'Lucky' Park winner ruins Szczesny's shock debut

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The Independent Football

After being thrown in at the deep end for his Premier League debut at Old Trafford, the 20-year-old Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny has described Park Ji-sung's winner for Manchester United as "pretty lucky".

Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal manager, made the shock decision to play Szczesny instead of Lukasz Fabianski, the Pole having only previously played for the Gunners in the Carling Cup. In the end he was frustrated as Arsenal lost 1-0 and were replaced at the top of the table by United.

"We were disappointed with the result," said Szczesny, "but we still believe we are one of the top sides, if not the best in the Premier League. We feel we can beat pretty much everyone, that we can recover for the game on Saturday and be back in the race."

The goal that settled the match was an instinctive back header from Park after 41 minutes, which Szczesny attributed more to chance than to design. "[United] probably had more chances to score," he admitted, "but I felt the goal was pretty lucky. I don't think Park actually meant to head the ball. It just hit him on the head and went into the top corner. With just a little bit more luck we could have got something out of the game and we're still confident we are the top side in the Premier League."

In the second half, Szczesny impressed with saves from Anderson and Wayne Rooney. "I don't think they were fantastic stops," he said. "Anderson pretty much hit it straight at my chest because I was in the right position at the right time for the first one and he couldn't really have done much more. The second one, I don't think Rooney connected very well."