The under-21 league this season has been an unmitigated success as a means for giving younger players the experience necessary to hopefully forge successful professional careers in the senior side or at a lower level.
However it has also been used as an opportunity for those players who are over-21 to earn some game time in particular when recovering from serious injury.
The competition is now into the latter phases and the Elite Group has not been kind to Arsenal’s collection of youngsters. Currently The Young Gunners lay bottom of the table and this weekend they faced West Brom in a game that was played at The Hawthorns.
The game did not start well for Steve Gatting’s men and either side of half-time goals from former Northampton Town loanee Kemar Roofe and England youth international Adil Nabi saw The Baggies take a two goal lead just after half-time.
However an own goal from Albion defensive midfielder Wesley Atkinson and the in-form striker Chiba Akpom were enough to earn Arsenal a 2-2 draw in the Midlands.
But the team were also hugely indebted to Polish goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski. The 27-year-old is one such player who has recovered recently from a serious injury so is offered the opportunity for game time in the under-21 league system.
Not only did he make a string of impressive saves but his penalty-save from Saint Kitts and Nevis international Romaine Sawyers at 2-1 also proved crucial in the grand scheme of the game.
For Fabianski however it may very well be the last headline he makes at The Emirates. The injury prone stopper is out-of-contract in the summer and despite his obvious talent numerous mistakes in some of the opportunities he has been given in the first team mean he is deemed surplus to requirements at the club and he will move on.
A reported move to Russia fell through in the past month and The Metro believe he has already said he wants a summer exit from North London and he is likely to head to Italy or Spain in three months’ time.
Bad luck has played a part in his Arsenal demise as well as the emergence of his international rival Wojciech Szczesny but there should be little doubt that he has the ability to perform at the top level; as he showed with his magnificent performance on under-21 duty this weekend.
Do you think Fabianski could play in the Premier League?