‘Arsene Wenger must surely be on the lookout for a new keeper in January’

Arsenal legend Nigel Winterburn’s exclusive column - read it here every week

IT WOULD certainly be interesting to be a part of an Arsenal goalkeepers’ training session at the moment after all the flak that has been flying around between them so far this season.

Keepers have to spend a lot of time together as they train in a group on their own with the goalkeeping coaches most of the time, and that can make them a competitive bunch.

The trouble at Arsenal at the moment is that they all seem to think they should be the No1! Even the two young keepers have piped up and said they should be getting games.

The situation has certainly become a little confusing since the end of last season, when Manuel Almunia was the first choice without question.


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Then Arsene Wenger tried to replace him with Fulham’s Mark Schwarzer in the summer, and that has led to all sorts of pressure on Almunia and the other keepers.

Lukasz Fabianski has come in for the last two games since Almunia’s bad mistake against West Brom and has not really done anything wrong, so I guess it is only logical that he now stays in the side.

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But nobody around Arsenal, and certainly not the supporters, are convinced that Fabianski deserves to be in goal for a club of this stature.

There is just that nervousness around the ground when he plays, and the same has now happened to Almunia – the only conclusion you can draw is that Arsene must surely be on he lookout again in January, if not for Schwarzer then for somebody else.

Fabianski will probably line up against Birmingham on Saturday, and for me this is just a must-win game for Arsenal after the two defeats before the international break. This just has to be three points or they are going to be in some trouble.

Obviously there is a lot of focus on Alexander Hleb as he comes back to the club, and I would love to know why he decided to leave Arsenal when he did. He was playing regularly for a massive club, and seemed happy, yet he took the gamble of going to Barcelona where he was never likely to be a first choice with the players they had.

He was certainly a player I rated during his time at Arsenal, and my feeling is that if you are happy somewhere then why would you leave?

Eduardo is another player who will be back at the Emirates next week and I am sure he will get a great reception from the supporters.

It is imposible not to feel sympathy for a player who had such a bad injury and just never fully recovered from it. He was never the same player again for Arsenal.

But at least he is playing again and has a new start at a new club, and I am sure all Arsenal fans wish him well, apart from maybe on Tuesday!

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