Wojciech Szczesny recovered from illness to take his place in the Arsenal goal for tonight's FA Cup quarter-final win against Manchester United at Old Trafford. However, the goalkeeper did little to enhance his already diminishing reputation after a less than convincing performance in Monday evening's 2-1 victory.
The Poland international made his first senior appearance since the 2-0 victory over Middlesbrough on February 15 in the previous round, and his lack of competitive action certainly showed on a nervy night at the Theatre of Dreams.
This was supposed to be Szczesny's chance to convince Arsene Wenger he's ready to reclaim his status as the Gunners undisputed No.1, but by the final whistle the French tactician was probably swaying even more towards Colombian custodian David Ospina.
Article continues below
The fact the former Nice stopper has shown plenty of weaknesses of his own during his short stint between the sticks at the Emirates Stadium tells you everything you need to know about Szczesny's current standing as an elite level Premier League performer.
The 24-year-old has fallen way below the standard expected of a first-choice goalkeeper, and it could ultimately cost him his place in Wenger's entire squad - not just the starting XI - in north London.
Article continues below
If the veteran coach isn't already considering re-entering the transfer market for a potential replacement at the end of the season, then tonight's disappointing display against the Red Devils might well have sealed Szczesny's fate.
The Pole was clearly lacking in confidence from the opening minute, and his insecurities were heightened even further following a clumsy flap midway through the first half that put the Arsenal defence under unnecessary pressure.
Szczesny's inability to communicate with his back four also risked ruining the Gunners evening, but thankfully Manchester United's blunt attack was unable to capitalise on any of the uncertainty that was so obviously evident.
Little blame could be directed at Szczesny for Wayne Rooney's equalising goal. After a pinpoint cross from Angel di Maria, the Red Devils captain's diving header was virtually unstoppable. But, the former Brentford loanee did get a hand to the ball, and perhaps with a stronger arm could've diverted it over the bar.
All in all, it was a productive night for Arsenal, who claimed only their third victory at Old Trafford in the past decade and in doing so booked their place at Wembley for a semi-final clash with the winner of the replay between Bradford City and Reading.
FA Cup progress
The holders will fancy their chances of going all the way to the final again, which could turn out to be current 'Cup keeper' Szczesny's last ever appearance if Wenger does the right thing and gets rid of him in the summer.
Arsenal fans: How do you think Wojciech Szczesny performed against Manchester United? Do you think his time is up at the Emirates Stadium? Share your thoughts below...
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms