Sunday, June 14, 2015

SMR end-of-season review 2014-2015: The Goalkeepers

In the first of the end-of-season review posts, I’m going to assess Arsenal’s goalkeepers. Each player will get a rating and a one-word summary for the season (I’m giving myself license to use a hyphen if necessary!).
1. Wojciech Szczesny
Having started the season as the number one, and the Premier League’s golden glove holder, it was hoped that 2014-2015 would be the season that Wojciech Szczesny really kicked on and dispelled doubts over his place in the team. He wasn’t helped by a changing back four in front of him, but the Pole looked edgy in the first half of the season. His ability as a shot stopper has never been in question, but his commanding of the penalty area, decision making and distribution did come into focus during the campaign.
He was much more commanding in the FA Cup final after he’d been dropped from league duties following the smoking debacle at Southampton. A big season awaits, especially if top level competition is signed.
One-word summary: Ousted
Rating: 5/10
13. David Ospina
Signed following the departure of Lukasz Fabianski, David Ospina was barely seen in the first half of the season because of injury problems. When he did establish himself in the first team, Arsenal’s form picked up as Ospina brought a much-needed calmness between the sticks. He was helped by Mertesacker and Koscielny’s partnership settling down, but Ospina did well when called upon. I’m still not convinced that he is the top-level goalkeeper that many suggest Arsenal need, and a few flaps at shots near the end of the season reinforced that, but his record in the second half of the season was good. It’ll be interesting to see what happens to Ospina should a new goalkeeper arrive, especially as the Colombian will get back to pre-season late because of the Copa America, so could find himself as the third-choice goalkeeper, which would seem a bit harsh.
One-word summary: ooooooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOSPINAaaaa
Rating: 6/10
26. Emiliano Martinez
Due to injuries, Emiliano Martinez saw some Premier League and Champions League action in the first half of the season, and he looked much-improved compared to the goalkeeper seen in the Capital One Cup two seasons previously (he was the man in goal in the crazy 7-5 win at Reading). He then went to Rotherham late in the season as an emergency loan signing for the Championship side, where he also impressed. Martinez is still young for a goalkeeper, so another loan spell could follow next season, especially if a new keeper arrives.
One-word summary: Developing
Rating: 5/10