By Randy Osae
David Seaman, and then Jens Lehmann. The number one jersey at Arsenal’s ranks is one that many have revered in the past decade or so. Both legendary stoppers had that “you will never beat me” attitude between the sticks and when finally scored-on, they reacted with extreme anger.
Manuel Almunia who is now benefiting from Jens Lehmann’s departure confesses being the mother of Arsenal’s defence feels more tense and honorary every time he is on guard. Having lost his place sometime after his initial move to north London in 2004, Almunia is promising to keep his spot and not lose it again – at least not like how Lehmann handed it to him last season.
And very soon, if his chance for the Spanish national team never arrives, he might as well represent the Three Lions with his new citizenship in December.
“Of course the No.1 jersey at Arsenal is very important. It has been famous for the great goalkeepers in the club’s history that have worn it before so it’s a big responsibility.
“But at the same time it’s a great thing to enjoy for me and I hope that people can be happy with my performances.
“I’m very happy to wear this fantastic number for Arsenal and I’m pleased with how things are going; I’m feeling very well and we have not conceded too many goals, although we always need to improve.
“I think this season I am growing as a goalkeeper and hope I can grow more as the season progresses.”
While one man on Arsenal’s end of the pitch is vying to stop goals, another Gunner is having an appetite to keep notching balls into net. Emannuel Adebayor feels his combination with a healthy Van Persie is an automatic ticket to Arsenal’s first trophy in almost a quarter of a decade.
It feels like a new strike-partnership all over again. After the departure of Henry last season, the pair were the main option for an attacking route, but Van Persie’s injuries left 30-goal scorer Adebayor doing all the work. But with the Dutch forward still standing so far this season, there are few worries upfront for the Gunners.
Indeed, they really seem to be quite some friends also – according to Emmanuel.
“We enjoy playing together – Robin’s a very good player. In our heads we have the same ambition, which is to help this team win something.”
“Hopefully, as we go on we will get to know each other better and learn how each other plays.
“If Robin is fit for the whole season we have a chance to do something special, that’s for sure. We talk off the pitch about the way we play.