LONDON ENGLAND - JANUARY 25: Wojciech Szczesny of Arsenal celebrates during the Carling Cup Semi Final Second Leg match between Arsenal and Ipswich Town at Emirates Stadium on January 25 2011 in London England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
After some horrible goalkeeping errors and countless media criticism, Arsene Wenger finally found his number one goalkeeper in 2010/11. And, he didn't go out and buy him; instead, it was a player who had been at the club since 2006, Wojciech Szczesny. Szczesny, after basically demanding he be placed into the squad, had token appearances in the Carling Cup, which included several fantastic saves away to Newcastle. That, though, couldn't prepare him for his Premier League debut away to Manchester United. Szczesny, like he would approach everything else this season, played almost without fear. Although his distribution was shaky, he wasn't at fault for the goal, and made a Schmeichel-esque save on Wayne Rooney (and also caused him to shank a penalty).
Szczesny finally got his chance as permanent number one when Lukasz Fabianski hurt his shoulder, ironically saving a practice shot from Szczesny. And, he performed admirably even as the Arsenal defence crumbled around him. He made great saves along the way, commanded the area and is the number one Arsenal have been looking for. There was, of course, the catastrophic error in the Carling Cup, and Szczesny's distribution could be better and have a better decision process behind his distribution, and he's sometimes a little rash, but it's easy to forget that he's just 21, and can, and perhaps has, learned much from Jens Lehmann. Szczesny could easily be the Arsenal keeper for the next 20 years, and given his performance this year, and his take out of Gareth Bale (and celebration against Barca), I and most Arsenal fans won't complain.
Ted's Emoticon: :)