Almunia Safe Hands
Last season Arsene Wenger made Almunia our number one goalkeeper after a couple of howlers from Jens Lehman. Almunia grasped the opportunity and made the number 1 jersey his own.
Almunia was not, and is still not the most reassuring of goalkeepers. He has reserved his clangers from games against Manchester United, but these have been few and far between over the last couple of seasons.
Almunia is a very good shot stopper; he has saved numerous near certain goals this season. His other great attribute is penalty saving. He has saved several vital penalties this season, Martins, Ashley Young and last season, Robbie Keane, as well as making an important penalty save against Roma.
He commands his area well at corners, rarely making a blunder and without the histrionics of Lehman, even if that was greatly entertaining.
If there was a criticism of Almunia, it is his reluctance to come out and pick up the ball in the area and relieve the pressure off his defenders.
The real question does Almunia have the presence to give Arsenal the edge in our quest for trophies. He is not a big name goalkeeper because he has not played on the on the international stage, nor has he been a first team regular for a long period. Opponents do not look at him in the same way as they do with Cech, van der Saar or Reina, we do not have that same psychological advantage that our rivals have.
Almunia is a good stop-gap goalkeeper until Wenger thinks Fabianski is ready to take over the number one shirt, that time is fast approaching.