One year on from telling Arsene Wenger he didn't wish to sign a new contract at the Emirates, Lukasz Fabianski returns with Swansea as a goalkeeper reborn.
The most telling statistic with which to illustrate how Fabianski's move to Swansea last summer has reinvigorated his career, is that he has made more league appearances for Swansea this season (34) than he did in seven years at Arsenal (31).
Another fact that will make the 30-year-old Pole secretly delighted is that he has also replaced Arsenal's Wojciech Szczesny as the number one international goalkeeper back in his homeland.
As Swansea home in on their highest ever Premier League finish - they currently sit in eighth place following 11th, 9th and 12th placed finishes previously - there is an air of quiet satisfaction with their 2014-15 Barclays Premier League season, and Swansea are still in with a fighting chance of a Europa League place, particularly if Arsenal win the FA Cup.
But with 12 clean sheets and a respectable 44 goals conceded, it is Fabianski who is possibly taking the most from a standout campaign, just as he has reached his prime years as a goalkeeper.
|Position||Team||Clean Sheet||Saves||Punches||Total High Claim||Good High Claim||Cross Not Claimed||Goal Kicks||Accurate Goal Kicks||Appearances||Mins Played|
Fabianski's stats show how he has been a consistent shot-stopper this season, while also demonstrating his authority in the penalty area, with good punch figures and an almost faultless record for claiming crosses.
Speaking to the Guardian ahead of Monday night's return to the Emirates for the fixture with Arsenal, Fabianski was respectful to Arsenal, but adamant he had made the right move: “I always had in my mind that whatever decision I will make it will be based on playing football regularly, week in and week out,” Fabianski says.
“When I came to Swansea, no one said to me: ‘Whatever happens you’re going to be No1.’ But I felt I would at least have the chance to start or be given an opportunity and then it would be up to me to take it.”
With Szczesny on the sidelines at Arsenal having been ousted by Colombian David Ospina in the league campaign during 2015, it is tempting for Fabianski to harbour regret at not sticking it out at the Emirates - where he won the FA Cup last season - but he insists: “I don’t want to look at it that way because you can’t look at football wondering what could have happened if you made a different decision."
"I’m just very happy with the decision I made and with how things have gone so far.”