Wenger hails Mannone display
Vito Mannone earned a '10 out of 10' rating from Arsene Wenger for his display in the 1-0 win at Fulham.
Last Updated: 26/09/09 9:27pm
Arsenal's rookie goalkeeper Vito Mannone earned a '10 out of 10' rating from his manager Arsene Wenger for his performance in the 1-0 win at Fulham.
With Manuel Almunia sidelined by a virus, and Lukasz Fabianski out with a knee injury, third-choice keeper Mannone started his second successive Premier League game on Saturday.
Though Robin van Persie's second-half goal won Arsenal the points at Craven Cottage, Wenger's side were indebted to the performance of Mannone.
The Italian youngster produced stunning stops to deny Andy Johnson, Clint Dempsey, Zoltan Gera and Bobby Zamora to earn high praise from Wenger.
"I believe you would give him 10 out of 10 because everything he did was right, and for a goalkeeper, that is the most important," said Wenger.
"He stopped everything he had to stop and did not make any wrong decision.
"Overall he has shown he has the potential to be a very good goalkeeper.
"In this job you have to go from game to game. Consistency is the first sign of quality.
"Sometimes keepers look unbeatable, and he looked today that he could make every save.
"He has played a fantastic game today and until the next game, he is the No.1."
The result moved Arsenal up to fifth in the Premier League and Wenger believes the gritty nature of the win is a positive sign for his team's title prospects.
Wenger added: "It is good for us to know we can win like this, because people always expect us to dominate games and win.
"We have shown attitude and spirit - without that, we would have not gone away with three points.
"I am very optimistic about the team because what I have seen today means there is something which shows we can go from strength to strength."
He continued: "We had some problems during the first half because they stopped us playing our game.
"Fulham played very well, they were committed and organised. We needed to be special to come out with three points.
"We took one of our opportunities very well, but after that Fulham remained always dangerous.
"They fought until the last second."