LONDON, January 9 – Wojciech Szczesny’s father believes the Poland goalkeeper should not be singled out for Arsenal’s “disastrous”defensive failings this season, instead pinning the blame on Per Mertesacker for “showing the agility of a rhinoceros”.
Szczesny has found his position under the spotlight this week following revelations he was caught smoking in the showers after Arsenal’s 2-0 defeat at Southampton on New Year’s Day, when his errors had played a part for both goals.
Maciej Szczesny, who was also a goalkeeper who played for Legia Warsaw and the Polish national team, described those reports as a “media invention” in an interview with Polish newspaper Przeglad Sportowy, although he did admit his son has had issues with Wenger in the past.
“What the British papers wrote about my son smoking under the shower after Southampton game, this is bollocks,” he said.
“It doesn’t surprise me as they are known for making stuff up. I have heard Wojciech smokes sometimes but he’s not that stupid to smoke in the dressing room.”
The 49-year-old also called for more focus to be placed on Arsenal’s shortcomings in other areas rather than just the form of their goalkeeper.
“He made a mistake for the first [Southampton] goal, coming too far from the goal, but please look at the Arsenal defence – how these guys are playing is a disaster, but for some reason, nobody pays any attention to it,” said Szczesny Sr.
“Laurent Koscielny should immediately have run [back] to protect Wojciech, and Per Mertesacker should have stood in the goal.
“Unfortunately they did not do that and gave him zero support, and in that situation Mertesacker showed the agility of a rhinoceros.
“Wojciech is often paying for it [the mistakes], and that he really cares. He needs someone who will critically analyse every game with him, but also remain positive.
“Someone should support him but the coaching staff at Arsenal are not doing that; meanwhile the entire defence this season is an embarrassment.”
Wenger is expected to step up efforts to bring in some much-needed defensive cover as the January transfer window continues.
The St Etienne captain Loïc Perrin is one reported target, along with the Villarreal defender Gabriel Paulista. Arsenal’s Costa Rica forward Joel Campbell could be sent to Spain on loan as a makeweight for the Brazilian, who would require a work permit before any potential move to England.