Wojciech Szczesny will make his debut in the Champions League for Arsenal at the Emirates tonight as the Gunners host Barcelona. The young keeper couldn’t have asked for tougher opponents than the Catalans.
Barca are widely seen as the world’s best team at the moment. Their accurate passing game is a joy to watch for their fans and for neutrals whereas it is a torture for their opponents. Teams and players stumble at the mention of their name, so how could it feel for the inexperienced Wojciech Szczesny to make his Champions League debut against the giants of Catalonia?
With Fabianski being on the sidelines, Arsene Wenger has chosen the impressive 20-year-old keeper to represent the Gunners in post. The task his huge for Szczesny who will face FIFA Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi as well as World Cup heroes Xavi, Iniesta and David Villa in front of Arsenal’s home crowd. However, he has no fear as Wenger explained according to The Telegraph:
“Wojciech is not fazed by anything. Most people, if they were told they were playing Barcelona, they might have a nervous night. But he is never overawed. It’s part of the job not to be inhibited when the competition is on.
“There are some players who do less well in matches than in training, and some others do the reverse. [Wojciech] is one of the players who become who he really is during competition. He doesn’t give you the feeling that he’s nervous.”
Szczesny’s team mate Johan Djourou also shares Wenger’s opinion about the player. The defender echoed his manager’s comments as he declared:
“Szczesny is a great guy and very confident. For a guy of his age to have that is quite impressive. If he sees some things, he will tell you.
“He is very loud. He has presence. He is quite big and this is good for defenders. He is very young but it looks as though he has been in the game for ages.
“It is great when you have a keeper behind you who gives you more confidence, who is vocal and comes out for crosses.”
A top performance against Barcelona tonight will see Wojciech Szczesny make a dream debut in the UEFA Champions League. This Arsenal vs Barcelona match could be of great significance in the goalkeeper’s career. With time, his potential as a 20-year-old could help him grow as one of the best shot stoppers of this generation. Szczesny is unfazed by Barcelona; are Barca scared of him?