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All Guns Blazing: Arsenal fans shouldn’t rule out Szczesny after moment of madness

10:56 14 January 2015

Arsenal

Arsenal's Wojciech Szczesny. Picture: Adam Davy

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In our weekly Arsenal fan column, Alex Bellotti enjoys the win against Stoke and says that Szczesny has an opportunity to respond in the best way.

Analysing Arsenal’s form this season has been something of a lost cause; it’s rare enough that I can write this column on the back of a victory without worrying that by the time of publication we might have already suffered another humiliating defeat.

Consequently, there’s not a lot that we can actually learn from Sunday’s game against a lacklustre Stoke side, though I’m inclined to indulge in it just a little – if only because it’s Stoke.

When their unholy marriage with Tony Pulis came to an abrupt end, there was an assumption by many that the latter would take their unique brand of rugby-ball with him as part of the divorce settlement.

In fact, the manager’s subsequent reign at Crystal Palace saw strangely exciting, attractive football, while Stoke – despite the vague efforts of Mark Hughes and poor Bojan, whose career seems to have mirrored the journey of Frodo in Lord Of The Rings – remain completely unable to move away from their pre-game tactic of ‘impale all the opposition’, which has now claimed Mathieu Debuchy as its latest victim.

So at least we beat them resoundingly. I could easily rattle on about Alexis Sanchez again, but perhaps the most intriguing sideshow of the day was the dropping of Wojciech Szczesny.

Unlike a fair few, I’ve long been somewhat of a fan of the lanky Pole. When he first broke through and spoke of how he loved the club, it was at a time when few did and predated today’s culture of joining and immediately going mad with the #GoonerForever hashtags.

Whether he truly does or not is hard to judge, and that’s not to say he doesn’t deserve to be punished; he’s still got a long way to go to be a top goalkeeper and outdoing Jack Wilshere in the smoking circuit certainly won’t help his cause. For once, however, I can’t help but feel that Arsene Wenger – who isn’t always renowned for his man-management – has a handle on him.

Szczesny was dropped once before for poor form and responded in the best way – even winning the golden glove in the following season. Despite his lingering immaturity, that response doesn’t come without desire and a decent amount of professionalism, so let’s not rule out someone who is still a young, improving talent for a moment of madness.

Whether he’ll do something similar again remains to be seen, but for now I’m remaining positive. Considering his decision to light up under a shower, it seems he wouldn’t know how to actually smoke if he wanted to anyway.

Follow me @alexbellotti

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