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Do Arsenal’s goalkeeping problems end with Fabianski?

The precarious subject of the future of Arsenal goalkeeping is explored in this article.

Written by sanchit

If there has ever been something consistently associated with Arsenal for the past 3-4 years, it has been their goalkeeping woes. After the excellent, legendary Lehmann departed, the last sentinel job was put on Manuel Almunia’s shoulders. And god, did he make a mess of it.

Let me start from the West Brom game. Before this game, Almunia had been keeping commendably, not letting anything slip, and it was looking like he had a point to prove to his eternal critics. All gooners had gone to this weekend expecting at least a 3-0 scoreline, probably more. But it was 2-3 defeat that transpired. By West Brom, a promoted side. At the Emirates. Thankfully Nasri was at hand to save our blushes, or it would have been the rout of the season. And Manuel Almunia, again, was at the heart at the scoring.

I had once heard a british commentator say last season, that Arsenal have scored from 17 individuals, only Almunia was left. Well I congratulate Almunia, now that he has virtually scored twice against his team.

Now after the WBA game, Almunia gets injured, and we simultaneously breathe a sigh of relief, and take a nervous gulp. Almunia’s gone, but then, now it’s Fabianski!
But a month and half has passed, and Fabianski is keeping like he was always between the sticks for Arsenal. He has been technically sound, alert, decisive, courageous. And has put in one solid performance after another, despite the rock bottom self esteem he would have after the Porto game last season.

Now there is no longer a collective sigh of relief from both the players and the fans when Fabianski catches the ball. Even Flappianski, his less-than-flattering nickname, might disappear. Now here is the million dollar question : is Fabianski good enough to replace Manuel Almunia? And, does Arsene Wengere need to spend on a keeper this January?

For question 1, I think, yes. Fabianski right now is confident, assured and is on a good spell. Replacing him with the oft blundering Almunia now will not only hamper his moral, but also reduce his belief in his manager as well as his club.

Now for question 2, it depends on the type of keeper Wenger is pursuing. If it’s a stand-in keeper for someone more talented until the summer, then there is no point. There are rumours that Schwarzer will be up for grabs this January because Fulham need the money for a striker. But my question is, why should we buy the aging Australian, when Fabianski and Szczesny (who kept brilliantly against Newcastle at the Carling Cup) are doing so well?

But if you have noticed Fabianski keeping, when he had the ball in his gloves, he takes an eternity to decide who to throw it to. This gives the opposition to regroup and the break fizzles. Compare this to Pepe Reina’s distribution. He is the one who initiates the break for Liverpool. My point just being that, a club like Arsenal should have a keeper who is as good, if not better, than the top ten clubs in the premier league. And right now, I can count Petr Cech, Pepe Reina, Brad Friedel, Howard, Hourelho Gomes, Carlo Cudicini, Tomas Sorenson, Paul Robinson at a greater technical level than Fabianski. Even Edwin Van Der Sar, despite his age and now increasing blunders, beats Fabianski.

For me Szczseny is the future keeper of this club, 2-3 years from now. We just need a world class custodian between the sticks till then. If we have to buy a keeper, we need to buy one who is truly talented and world class, and can serve the club for years to come. Lloris in Lyon is an example, Stekelenburg, Neuer, Shay Given. With an $88 million profit, Arsenal can spend the right amount for a decent goalkeeper. Or, we can entrust the fate of the club to Lukasz Fabianski, Vito Mannone, Wojciech Szczesny and Manuel Almunia.

Bottom line: Arsene Wenger, don’t buy Schwarzer. Let Fabianski keep some more. If you absolutely HAVE to buy, it has to be world class.



  1. ziggy

    November 5, 2010 at 10:35 am

    I disagree about Fabisnski’s distribution I think it’s very good as well as his long kicks. In that department he is actually better than many other goallies, ones on your list included. I think we should sell Almunia, make Fab nr.1 and Szczesny nr.2 sorted! Keep Mannone as a back up or sell him and buy a new prospect.

  2. Roger

    November 5, 2010 at 10:55 am

    Fabianski is getting better and better as are Squillaci and Koscielny. Most of us love Gael Clichy but we have to say it. He is our biggest defensive liability, not Fabianski. Gael’s a great player, makes great runs and interceptions, but how many times has he been dispossessed in dangerous areas or caught ball watching and losing his man? He’s cost us many goals. Too many!! . . . I’m afraid it’s time for Kieran Gibbs to take over. Let’s hope his injuries are short term. Let’s get behind Gael though, it may not be too late for him to improve that aspect of his game. I hope you prove me wrong Gael because I fear it is!

  3. ed

    November 5, 2010 at 11:21 am

    What an utterly pointless article. What is your conclusion on Fabianski’s technical ability based on? his poor distribution? What are you smoking? You need to light up that crack pipe for inspiration coz there is nothing original in your article, just the same old rubbish about FAB1.

  4. Kobby Raymond, Ghana.

    November 5, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    What a baseless agument that those keepers mention are technicaly better than fabianski, i dont buy it at all the boy is showing how good, technicaly sound and how quick he is, lets all support Fabianski.

    • Fab4

      November 5, 2010 at 12:35 pm

      It’s hardly a baseless argument?! All the keepers mentioned, with the possible exception of Robinson, have proved over the years that they are far better in all areas than fabianski.

      Just because the guy has had a few decrent games let’s not het carried away. I’ll support all arsenal players when their on the pitch but fabianski has a long way to go before he convinces me he’s the real deal.

      Short memories anyone? I’m sure all gooners will be jumping on fabianski’s back again when he makes another error.

      • Shagx

        November 5, 2010 at 5:21 pm

        Those keepers you mentioned are established stars not up and coming stars, you moron!
        Fabi has never had a solid run of games until now!
        Stop making stupid comparisons and let’s be fair!
        So are you going start calling Wilshere is complete shit because he can’t do or hasn’t done what Maradona did?

        • sanchit

          November 5, 2010 at 6:30 pm

          That is true. Absolutely.
          But let me give you an example.
          When Petr Cech came to Chelsea, noone knew him. He was understudy to Cudicini. Cudicini got injured, Cech came up, and showed he was world class.
          Fabianski has only just got out of Almunia’s shadow, and he has had a solid run of games, and he should continue it.
          I was only comparing Arsenal’s current goalkeeping status to other clubs in the premiership. All I was saying was that Fabianski needs to develop more than what he is right now to be truly upto the level Arsenal is at. And for that he has to keep more. Which was actually the point of this article.
          And never in this article did I say that Fabianski sucks. I have commended him and appreciated his performances.
          Please quit reading between the lines, and actually READ what is in the article.

  5. Gunnerslasser

    November 5, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    I think thea is totally no use or nid of developing a player n when he’s gud enuf u buys another player 2block his progress,n tht is xactly wht LeBoss alwyz says n th rizon he doesnt want 2sighn big stars.Fabianski hs cost us many a games n nw tht he’s in a gud run of form,let him repay us th ARSENAL FRATERNITY wth th “world class” LeBoss alwyz said.Fabby shuld kip his place inth team n Sczenny b his deputy if only he cn learn 2kip hs mouth shut.

    • sanchit

      November 5, 2010 at 3:47 pm

      I never said that we should get rid of Fabianski.
      I was merely saying that if Wenger is under pressure to buy a keeper in the January window, he shouldn’t waste funds on someone like Schwarzer while Fabianski is producing such solid performances.
      Ideally, if Fabianski rides this season out with making a costly error, which looks unlikely as he has been on an amaing run, he should be custodian of the goal till Szczesny takes over.
      Please read the article CAREFULLY before making any assumptions.

  6. slugboy

    November 5, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    What I really do not understand about the goalie debate is that most people are prefering Chesney, having seen him in 1-2 games. This is despite the fact that the Arsenal coaching staff see all keepers nearly every day, as do the Polish national team coaches, who also prefer Fab to Chesney. Do the fans see something that all these professionals miss?

    • Fab4

      November 5, 2010 at 1:13 pm

      When exactly do the national coaches see chesney?? They are hardly going to pick a bloke who sits
      on the bench or plays reserve football fr the national team are they?

      All the arsenal coaches say chesney is the most talented GK they have seen, it’s only a matter of his age why he’s not No1 which is understandable. If he’s patient, chesney will get some experience in the cups and be No1 sooner or later.

  7. Sinbad

    November 5, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    I agree with the point that Fabianski is better than Almunia, of that there is little doubt. I take fab4’s point as well that we need to see more before we can call him number one.

    But Arsene said that he has got the talent and at last he is starting to show it. If he had come in and had another horrifying few games then we could have said, “he’s had his chance, he isn’t good enough, tell him to clear off”.

    @Roger – absolutely spot on about Clichy, the rest of our defence is pretty solid but he’s a liability now

    The continuity he’s enjoying now is bringing the best out of him and so he should stay number one in my opinion.

    I actually think Szechney is the best keeper we have on a technical level but Fabianski has earnt his place over the last month or so.

    • Sinbad

      November 5, 2010 at 3:14 pm

      The @Roger bit should have been at the end of the comment 🙂

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