Arsenal have had great start to the campaign and it has been all the more impressive when you take into account their current predicaments in the goalkeeping department. Wojciech Szczesny established himself last season as the undisputed number one at The Emirates in the wake of Manuel Almunia’s largely unsuccessful stint between the sticks. However an indifferent Euro 2012 preceded a rib injury that kept him out of the beginning of this season; upon his return he twisted an ankle and was at fault for Arsenal’s conceded goal against Southampton.
In his absence Vito Mannone has excelled, like Szczesny, whose loan deal at Brentford catapulted him toward the first-team, a loan spell farmed out at Hull City saw the re-piecing of his fragile confidence after a poor display against Olympiakos last December.
While Szczesny will most likely return to the first team fold or at least battle it out with Vito Mannone for the berth it may spell trouble for the man looking increasingly like Arsene Wenger’s third choice. Brought in as an original long term successor for Jens Lehmann, Lukasz Fabianski is currently injured and suffering the consequences of his absence by observing the potential dissipation of his Arsenal career.
While the Pole has been prone to the odd mistake in the past he is still a very talented stopper. Agile, decisive and a magnificent shot-stopper he made a save a few years ago in the Carling Cup that ranked as one of the best I have ever seen. I remember distinctly choking on my ready salted crisps when it happened.
His main problem is his decisiveness, while it is obviously a beneficial trait to welcome coming off your line at corners, free-kicks and general deliveries in the box Lukasz has a propensity to come for EVERY ball that enters his area. When it works he looks composed, assured and in control however a lot of the time he ends up scrambling and flapping at a cross he had no right to even entertain coming to collect.
But is now the right time to move on for the 27-year-old Pole? He has struggled with injury problems but the chances of breaking into the Arsenal fold appear to have just doubled in difficulty as not only does his countryman stand in his way but also a rather bulky Italian.
Could he stay in the Premier League? It is hard to say; as Craig Gordon’s inability to find a new club proves much of the League is settled on their number one and number two goalkeepers. Maybe at Southampton or Reading; newly promoted sides whose goalkeepers have struggled so far, or second choice at Everton, to provide sterner competition to the untouchable Tim Howard but in general his options are wafer thin.
He may want to use the excellent medical team and training facilities at Arsenal for the rest of this season; get himself back into shape and find a new club in the summer time. He is talented and I for one would like to see his swashbuckling style of goalkeeping remain in the Premier League.
And here is that save I spoke about ... magnificent even if the video quality is not
What do you think? Is it time for Lukasz to move on?
image: © wonker