Our last goalkeeper review is of Vito Mannone, third in the depth chart but hopefully first in his parents' heart. To the reviewinator!
Mannone started his campaign with back-to-back clean sheets (Stoke City and Liverpool, both away), victories at Montpellier and home versus Olympiacos in the Champions League, a singular goal allowed in the draw at Manchester City and was between the posts in the hard-fought loss at home versus Chelsea. However the wheels slowly started to come off for Mannone as he struggled to support his wanting players, who were in the midst of suffering their own prolonged slide themselves, as he let in an Alexander Tettey howler in a shocking 1-0 defeat at Norwich City.
He went on to claim a win in only one match in the next five - to QPR - before getting recalled to the bench when Szczesny returned from injury and failing to return to the pitch for the rest of the season. While his start provided optimism that the club had legitimate options to select from at keeper, he couldn't lift himself, or the club, when they suffered a lack of form through their now-infamous Fall doldrums. For that, his season leaves me more with indifference than hope.
Every sport and every team has them. They're the guys that you see in the dugout, leaping up to high five a teammate when he comes back after hitting a home run; they're the guys at the end of the bench who only get to take their sweats off when it's 110-78 and there's three minutes left in the fourth. In soccer, they're Vito Mannone. I'm sure Vito is a perfectly lovely human being with many fine qualities, but he's a third choice at Arsenal for a reason.
He got off to a good start, not allowing a goal against either Stoke or Liverpool, but from there he showed why he's so low on the depth chart. He was in goal for the Norwich loss, which can't be solely credited to him but I probably will anyway because I'm a spiteful human being at times. I sincerely doubt we'll see Vito Mannone next season, and as they say in corporate America when people you don't really care about one way or the other leave, I wish him well in his future endeavors.
GRADE: C, but in a bigger sample could have easily been a D.
It's been so long since I saw Don Vito play that I'd completely forgotten it happened until I started thinking about the player reviews. Now that I go back and think about it, he was pretty serviceable and even good, at times. He certainly improved his standing this year in my mind, though that's mostly because my image of him before this was acting like a jabroni against Olympiakos in 2011 and it couldn't possibly be worse.
He was fine for a while, and he was awful at times, which is pretty much what you might realistically expect from a third-string goalkeeper. He probably won't play for Arsenal again, though inertia might keep him here unless someone in the lower divisions or Italy really wants him. Honestly I don't care either way. He's fine, but he's not worth fighting over. I'm tired of talking about him now.
via img.gawkerassets.com (click to animate)
Vito Mannone got the call when the two Poles in goal got hurt. He looked adequate at first, keeping clean sheets against Stoke and Liverpool, and making a string of stunning saves against Montpellier. It went down hill from there, though, letting a Juan Mata free kick from 40 yards beat him, and showed a propensity to parry in front of goal and showed poor positioning (see Robin vol der Mort's goal for United). When Szczesny came back, we were relieved.
In the hazy reaches of my memory (I honestly don't even remember what I was doing last week), I vaguely remember a time when Vito Mannone was in the goal for Arsenal this season. I had to go back to watch highlights of the match away at Montpellier to remember, and sure as heck, there he was. Vito. Don Vito. He started the season well, coming in in the second match away at Stoke after Szczesny got hurt in the season opener, and for a while, he was doing well.
Then things started to slip as "Steve Bould's influence" vanished; Schalke at home, Fulham at home, Manchester United...it got weird. At the end of his tenure this year, Don had let in 16 goals in 14 matches, which isn't a great, great return, but the three-day-old beef stew that was Arsenal's defending at the time probably didn't help. As a third-string keeper, it's hard to fault Vito too much, but he's not the answer between the sticks long-term.