x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Wojciech Szczesny can be among 'top keepers in Europe'

Arsenal manager confident ahead of his team's chances ahead of tonight's Premier League game against Wigan.

Manager Arsene Wenger is pleased with the way Wojciech Szczesny, the Arsenal goalkeeper, has matured as a player.
Manager Arsene Wenger is pleased with the way Wojciech Szczesny, the Arsenal goalkeeper, has matured as a player.

Wojciech Szczesny, the Arsenal goalkeeper, goes into tonight's encounter with revitalised Wigan at the Emirates Stadium with a ringing endorsement from Arsene Wenger, their manager.

Wenger believes 21-year-old Szczesny, who has kept five clean sheets in his last seven matches, can become one of Europe's top goalkeepers.

Wenger said: "The talent was always there but he is maturing quickly. I like that he is a good communicator. You have to adjust, it's important to find a balance.

"I wouldn't like to say publicly what he needs to do, I'd rather tell him myself. Overall he has the basic talent to be a top class keeper. How far he goes will depend on how much he wants to improve."

The Arsenal manager, however, singled out the confidence shown by Manchester City's Joe Hart as one of the crucial talents of any top goalkeeper, the type Szczesny must emulate.

He said: "The mental part of a keeper is vital. Look at Joe Hart, who is a fantastic goalkeeper for England. For me he shows that strength."

Wenger's side go into the Wigan game eager to reinforce their grip on the third Champions League qualifying place.

Full-back Kieran Gibbs and midfielder Gervinho could be available after recovering from groin and ankle injuries respectively. Defender Laurent Koscielny is suspended.

Wenger admits he has been impressed with Wigan's recent form in which they lost narrowly to Chelsea and then beat Manchester United 1-0 in midweek at the DW Stadium.

Wenger said: "They played well at Chelsea and were unlucky with the decisions. But when the players feel deeply that they have shown quality, they never give up.

"That is the impression they got out of the Chelsea game because they played well and showed it again against Manchester United.

"Victor Moses is a threat. They are solid at the back now with three centre backs and two protective midfielders. Overall I believe it is a team which is well balanced.

"Any team who fights not to go down finds some momentum. Every year they find it just before they are out of the league. They have found a structure of the team that is better suited for them maybe than before."