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Szczesny mocks Bendtner and Lehmann

The Polish keeper made the tongue-in-cheek statement during a fans' forum at Emirates Stadium ahead of the match at West Brom.

The 20-year-old, who was a virtual unknown before this season, was asked who was more confident between himself and striker Bendtner. He replied: “I am confident, he is arrogant.”

Bendtner famously described himself as ‘the best striker in the world’, but Szczesny has not enjoyed the best of months. The howler that gifted Birmingham the Carling Cup has tested his confidence, and he suffered a finger injury in the Champions League defeat at Barcelona.

The latter – combined with injuries to Lukasz Fabianski and Vito Mannone – forced Arsene Wenger to bring in experienced former Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann.

Szczesny was also less than complementary about the defence in front of him. New French pair Laurent Koscielny and Sebastien Squillaci have been widely ridiculed, and injury-ridden Thomas Vermaelen has only made three appearances after an impressive debut season.

Szczesny joked that he would rather play behind Steve Bould, who retired 11 years ago due to arthritis, than the current crop.

These comments follow an ill-advised Twitter update mocking Ashley Cole for missing the penalty which knocked Chelsea out of the FA Cup – comments which came back to haunt him at Wembley a week later.

And in a final quip, Szczesny had his say on Lehmann’s return to the club after a three-year absence. “I was only young the first time he was at the club, but he is still a nutcase,” he said.

However, Szezesny did suggest the charismatic German could have a galvanising effect on an inexperienced dressing room in the title run-in.

By Robin Cottle