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August 2021

Wojciech Szczesny: a review

 With the prayer that this piece does not tempt fate in future games.

By Charles Veritite

My stream for the game against Crystal Palace was slow all I could see was oblongs dancing in slow motion.   I endured the ‘sweet’ monotones of ‘young’ Michael  Owen giving us the benefit of his hindsight  pearly gems of football  wisdom.  Near the end of the game he announced that his man of the match was Wojciech Szczesny for his save in the 1st half and his two great saves in the 2nd half.

I am no longer surprised when Wojciech Szczesny makes a great save. Its what great goalkeepers do.

First off, a  quick look at the  Wojciech Szczesny’s Wiki page will give you the detail on him and his path to Arsenal’s 1st choice goal keeper so I wont go over it all here.

He arrived at Arsenal when he was 16 and like many juniors made rapid progress.

When he was 18 ½ he had that accident that broke both his forearms. Breaking a bone is a painful moment.  The pain of breaking of two at the same time in different places is hard to imagine.  To be 18 ½ and a trainee goalkeeper at a big football club and to break both your forearms!  The horror of that moment for Wojciech Szczesny is indescribable. He must have believed his dreams were smashed. He was finished.  What good is a goalkeeper with two broken arms?

Wiki tells us that when he was 19 he was in the first team squad and he was loaned out to Brentford. Bob Wilson  when speaking on BBC’s Radio 5 tells us that when Wojciech returned from Brentford he said to the young keeper that going to Brentford was good for him. He replied. ‘No I was good for Brentford!’  The rave notices Wojciech  got from Brentford suggests  he was right.

Sometimes there is a narrow line between arrogance and confidence. Those around Wojciech would have known the side  Wojciech is on.

Arsene then promised Wojciech that if he signed a new contract Arsene would give him his chance in the 1st. team. Wojciech signed.

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His first league match was against Manure at Manure Land in December 2010.  I had to rely on the radio commentary for this game so didn’t see Wojciech’s debut. At one point a shot was made that hit our cross bar and went over for a gaol kick. Then I heard the commentator say that it didn’t hit the cross bar the replay shows that Wojciech tipped it onto the cross bar. It should have been a corner.

For once the ref got it wrong in our favour at Manure Land and there was no complaints from Sir he who must be obeyed and feared! (Perhaps he didn’t have the benefit manure vision that day!  Or being so close to Arsene he had an attack of myopia!)  I am sure that those who saw the game will remember the save. It was a save to savour.

Stop. Say what was not said. ‘The save was made by a 20 year old who had broken both arms.’

We lost the game 1-0 but having made a few appearances in cup games Wojciech Szczesny had arrived in the Premier league and was here to stay. 

It seems like since time began the critics of Arsene’s knowledge of football have been telling him to ‘splash the cash and by a top class goalkeeper’. Arsene as we know is ‘stubborn’. Tell him to buy this or that player and he is liable to go out and buy a 3-month old Scottish donkey born in Hong Kong. Smile and say…

‘This is one for the future!’

However think of the consequences if Arsene had bought an established top goalkeeper.

With this expensive goalkeeper playing the league games and important cup games. What would be the message to Wojciech be from Arsene? – Arsene is a liar!   What would this situation do to Wojciech confidence?  Where was Wojciech’s first team experience to come from?  Where would Wojciech be now gaining that experience?

As we know Wojciech had a drop in form and lost his place and Wojciech’s father’s complained.

Rather maturely Wojciech apologised to Arsene for the behaviour of his father. He worked hard and regained his place although once again critics advised Arsene to ‘buy a top class goalkeeper’.

Again Arsene ignored them and went out and got a loanee understudy for Wojciech.

Wojciech has come to the stage in his game that when he plays now with that big infectious smile of his, as if there is that constant thought…

‘Arsene knows best’.

The books…

The sites from the same team…



17 comments to Wojciech Szczesny: a review

  • Zigzag

    I loved reading this piece on Wojciech. I have always believed in his ability and am so glad he is here to stay now. Another Arsenal legend in making.Marvellous!

  • OlegYch

    I agree Szczesny is a decent keeper and want him to stay at Arsenal as long as possible. And we’ve all seen that Fabianski can be reliable as well, so all those talks about Valdes or Ter Stegen give me laughs.

  • Mandy Dodd

    He is a top keeper , one who we need to keep…and nurture

  • WalterBroeckx

    Thanks for this article Charles.

    I good reminder on how many screamed for buying a keeper while we had a very special talent in our own ranks. He will make mistakes in the future as ALL KEEPERS DO! But he surely has developed in to the keeper I hoped he would turn out.
    And still so very young for a keeper.. 23 years… he has still 14-17 years in front of him

  • gouresh

    I feel he’s on the edge of being cocky. Weather that’s overconfidence or cockyness, or plain confidence I don’t know, time will. But when he us in the goal, there is bit of reassurance which is always a good thing for the back 4.

  • Arvind

    I’d go with Gouresh yeah. There’s no doubt Szcz is a bit cocky. But as long as he backs it up with great performances all the time..and is not disrespectful to anyone.. I’m happy.

  • AL

    What a pleasant read, loved this article. And I wasn’t aware that this is what Shez went through, what a fighter. I like his confidence, he is destined for the top.

  • Pat

    Lovely article!

    I had forgotten about him breaking his arms. And I specially liked the bit about him going to Brentford.

    He has taken his temporary replacement by Fabianski in exactly the right way. And come back better and more confident. One thing a goalie needs to be is confident.

  • OMGArsenal

    When looking at Szcesny with a pragmatic eye, we can see his strengths and failings very clearly:

    1)He is very tall,lithe and strong,and is in his physical prime.
    2)His distribution has improved since 2010 but still needs work in terms of accuracy and force.
    3)He has superb reflexes and can anticipate very well.
    4)He commands his area much better than previously.
    5)He has sure hands and doesn’t bobble shots at all.
    6)He is confident but NOT arrogant and in fact is humble, with an excellent sense of humour.
    7)He doesn’t let adversity destroy his positive attitude, even after the 8-2 drubbing United submitted him to. that is the first sign of a great mental strength.

    However his major faults are that;

    1)He tends to occasionally try and block shots with his extended left leg rather than diving for the ball.
    2)He tends to stand off his line a lot which allows him to get a better view of the play and cut out crosses but also leaves his net undefended sometimes.
    3)He is still immature and occasionally shows bad judgement but with another 4-5 seasons under his belt, will reach his best years.
    4)He occasionally pulls back from some aerial challenges despite him being usually taller and heavier than his opponent.

    All in all, he is our most promising keeper and one who will win quite a few games for us, as he has already done this season.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Thanks , CV for this . Was surprised that he got the man of the man match against Palace as he really didn’t have too much to do other than those 2 shots .Had also wondered why no one had mentioned it now .
    My take is that they were taking the mickey by giving it to him. Make no mistake he did play well. A few out outfield players played quite well . Then again what do I know , compared to extensive knowledge of an ex-pro ?
    And you must have noted that the goalkeeper that all were braying for us (as a solution for our ‘goalkeeping problem’) to buy 3 years ago for 3 Million Pounds , has joined our London rivals at the age of 41 ?
    I do hope that he develops a mean streak like ‘Mad Jens’ and intimidates the opposing strikers who try to mess with him.
    No more Mr.nice guy , please !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I would like to take this opportunity to wish my fellow Hindu
    brethren a Happy Diwali ( or Deepavali) and Happy Vaisakhi our Sikh readers and posters .

  • Brickfields Gunners

    And as I may be too inebriated later on to read the Liverpuddle match preview or to comment on it , my hope is for a 2-0 win .Go get them guys !
    Up the gunners !

  • hemed

    has the lad put pen to paper or suddenly he is too big for the club

  • ARSENAL 13

    I always looked at Super Mario and thought we need a cocky character in our team too. We do have Szczesny, but unlike Mario, his cockiness is a bit subdued and much more controlled…….

    Hahh….As I said earlier, how fast the narratives change….

    – ‘Spend some fucking money’ to ‘Ozil, why Ozil?’.
    – ‘A world class goal keeper’ to ‘A good backup to Szczesny’.
    – ‘Flamini…hhahhahhahahaha’ to ‘Holy Shit, he injured’.
    – ‘World class striker’ to ‘A good player for when Giroud is injured’.
    – ‘Not fit to wear the shirt’ to ‘Hope we dont overplay him’.

    Szczesny, keep up the good work…….Let the cockiness continue…….

  • Charles Veritie.

    As we go into the weekend’s Premier League games so the ‘big news’ is that Joe Hart (the England keeper) has been dropped by mancs. He has in recent games shown a loss of form.

    So far the media is defending Joe pointing out that every player loses his form at some point in his career. I think the media is right to support Joe at this time. So fat there is no call for Mancs ‘to splash the cash and buy a decent keeper’ as happened when Wojciech had a dip in form.

    Wojciech is 23 a bit young for a keeper yet his performances show he is a great goalkeeper in the making and capable of making saves that established great goalkeepers make.

    Zigzag, AL, Pat.
    Thank you for your kind words. I am glad you enjoyed reading.

  • yeah i like the raw core tools of szcz out there in goal. IIRC one of the knocks on his game was that he was prone to having some of those adventures where he aggressively goes out to get the ball and inadvertently creates some of those freaky 1 on 1 situations that have all of us fans burying our faces deep in our palms.

    he’s shown me the raw physical ability to be a top keeper, so as the games roll on and he gets more and more experience and thus knowledge up in his head, you figure we’re only scratching at the surface of what’s possible for szcz. beating the drum for an experienced top #1 goalkeeper is something that always makes sense on many levels, as you wanna have the best guy possible back there saving your arse when the feces is being disseminated via the fan, however if arsene and co believe that szcz has what it takes to get the job done i’ll put my faith in them cuz so far so good this season.