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Mann of the moment: Rookie Vito set for Arsenal debut to solve keeper crisis
Published : 22 May 2009 09:53:21
Arsenal fans could get another glimpse into the club's future should rookie goalkeeper Vito Mannone be handed an unexpected debut against Stoke in the final Barclays Premier League game of the season on Sunday. Regular number one Manuel Almunia has been sidelined for a couple of weeks with an ankle injury, and Poland international Lukasz Fabianski is now rated as only 50/50 to face the Potters because of a knee problem. Big chance: Arsenal goalkeeper Vito Mannone could be handed his Premier League debut on Sunday at the age of 21 Italian Mannone, 21, has been part of the senior side as an unused substitute in the past, but his only domestic league experience comes from four games while on loan at Barnsley back in 2006. 'Lukasz Fabianski has a problem with his knee, so Vito Mannone might get a call-up,' said manager Arsene Wenger, who presumably could even ask Under-18 stopper James Shea into the senior squad as cover should Fabianski fail to be match fit. 'But we still have to assess Fabianski. He is 50/50 for the game at the moment.' Midfielder Samir Nasri (knee) is ruled out, but otherwise Arsenal report no fresh injury problems from last weekend's game at Manchester United, which clinched the title for the Red Devils following a goalless draw. Wenger, meanwhile, has allayed fears he was set to quit Emirates Stadium for Real Madrid following criticism by some supporters in the wake of a fourth campaign without silverware, and will set about strengthening the squad over the summer while also seemingly prepared to allow unsettled Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor to leave the club. Andrey Arshavin has netted six times from 14 appearances since arriving from Zenit St Petersburg on deadline day in January.