Despite starting the campaign as the Club’s No. 1, Manuel Almunia slipped behind Lukasz Fabianski and Wojciech Szczesny in the pecking order after missing over four months of the season through injury.
He bore the brunt of the blame for Arsenal’s shock home defeat to West Brom and a shoulder problem picked up in that match saw the Spaniard ruled out until late January.
Arsène Wenger admitted the goalkeeper could have left the Club during the transfer window but, after returning to full fitness, Manuel was thrust back into the spotlight following an injury to Szczesny against Barcelona.
As he had done the previous season, the Spaniard kept the Catalan giants at bay with a string of fine saves before Arsenal eventually succumbed to consistent Barcelona pressure.
That performance was followed by another good display against Manchester United in the FA Cup but Manuel was criticised for his part in a 2-2 draw with West Brom a week later. Then he picked up an injury during the warm-up at Blackpool at the start of April and didn’t feature for the rest of the season.
Manuel replaced the injured Szczesny after just 18 minutes against Barcelona in the Nou Camp and performed admirably, saving from Lionel Messi, David Villa and twice from Ibrahim Afellay. Unfortunately it was not enough to deny Barcelona a 3-1 win on the night and a 4-3 aggregate triumph.
Manuel Almunia between the sticks in the Camp Nou