All the talk around Arsenal FC over the last few weeks has been about the goalkeeping situation in which Manuel Almunia has failed yet again to impress, Lukaz Fabianski has looked poor in almost every game he played for the Gunners last season, the only name not really being mentioned is that of third stringer Vito Mannone who performed well when called upon last season.
The Gunners have not had a consistent top-class goalkeeper since Jens Lehman left the club back in 2008. Indecently, Lehman is the last keeper to win any silverware with the club. However Vito ‘the Mafia Hitman’ Mannone will look this season to prove that he can be the future No. 1 for the North Londoners.
Mannone, 22, who is happy at Arsenal and confident he can challenge for a first-team place this season, made his most impressive performance against Fulham at Craven Cottage last season where he stuffed a barrage of attempts from the Hammersmith club.
However, with doubts as to who the long term solution is at the goalkeeper position, Mannone has gone quietly about his business trying to establish himself as one of the more solid and consistent performers for Arsenal at the position. The young Italian who models himself after the great Gianluigi Buffon has shown great grit and determination when called upon for Arsenal.
His only questionable performance came in his first Champions League experience against Standard Liege in which the Gunners were down 2-0 in the first five minutes, but showed his resilience making several good saves afterwards en-route to a 3-2 Arsenal comeback victory.
Schwarzer, who currently is serving as backup for youngster David Stockdale, has asked for a transfer and is desperate to join Arsenal, yet Fulham have knocked back a £3m offer and the saga has yet to be resolved. Will it be?
Polish international Wojciech Szczęsny, who is seen in many eyes as the future arsenal No. 1, has drawn a heap of praise from pundits around the club after his stellar loan spell away at League One side Brentford last season.
But at the age of 20 and with no competitive first team experience under his belt, it may be too early to release the young Pole to the speed and hostility of the Premier league; it would seem that another loan spell is likely to a Championship or lower division side.
Almunia endured a difficult 2009/10 season, which saw his position questioned by pundits and fans alike after a series of high-profile and costly errors, but he too has looked shaky at times this season, until performing well against Blackburn this past weekend.
However, the young Italian says he did not expect to make so many appearances for the first-team, and that he enjoyed the opportunity to impress his manager.
With doubts around Almunia, who is constantly rumoured to be on the way out, and a number of qualms over Fabianski's displays last season, Mannone is confident he can give Arsene Wenger something to think about this season, as should Arsenal fans.