Szczesny: AW’s the one and only
Wojciech Szczesny maintains it is "ridiculous" to suggest Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has run out of ideas and should be replaced.
The Gunners may have beaten Premier League leaders Manchester United 1-0 at Emirates Stadium on Sunday, but their hopes of a first trophy since 2005 have long gone.
Some critics and supporters alike have questioned whether Wenger, who transformed the Gunners since taking charge in September 1996, remains the right man for the job as Arsenal look to keep up with their big-spending rivals.
However, 21-year-old goalkeeper Szczesny – one of the youngsters relishing in the chance handed by Wenger this season – insists Arsenal’s future is very much in the right hands.
"It is ridiculous. If you ask any of the players, they will stand by the manager," the young Pole declared.
"He built this thing from nothing and I believe he is the best manager in the world.
"He puts his reputation on the line with young players."
Wenger’s continued faith in youth failed to deliver once again in 2011 as his side suffered a shock Carling Cup final defeat to Birmingham at Wembley, which was followed by swift exits from the Champions League in Barcelona and FA Cup at Old Trafford before a costly run of draws then defeat at Bolton put pay to any title hopes.
It was a mix-up between Szczesny and defender Laurent Koscielny, the 25-year-old summer recruit from Lorient, which gifted Birmingham striker Obafemi Martins a dramatic late winner at Wembley – a moment from which Wenger believes his squad never really recovered.
Szczesny believes such deep frustrations can only make the squad stronger.
"We all take individual responsibility for our mistakes, and everyone has played their part in this season’s disappointments," he said.
"We just have to take it as a team. You can’t blame the boss. He stood by the team all season."
Szczesny added: "There is a lot of frustration, to see other teams fighting for the title.
"We have really worked hard the whole year, have done our best every day in training and we have given 110% in the games.
"It is frustrating not to be in the side that wins the championship, but we have shown we have the quality.
"It is just a matter of whether we can step up next season.
"We believe we are good enough, that we have a lot of years in front of us and a lot of trophies to win – so let’s be patient and show next year that we are good enough to win it."