Well, he certainly far exceeded my expectations.
I wrote yesterday that the game against Arsenal was going to be a big test for Illan Meslier, not just because it was his first game for the club, but also because of the timing of the whole thing. Right at the start of the transfer window, it meant that one bad display could entice the club to start looking for his replacement.
But I have to say, he certainly looked the part against a Premier League team, didn’t look scared of the occasion, and as documented by @LUFCDATA, he put up some pretty impressive numbers; he made 23 successful passes for a completion rate of over 82%, made four saves (three of which were inside the box) and overall looked incredibly confident on the ball.
Which is why part of me wants the FA to come down with their decision about Kiko Casilla’s charge sooner rather than later. Because although this was one good game, I would still like to see a larger sample size before we start crowning him as the permanent successor to the Spaniard’s throne as it were.
And at least that way, if we do find out that yesterday’s performance was the best that he could offer, and that he can’t fulfill the duty on a regular basis (not that I want him to fail, but I’m just being pragmatic), then we can have a few days exploring other options when it comes to the goalkeeping department.
I’ve been saying almost since the day that he signed that he needs to be given more game time, and I really do hope that he gets it further down the line, because I do think that there is the chance he will take over from Casilla at some point, whether it be this season, or maybe during the summer.
Can good displays from Meslier potentially dislodge Casilla?
But we won’t know or be able to make a clear decision until we have as much data and information on the matter as possible, and the sooner we can get it all together, the better.