Szczesny eager to grab Gunners chance

Wojciech Szczesny emerged from the rubble of Arsenal's damaging defeat at Manchester United to declare his intention to seize the unexpected chance handed to him by Arsene Wenger.

The 20-year-old leapt to the head of Wenger's goalkeeping queue at Old Trafford yesterday when he was handed the starting spot against Manchester United because of concern over Lukasz Fabianski's hip problem.



It was a remarkable show of faith in the youngster, who had previously played just three Carling Cup games for the Gunners.



However, the bold move did not pay dividends as Arsenal slipped to a 1-0 defeat which leaves them two points behind United, having played a game more.



Wenger, though, declared himself satisfied with Szczesny's contribution - and the player himself is determined not to slip quietly back into the shadows.



"I am a reserve goalkeeper at the moment so I need to take every chance I get and this was a massive chance for me," he said.



"I felt that for my debut I did well enough. Unfortunately it wasn't enough for us to get any points but this is my big chance and I need to take it."



In any normal season, five defeats before Christmas would be enough to end any hope of a championship challenge, particularly when the leaders remain unbeaten.



But this is no normal campaign. And if the Gunners can overcome Stoke at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, they will return to top spot, albeit for just 24 hours until United visit Chelsea.



"It was a disappointing result, but we won't get too down. We are still very confident," insisted Szczesny.



"We believe if we recover on Saturday and put in the right performance against Stoke we could easily get three points and be back in the title race straight away.



"That is what the manager told us afterwards; he just tried to get us to focus on the match on Saturday.



"This game is gone. The team performance was quite good, but we just didn't get as much luck as United."



In fact, Szczesny viewed the winner as being a huge slice of good fortune.



Whilst most observers hailed Park Ji-sung for the manner in which he quickly angled his body to reach Nani's deflected cross, then send it looping into the Arsenal's net, the young keeper felt it was a fluke.



"Their goal was really lucky," he said.



"I don't think Park meant to head the ball, it just hit him and went in the top corner."



The assessment is a little harsh on an evening when Wenger became embroiled in a minor spat with a journalist who rather forcibly made a valid point about Arsenal's problem winning the biggest of matches.



It is now six games without a win against United and on December 27 they face a Chelsea side they have lost five successive times against.



That run must come to an end if Arsenal fans are to convince themselves this is a season when they can realistically mount a challenge.



The appearances of Cesc Fabregas, who has been out with a hamstring problem, and Robin van Persie as second-half substitutes offer much hope for optimism - although what is more open to question is whether they are capable of producing the blanket defensive performance that secured United their win last night.



Not that Szczesny views last night's opponents as superior. Far from it.



"We are still confident we are the top side in the Premier League," he said.



"Manchester United are beatable. Everyone is.



"The Premier League is very tight this year. They do have a solid back four, I will admit that, but they are beatable."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living