At the start of the season Vito Mannone may not have expected to get the eight first-team starts he received last term.

But injuries to Manuel Almunia and Lukasz Fabianski in the autumn meant the young Italian keeper was thrown under the spotlight.

His first chance came at Standard Liege in September and three days later he kept a clean sheet at home to Wigan. Vito’s finest hour followed at Fulham where his sterling performance won the game for Arsenal.

His eight-game run in the side ended with the visit to West Ham. A 2-2 draw at Upton Park ensured that, after nine games between the sticks for Arsenal, Vito has still not suffered a defeat.

The keeper signed a new long-term contract with the Club in January and he continued to represent Italy at Under-21 level throughout the season.

VITO MANNONE - 2009/10 SEASON STATS
Competition Appearances Goals
League 5 0
FA Cup 0 0
Carling Cup 0 0
Champions League 3 0
Totals 8 0

SOUNDBITE
"I would say Fulham was my best ever game because when I played in the past maybe it wasn't so important. When you come into the first team, you must show what you can do and I think it did it. I am really happy for that. For me [the best moment] was the double save in the first half when I went to my right. That gave me a lot of confidence to get into the game."

FINEST MOMENT
Vito was the star of the show as Arsenal beat Fulham 1-0 at Craven Cottage in September. He pulled off a string of impressive stops throughout the game to ensure Robin van Persie's second-half goal was the only one of the game. Andy Johnson was denied by acrobatic stops in either half, Vito's head and then fingertips prevented Zoltan Gera from netting and Bobby Zamora also failed to beat the Italian.

Vito Mannone

Vito Mannone was Arsenal's hero at Fulham

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 7 Jul 2010