be in our team..he is one talented lad..he can only get better under AW guidance..GET BENZE AND SELL THE INGRATE ADE!!

    Nice post btw..almunia was really the player of the season for me..he saved arsenal countless times..i wouldnt trade him for any other keeper in the english league..his reflexes are amazing and the same goes for his shot stopping abilities..but i have to admit that i was quite disgusted at AW for not replacing Lehmann with a more reputable i deserved a slap in my face for doubting AW faith in Almunia.

  49. Another commendable job SF! Great article John. You’re absolutely right, I always loved his interview. Calm and thoughtful. One hesitation that I had about him was his luck of command of the 6 yard line. In many ocassions he wouldn’t come out and claim the obvious balls to the frustration of our defenders. But last season he really had shown a marked improvement.

    If you guys notice all the great goal keepers have crazy moments when their team defense was not playing well. Last season I felt our problems had been in central defense and luck of stability in midfield. If we sort that out, Almunia will prove to be as good as some of the goal keepers you are refering to.

  50. @ Dan – Sorry Dan, I even checked to see what your name was :S

    But Alonso would be terrible sitting in behind Fabregas because he literally cannot do it. Watch the USA – Spain match to understand my point, he was well out of his depth there, trying to pass and go forward instead of defending.

    @ AL – mate, please stop with the sillyness. Those comments were made before he signed for us. And why woudl you say “e will play for Barca one day” – the guy is 28, he will not play for Barca because they would not sign him.

  51. Good reading John, and thanx for the loyalty, if only most gooners showed a little more of the same.big up S.F for a pretty nice idea.if Almunia positions himself better esp against long range shots,i believe he will be no. 1 next season(T.V has to play his part though) those giving flak to Diaby,i understand the frustration but bear in mind he has been played out of position most of the games.TH14 once said the stuff diaby does in training is out of this world.if only he follows Viera’s advice and puts sam pace into his game and sam of that into games.sam of us are late 2 blossom and like Bendtner,i feel this guy has something real special to offer….the great Wrighty was playin sunday afternoon football @ 21!a little patience please.

  52. cnt remember who wrote almunia is great in the air but check out newcastle away 2 mins after we took the lead against the run of play huge rush of blood,fumble and then drags ryan taylor to the ground to concede a pen….c’mon people be objective and look at the bigger picture….hes not in the top 50 world keepers and if he was at a lower team hed ship serious goals…its just our manager has a serious deficiency in identifying class goalkeepers,he inherited seaman and got rid of manninger who iv seen lately and rate higher than almunia…almunia at man utd would be behind vds,foster and kuschak and thats a fact….fool urselves if u like but the proof has and wil b there again for all to see

  53. again guys…just to say i really appreciate all your feedback on the article so thanks a lot for that. also just to put my word in to say awesome job spanish fry. great idea in my opinion and just a continuation of the awesome blog u have got going already! keep up the good work!

  54. the comments attributed to andre arshavin wer reported in the sun…
    nuf said

  55. @ shambogunner – I don’t think you can just take one incident of Almunia making an error in the air and use that to generalise his ability in the air. I don’t really want to go into it with great detail but Almunia was so consistent last year, every goalkeeper makes mistakes, and the fact that he picked himself up to save the penalty was really great.

    Imagine if I used Petr Cech’s performance against Liverpool in the Champions League to judge him as a player. It just wouldn’t be fair.

  56. @ ALGunner – Don’t worry about that article. It’s just The Sun printing comments from a long time ago to get a rise out of people. Seriously, don’t worry about speculation – if something is real or serious I’ll post about it on the blog.

  57. Butterfingers – dangerous comment mate, remember the season Vieira was used in promoting the final season of highbury strip – the red currant one?! no sooner had the promo pics of him wearing that one had been released, he was off to Juve!

  58. i feel sory 4 all the critict from the media..i felt it’s nonsence they say we need DF all the time..i’m a huge fan of alex song..give him another season and he will become integral part of our set up….all the critict from the media come because they never watch our game all the time…

  59. check out lorik cana..marseile man..he could be a great addition to arsenal if he available..tough tackling enforcer…

  60. Melo signing extension to fiorentina contract all but ends all quest to sign him, now Aw muz look elsewhere

  61. I think the white shirt looks good but it is just another way of trying to get money out of our pockets. I have just bought the blue shirt but I wont get the new white one, £80 on two shirts is a lot of money when you know that they will change again next year, at least the home shirt lasts two years. They might sell a lot of them if we buy Benzema may be that is a marketing ploy.
    Question when do we have to put the next years numbers through as I see that Varmalen still has no number, it will be interesting to see what number he gets.
    The Turks don’t hate us, they are a very friendly people who will allways go out of their way to help you but they are very passionate about both their country, their flag and above all Ataturk who was the founder of their new nation. I am not sure exactly what happened on the awful night but I do know that if you disrespect the Turkish nation especially the flag they do not like it and I expect that had something to do with it. But still that is no reason to kill someone.
    With regard to Arsenal supporters in Turkey, I do see some shirts, but most Turks either support Fenerbache, Beshiktas or Galatasary. I loved it when we beat Fenerbache last year, a bit of gloating was wonderful, it was a shame we only gotr the 0-0 at the Emirates.
    Love to come over to Oz for a bear but I think £1000 a pint is a bit costly after I have paid for the ticket. SA is closer.

  62. thank u fiorentina for extending melos contract.the last thing we need is a nother denilson.we need to get diarra from real.hes a gladiator in the middle.cant wait 2 c wat happens.lets go gunners

  63. nice article John. I mean yeah, Almunia is truly “the unsung hero” of AFC. I believe, with his performances and the improvements made, he has shown that he is right there amongst the bests…go Almunia, go Gunners, go Arsenal!!

  64. Manuel Almunia , yeah I must agree that Almunia is unsung, a ‘Hero’ i suppose another year and maybe he would demand that tag and respect , there are a few reasons why i feel that’s the case and at the risk of sounding too critical, lemme just say it,

    a). a lot is said bout his ability as a shot stopper , he’s always been good at that and that’s what he’s supposed to be good at , at that level , what he’s improved tremendously in , is gettin off the line quicker and anticipating an attack , and that was what Lehmann absolutely phenomenal at.

    b) lack of competition , Fabianski makes Almunia look far better than he is

    c) distribution : too circumspect , inaccurate and terribly disappointing

    enough said , he’s still the best we have and far better than van de sar or most of the keepers in the premiership , he’ll only get better,
    oh and i certainly feel he’s proven Lehmann wrong , he did give a match winnin or shall i say match drawin performance against Manu in the CL


  66. Wow, whats up with every season? We seem to be losing all our key players slowey! We need to keep them and expand our squad further. First Viera, pires, then Henry, Flamini(who was very important defensively), Adebayor Toure???. Dont get me wrong, on a positive note we still have AMAZING players. Especially attacking players, like Fabregas, Arshavin, Walcott, Vela, Eduardo, Van persie, Nasri. I just fear that defensively, if we can cope? I mean sure, Vermealen looks very good. However, as a true Gooner, i just hope that we just get the check book out a little this season, because we seem to be cursed with injuries. What we need is a Handfull of some very strong, doggish ‘n’ tall, aggressive type players, who arent affraid to tackle and get stuck in the ariel battles. I mean another CB, CM and a very good striker as well, someone like Huntelaar would be ideal. I really want to beat spurs, Man u and chelsea this time round. In wenger i trust! Just my opinion. COME ON YOU GUNNERS! (=

  67. What can be done, if the various sources for increased energy production do not fully offset the decline in oil and gas production? ,

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