The goalkeeping position has been a hot topic for Arsenal for almost a year and things have certainly not been any less talked about recently.  However, the reason it’s being talked about now is much better.  As most members of our forum are very well aware I have not been a big fan of Fabianski since his “mishaps” last winter.  I have often questioned his ability to play at the top levels of professional football.  Lukasz may have the physical ability and talent to play at a high level, but from past performances I had little reason to believe he had the requisite mind.  He would apparently put on great displays for Arsene in training, but looked completely lost when on the main stage.  He was indecisive, timid and quite frankly looked downright scared at times in goal last season.  My how things have changed…

When the opportunity presented itself in the form of an injury to Almunia, Fabianski finally decided to step up.  Arsene said himself you have to give players a second chance, but not ten, I guess Fabianski realized he was on nine already.  He’s woken up now and looks like a completely different keeper, and the timing couldn’t have been better.

In his first match against Partizan Fabianski spent most of it standing alone at the back with little to do, but when he was called upon he was up for the task.  One minor misstep when he fumbled a cross to the feet of Sagna who comfortably cleared, one saved penalty and one fine save right before the final whistle.  Confidence had to have been boosted after that.  Then the Chelsea match.  Another solid performance, little anybody could have done about the two goals and no mistakes.  Then the real game changer against Birmingham.  For the first time in years we had a keeper that commanded his box.  Fabianski looked like a completely different person, charging off his line on several occasions to collect or punch clear.  I struggle to remember the last time I saw an Arsenal keeper come off his line that many times in a single match, and not get burned because of it… and I can’t remember ever seeing Fabianski do it before.  Then again against Shakhtar, very similar to the Partizan match, lots of time count blades of grass, but up for the task when called upon.  There’s nothing anybody could have done to save the Eduardo volley, and Fabianski still came close despite the Squillaci screen.  And well, need I say anything about his performance against Manchester City yesterday?  Wow…

It’s been questioned how genuine the injury is to Almunia, and if it all is just a smoke screen for him being dropped.  I tend to trust a bit of honesty from Arsene in most cases, this would fall into that category as well.  And if you recall, after Almunia saved Brunt’s penalty in the loss to West Brom he got up holding his elbow.  However, has Fabianski’s recent form delayed the return of Almunia?  The world may never know…

One thing is certain, Arsenal has not had a keeper put in five consecutive performances at the level Fabianski has in well over a year.  Arsenal has a man in goal who looks up for the task, fearless and commanding.  Three qualities that Almunia has rarely displayed on the same day.  And Fabianski’s confidence has to be at an all time high.  When Almunia is ready to return, Arsene is going to have a real dilemma on his hands… but that’s a good problem to have.

Please join the discussion on our forum

Advertisements