You don’t need me to tell you that the opening day of the season didn’t exactly go to plan for Arsene Wenger and Arsenal yesterday. The injury ravaged team were humbled at home by Aston Villa yesterday - with several players in particular putting in sloppy performances.
But one player who came in for plenty of criticism and fun-poking on Twitter was goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.
In some respects it seems harsh, the Pole did save a penalty of course. But that was a penalty he gave away with, once again, his over exuberance at charging off his line.
He took that attribute of his game to the extreme in the first-half of the game, deciding to come and play sweeper with Christian Benteke in front of him - he then made sure the cameramen got a good shot of his save from Ashley Westwood’s lob from distance, even though the ball was about a yard wide of the goal.
His erratic and often amusing performance may be entertaining, but it is certainly not what Gunner’s fans want to see between the sticks this campaign - and some are already calling for Lukasz Fabianski to take his place against Fenerbahce in midweek.
But while Arsenal fans had their heads in their hands whilst watching their number one stopper play football like he was in a Carry On film - two stoppers they were linked with, and probably could have signed this summer, were in sensational form at Anfield.
First there is the home keeper, Simon Mignolet. The Belgian signed for Liverpool at a price of £9 million this summer - and went some way toward justifying that price-tag with his last minute heroics. He saved a Jonathan Walters penalty before stopping Kenwyne Jones scoring on the follow-up - and was then mobbed by the entire Liverpool team.
But while his heroics should not be undervalued, the importance of that save was only prevalent due to the performance of his opposite number.
He reminded me at times of German international Manuel Neuer - confident, imposing and unbeatable. If it wasnt for a slip on the wet Anfield turf I think he would have saved Daniel Sturridge’s eventual winning goal.
Stoke signed Jack Butland in January and he joined up with the team this summer - fuelling rumours of an imminent Begovic exit. Arsenal were one such team linked with his signature, but in the end no bid materialised.
Based on the evidence of yesterday, Stoke could command a fee near, or above, that spent on Mignolet.
Arsenal meanwhile have their clown keepers and look on enviously at both Mignolet and Begovic - and the worst thing about it all, they could easily afford them.
Should Arsenal make a move for Asmir Begovic?
image: © ronnie macdonald