A major turning point in Arsenal's fortunes was the Jens Lehmann's sending off against Barcelona in the 2006 Champions League final.

Manuel Almunia, an inexperienced goalkeeper, replaced Lehmann and was arguably to blame for the two goals that were conceded.

Since Almunia replaced Lehmann as the number one goalkeeper at Arsenal, he displayed a lack of consistency. Mistakes crept into his game, most noticeably against West Brom at home during the 2010/11 season, where Arsenal lost 3-0.

He gave away a penalty, let a tame shot creep in at his near post and was caught out of position for the third goal. 

Furthermore, Almunia lacked a strong presence between the posts, compared to Lehmann. It was obvious that Almunia filled the defence with a lack of confidence, as defensive mistakes started to show.

A goalkeeper needs a strong presence to help out the defence. It wouldn't have helped the defence's performances if they knew that Almunia was prone to making mistakes and having a lack of presence, adding more pressure on the defence.

It was obvious that Lehmann had a much better influence in goal as his first season in English football was an unbeatable season and Arsenal went on a 49-game unbeatable run. Our record with Lehmann in goal during the 2006 Champions League was very successful, even with a string of injuries.

Against Real Madrid, Juventus and Villarreal, Wenger was unable to call upon the services of Lauren, Ashley Cole, Gael Clichy and Sol Campbell, meaning the inexperienced Emmanuel Eboue, Philippe Senderos and Mathieu Flamini were drafted into the defence.

With Almunia's presence, would Arsenal have reached the final against teams of high quality?

The key to a strong defensive display is having a strong goalkeeper with a big presence. The likes of Edwin van der Sar at United and Petr Cech at Chelsea proves this point, as they won points for their teams.

If Arsenal want to win trophies, they need quality all over the pitch and hopefully Wojciech Sczcesny can step his game up next year with a strong presence at the back.


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