Aug 6, 2015
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Szczesny and AS Roma’s symbiotic relationship

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AS Roma signed Arsenal’s impossible-to-spell goalkeeper on an “initial one-year loan contract. Szczesny of course, desperately needed to get to a place where he could play every week and with Cech’s arrival, Arsenal didn’t look like the club that could offer him the same. The goalkeeper receded to the bench after his sorry performance against Southampton around the turn of the year and David Ospina did a wonderful job slotting in between the posts for the Gunners for the latter half of the season. So much so that some fans have found it questionable that the Colombian is being replaced by Cech despite proving he can be the number one choice for the club last year. But Wenger’s decision to bring in Cech is entirely acceptable – you can’t possibly pass on the opportunity to bring in a player of his stature – and one of Ospina or Szczesny had to be disposed of. It is hard to argue with Arsenal’s choice.

Many would think that it’s a fall from grace for Szczesny. He made his Arsenal debut at the age of 19 and went on to make 181 appearances for the side. Incidentally, he shared the Golden Glove with Cech in 2013/14 and in the end; he was the one who is sacrificed for the Czech international. It isn’t startling though, considering his performances last season and some uninvited episodes regarding smoking in the shower etc.

Szczesny cuts a despondent figure in the rain at Stamford Bridge two years ago.

Of course, we can sympathize with Szczesny too. He wasn’t playing with the best of defences in front of him. Koscielny was injured, Mertesacker was struggling there was a makeshift back four in every game with full-backs being employed as central defenders. In the second half of the season, it wasn’t completely unclear why Ospina was keeping clean sheet after clean sheet. Arsenal found a terrific sense of balance in the team through their defence with the likes of Bellerin and Monreal doing well, Coquelin playing better than most defensive midfielders in the league and a good central defence partnership between Mertesacker and Koscielny. This is definitely not to belittle Ospina’s role in the side, nor absolve Sczeseny of his poor season, but just to state that the Polish international also had external factors to blame for his horror season.

Then again, after the wonderful campaign he enjoyed just a season before, one would expect him to kick on and establish himself with the Gunners, a club where he has been for almost 10 years, one he loves and adores so much.

It remains uncertain if the Pole will come back to Arsenal. With Cech, many expect Arsenal to have found their number one goalkeeper for the next three or four years. The former Chelsea player is only 32 and there is a good chance that he remains Arsenal’s number one choice for the next few years. It therefore makes little or no sense that Szczesny will come back unless he is content playing a bit-part role for the side, and of course, if Wenger wants him to.

A move to Roma is symbiotically beneficial for both Szczesny as well as AS Roma.

Roma’s current No. 1, Morgan De Sanctis is 38 years old. He appeared in 39 games for the Italian side and kept 16 clean sheets, made 2.54 saves per goal and conceded 0.74 goals per match. These are impressive figures and many feel that despite all the criticism he underwent last season, he deserved the one year contract he got. But these figures do not show the seven goals the Roma defence and MDS leaked in against Bayern at Rome. However talented Bayern may be, seven goals against any opposition is a more than an embarrassing feat. There were other instances during the course of the season as well, where supporters felt that the club could do better with an upgrade in the goalkeeper position.

Unarguably, if Roma want to win trophies next season, they unquestionably require an upgrade on the spot. Arsene Wenger himself has boosted his chances to win the Premier League by adding solidity and sureness to Arsenal’s base in the form of Petr Cech, which goes on to show how important a good goalkeeper is to win trophies. It doesn’t mean that De Sanctis be reduced to the bench completely. Szczesny will definitely need time to get going and he could do very well under the tutelage of the Italian veteran. Rudi Garcia needed a goalkeeper that could help him compete for the Scudetto as well as in other competition and in Szczesny, he has got that. The Poland international is a good goalkeeper, but unfortunately most of us have a short football memory and only remember the blunders of last season. The 25-year-old can now start afresh and hope to do become an integral part of the Roma unit.

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20, Third year student of History, English Premier League enthusiast with interest in Ligue 1 and the Croatian National Team.

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